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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Freedom
To the editor: In response to the letter, “Progressive,” I have a one-word response, “Freedom.”

Freedom of seniors to use our roadways, as we have a legal driver license to exercise our right to drive so long as we obey traffic laws. The City of Oregon is absolutely correct to oppose public transportation service in Oregon.

Elderly people continue to drive, very slowly and carefully during daylight hours because they don’t want to get a ticket. The problem is that with legal speed limits of 35 mph on most roadways in Oregon, younger drivers go over the speed limit and drive too fast.

I believe all former Oregon police officers had the responsibility of dealing with the younger drivers who refuse to abide with legal speed limits, rather than thinking about depriving an elderly person of their driver’s license. By the way, the last time I checked, only the courts can deprive citizens of their driving privileges, not police officers.

Public transportation is not an option for seniors who reach the point where they cannot operate a vehicle. If they can’t drive a car, they can’t walk the distances to get on a bus, the walk to their destination upon arrival to shop, keep doctor appointments, pay bills, etc., because of physical conditions. That is why we have “handicap” parking spaces near the entrance to buildings for seniors with physical handicaps who drive cars.

My suggestion to all progressive-minded people is to stop telling other people what they can and can’t do. Seniors have a right to drive in Oregon so long as they observe traffic laws. Here’s a thought – maybe the younger drivers should have their driving privileges revoked and let them be forced to use public transportation.

Progressive thinking that deprives Americans of their constitutional right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be condemned in a country that prides itself on allowing all people, including seniors, the independence of living their lives as free citizens. Progressives, do not tell seniors they need public transportation as an excuse to take away their driving privileges.

The City of Oregon should protect the rights of seniors and recognize that public transportation for seniors is not an option to the freedom and independence of driving vehicles in the city.
Larry Knudson
Millbury


Poorly managed
To the editor: On Friday April 17, Oregon notified the public about a special council meeting April 20. The reason was an ordinance authorizing $24,900 to Arcadis (an engineering firm) to perform work on an Envirosafe height expansion legal proceeding that has been going on for years. The reality is that the landfill height expansion is already built.

The citizens deserved more that a three-day special meeting notice on this issue that has been around for years. Council was asked to approve about $5,000 for work already performed and to pay another nearly $20,000 for an appeal to stop an expansion already done.

In addition, Oregon is now taking money from the general fund because the hazardous waste fund is out of money to pay for these costs. For the last 10 years, Sylvania- and Maumee-based attorneys – along with, at times, one attorney’s daughter – have been paid around $100,000 annually from the hazardous waste fund. Oregon has never defined Envirosafe goals to be reached, and there is no review or standards on what gains are targeted for the expenditure of moneys from the hazardous waste fund. Oregon routinely approves the attorney’s invoices without question. What a sweetheart deal.

The real heroes who have watchdogged and helped to address problems at the Envirosafe site for years are citizens – Joanne Schiavonne and Judy Junga. At no charge, they have admirably reviewed files and prodded the OEPA to check things out at Envirosafe helping with leachate collection and corrective action issues. The irony is that Oregon attorneys get copies of the citizen inquiries and OEPA answers. Oregon pays the attorneys to review and use the citizen inquiries.

Bottom line, Oregon has poorly managed the hazardous waste fund and now wants general fund moneys. This should not be allowed. The appeal on the height expansion should be dropped and the Maumee- and Sylvania-based attorneys should not be used so frivolously. The amount of income to the Oregon hazardous waste fund has dropped in 2009 from about $200,000 previously to less than $100,000. These funds should be allowed to accumulate to provide future funding to check out leaks to streams etc. rather than paying for big legal fees that do little to nothing to help the environment. With more prudent spending from the hazardous waste fund, no general fund moneys should be needed.
Sandy Bihn
Oregon

 

A nightmare of a bill
To the editor: Last night I had a dream. I sat in a room with hundreds of friends, neighbors and colleagues. Each of us wore a heavy ball and chain shackled to one of our ankles. At the front of the room, sitting behind a long table I recognized the somber faces of the Oregon school board. I noticed that each member’s hands were bound.

Standing in front of them at a microphone was the Superintendent of Schools. On his shoulders he carried a load that was so enormous I was amazed that he could stand upright. A fog filled the room and muffled the words the superintendent spoke. Then from the back of the room, two men in long trench coats made their way forward and the fog began to lift. As they passed my seat, I observed the logos of the two Oregon oil refineries on their backs. They walked silently to the front of the room, and in a gesture of good will, each embraced a hand of the head of schools. Just as silently, they turned and left the room, and the sun began to shine. Slowly, the burden Dr. Zalar bore eased, the board members bindings loosened, the audience was set free from their shackled load, for in his hands he held two checks…and just as suddenly reality interrupted my dream.

The reality is House Bill 66. Our school system is hostage to a bill comparable to a state endorsed Robin Hood, which takes tax revenue that once supported high-quality education and leaves it in the hands of giant corporations that already make billions of dollars in profit. June 30, 2005, then-Governor Taft signed HB 66 into reality. I am curious how many tax payers knew anything about this bill in the years leading to its inception. I, for one, knew nothing of it or the devastation it promised to the education system until well after the fact. Yet today, very few people do not recognize the term HB 66.

It is the main reason for the plight of schools in Ohio. Its negative financial impact makes its way into every article or speech pertaining to loss of revenue for Ohio’s schools. Had it only received as much publicity before being signed into being And yet, never are the tremendous financial gains BP or Sun Oil have managed thanks to this legislation brought to light. Still, what's done is done. However, in no uncertain terms society and its economic prosperity depend on a well-educated population. Education does not come free, and all citizens bear a responsibility. Of late, the property owner has carried the heaviest portion of this load. While these refineries are under no legal obligation to support the education of our children, it remains that these refineries are members of our community.

I am ashamed that they do not feel a civic responsibility to help our struggling school system to provide the knowledge and skills for a future workforce. These companies are certainly entitled to profit. However, if greed drives profit, a limited few benefit. While I only had a dream, an unprecedented act of generosity could turn it into a reality. Oregon schools has continued to cut to the bones, yet remain millions of dollars behind in our ability to provide quality education according to state standards. This financial disaster will not disappear any time soon. Once again, the burden will fall on the already over-taxed property owners, who have not shied away from the obligation to our children in the past. But today this is more and more difficult. (And I haven’t even touched on the fact that the state’s funding system- which relies heavily on the property owner- has operated, business as usual, even though the Ohio Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional four times over the past 12 years…but that’s another issue.)

Remember though that it takes a village to raise a child. I am not afraid to beg those wealthier members of our business community to help us carry the load. It is to your benefit as well as ours. The future of our society depends on it. I may have only had a dream, but your foresight can make it a reality.
Sherry Shaheen
Oregon

Support is imperative
To the editor: As co-chairpersons of the Committee to Renew the Gibsonburg Exempted Village Schools Permanent Improvement Levy, we are urging voters to make a special effort to go to the polls May 5.

In addition, please remind your friends and neighbors to make it a priority to get to the polls and vote for this important part of the educational future of our children.

This Permanent Improvement Levy has been successfully passed and renewed every five years since 1980. Since the beginning, this levy has provided a tremendous advantage to the children attending Gibsonburg Schools. The school district has used monies generated from this levy exclusively to keep our modern facilities and equipment maintained and up-to-date. These funds cannot be used for any operating expenses, such as salaries, utility bills, etc.

In today’s world, it is even more imperative that our students have access to a technology-rich environment that is both safe and well maintained. Your support for this one-mill levy is needed more than ever as the school district faces the unknown school funding plans being discussed in Columbus.

On behalf of the children of the community, we thank you for your support.
Richard Freeborn
Sheryl Krotzer