Sales tax wrong weapon against commissioners
One of the difficulties in being a political activist in the Mahoning Valley is knowing when you have won. This seems to be the case with Gary Brant, one of the spokespersons for the area's Accountability Tax Force. Circling the wagons of the ATF against the renewal of the 0.5 percent sales tax in May makes little sense to me.
The Mahoning County commissioners of the '90s definitely got the message when the exasperation of mainstream voters took over and they came stomping into public meetings with fire in their eyes and called talk radio shows, demanding to be heard. Those voters among us who have a problem with spending decisions of individual board members or misuse of credit cards can address those issues as each commissioner's elected term expires.
Especially puzzling to me is the fact that Mr. Brant and the ATF remained out of sight when the Metro Parks Board recently put a new property tax on the ballot for the voter's approval and called it a renewal. The old tax wasn't up for two more years, but the Metro Parks Board saw a chance to increase its revenue by millions of dollars immediately, due to an increased property value law passed recently in Columbus. Many voters were confused by the requested decrease in the millage, without realizing that the new figures were based on more recent, much higher property appraisals. Perhaps the fact that millions of those "Mill Creek Park" dollars are earmarked for Austintown and Boardman had something to do with the ATF's silence?
An eye for an eye in my mind, means that the punishment should never be greater than the deed. Turning down the 0.5 tax renewal in May will reverse the area's recovery from a stormy, political past.
Excessive noise laws should be enforced
I almost dread the arrival of spring and summer just around the corner, as the warmer weather brings noisy motorcycles, the ballistic volume of boom box car radios and the screeching of tires.
The intersection of Meridian and Kirk roads is patrolled and in the jurisdiction of three law enforcement agencies: The city of Youngstown, Austintown, and the Ohio Highway Patrol. All three have jurisdiction and patrol this intersection. However, none of the law enforcement agencies named enforce the excessive noise laws that are on the books. The problem, at least with enforcement, is simply the lack of enforcement. This is evident in so many area of traffic and law enforcement.
The abuse of the traffic noise and speed laws at this intersection is far beyond a problem, it is more like an epidemic and we need to put a stop to it. We have the laws in place -- we need to enforce those laws with aggressive and consistent enforcement. We have a great deal of senior citizens in this area who take pride in their property and enjoy the warmer weather by spending time on their patios and in their backyards. The excessive noise has forced us to stay inside our homes, with the doors and windows locked down. The unnecessary and deafening noise that has become all too common and bothersome has robbed us of our right to enjoy our own property.
It would seem obvious to me that our elected officials and law enforcement agencies would want to demonstrate our community's resolve, to make this a safer and quieter environment that we all could enjoy a little more.
Constitution protects us from religious intrusion
There is now a movement in Columbus to insert in the new biology textbooks a theory called "Intelligent Design" (God) to explain any particular phenomenon for which science has yet to provide a comprehensive explanation. Federal courts have repeatedly ruled that so-called "creation science" is not, in fact, science at all, as there are no scientifically established facts to support such beliefs and that it is based entirely on religious dogma. As such, it cannot be taught in public schools.
There are few theories in science that are more powerfully established than evolution. The preponderance of evidence from the numerous scientific disciplines points to the same conclusion: evolution is real. For the religious fundamentalists, their deeply held religious beliefs are threatened if life did not come about as described in biblical stories.
Richard Dawkins, a much respected scientist and professor of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University concludes that, "The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil and no good; nothing but blind, pitiless indifference." One may wish otherwise, but science clearly leads to that conclusion.
It does not matter what percentage of the state board or general public believe in creationism or intelligent design. Science is not determined democratically. It stands or falls on the evidence, and there is no evidence to support such theories. We must stop dumbing down our textbooks in order to accommodate religious dogma.
Isn't it enough that we have a Constitution which guarantees individuals the right to believe as they wish without this continued assault on the Constitution which protects us from Islamic-type fanaticism?
JAMES R. LOSHINSKY
Don't like Traficant? Move somewhere else
Unbelievable. We now have at least one person comparing Congressman James Traficant with Jim Jones and David Koresh. If the government spent as much time and money going after the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the Enron ilk, instead of Congressman Traficant, the world trade centers would still be standing and thousands of people would not have lost their retirements, let alone their jobs, from the fraud and corruption.
If anyone feels so strongly that the people of Mahoning Valley are so "gullible, blind and stupid" and not up to their high standards, they should start packing and move to Pittsburgh, Columbus or Cleveland.
LEE ELIZABETH McHUGH