Don't kick a man when he's down is good rule
Years back I witnessed a late night fist fight between a gas well worker and his supervisor in the parking lot of a Milton Township tavern. I learned later that the skirmish had been brewing for quite a while. The foreman was bigger and older, but that eventually lead to his downfall.
He ran out of gas and ended up on his backside in the gravel. Still filled with a rage of memories that brought things to a climax in the first place, the younger worker decided to put the boots to the fallen warrior. Luckily, calmer heads prevailed among the circle of fellow workers. "Don't bust up his ribs, Charlie," one of the men said as several stepped up to block his path. "He's got a wife and kids at home just like the rest of us. He has to go to work in the morning."
Those memories remind me now in 2002 of the on going battle between Mahoning County voters and county officials over the on-again-off-again, proposed 0.5 percent countywide sales tax. It's time for cooler heads to prevail on election day this fall, Nov. 5, and not put the boots to Mahoning County when it's already down in the gravel from recession and reeling from factory shutdowns, corporate bankruptcies and the final stages of corruption and political scandals in the area.
A percentage sales tax is the easiest and fairest way to go in providing goods and services for the entire population of the county residents. Only those with enough money to spend will pay. Those who buy nothing, pay nothing. Mahoning County will still be filled with wives and kids on Nov. 6. Mahoning County service workers will still have to go to work the following morning.
The press doesn't scare 'good' candidates, but it scares the good ol' boys
In his letter last Sunday, Don L. Hanni III blames the press and its scrutiny of potential candidates for "good" people not running for office in Mahoning County. Using his reasoning, I would conclude that his sister is not a & quot;good & quot; candidate. The fact is what keeps & quot;good & quot; people from running for office in the Mahoning Valley is the machine politics that his father perpetuated and which still has a stranglehold on the Mahoning Valley.
A few years ago, when Frank Lordi was booted out of office, the county had an opportunity to select a political neophyte. Approximately 15 people, including myself, attempted to fill that vacancy. There were a number of good people, in that group who would have made excellent commissioners, except that the Democratic Party machine had already hand picked Lordi's successor, that being Vicki Sherlock. Ms. Sherlock has gone on to embarrass the county with her credit card fiasco thereby threatening the passage of the 0.5 percent sales tax, a tax that the county probably needs. We can thank Mr. Morley for continuing the fiefdom politics that he wrested from the elder Hanni.
I've often heard the elder Mr. Hanni state on local radio talk shows that "in politics, to the victor go the spoils." There's no doubt his family benefited greatly from that system. It's this type of thinking and political patronage that has crippled the Valley in its attempt to pull itself up by its bootstraps and join in the economic rebirth that the rest of the country has witnessed.
No, Mr. Hanni, it's not the press that scares "good people." Good people have nothing to hide from the media. It's the machine politicians who fear the press because they're the ones with skeletons in their closets. The "good" people don't drive their cars into the post office or get picked up allegedly with marijuana in their cars in the wee hours of the morning.
Hopefully, the voters will see through your attempt at promoting your sister's campaign and that she'll have about as much chance of winning election as Bertram de Souza has of dunking a basketball. Finally, the voters of the Mahoning Valley are waking up to and saying no to the old machine type of politics. Let's hope that it's not too late.
Middle class values aren't the worst thing to teach
I recently attended a teacher's in-service held at Youngstown State University on "Urban Issues." The speaker said a conflict exists between urban schools and the children they serve because these institutions are imposing "middle class values on the poor."
I was troubled by the speaker's point: most of the concepts we teach in school were inspired before a middle class ever existed. Yet, I watched the heads of many of my colleagues -- white and black, male and female -- nod in agreement to what I thought was terribly inflammatory.
I left the auditorium to gain my composure. Was I overreacting? I shared my point with a receptionist from the board who monitored the sign-in sheet. She looked at me wide-eyed and full of contempt. "You'll just never know what it's like," she said, "You're white -- you've always had the advantage."
I looked at her in amazement. "Do you know what I am?" I asked. "I am an albino. I am the one and only color that is found in every race and kingdom of this world. Can you tell me what race I belong to? Many people have mistaken me for one or the other, but that doesn't matter to me. Most people my color are rejected by their own people."
"I am also legally blind. I belong to a group of people who have never enjoyed the protection of affirmative action or agencies like the NAACP. These people continue to have the highest unemployment rate in the world. You want to tell me that I have the advantage?"
I looked at her again. She was a young, attractive inner-city woman who was well dressed. Every hair on her head was in place and her nails looked professionally manicured. She was the epitome of success; how could she feel so hateful?
I believe the real problem in urban society is that inner-city people are taught to believe there is someone out there who thinks less of them. People who believe they can never feel grateful for their achievements. They can only feel ungrateful because they will always believe there is someone out there who has it better.
If we all allowed ourselves to feel diminished by the success and talent of others, life would seem meaningless. If we want to raise the quality of life for all children, we need to teach them not to compare themselves to anyone else. They must learn to take responsibility for attaining their own potential.
Hospice folks are special
I cannot say enough about Hospice of the Valley. It is a fine organization and a very special group of people work and volunteer there.
My mother was taken care of with such compassion and love. I would especially like to express my gratitude to Kathy, Karen, Ruthie, and Sherry. Sherry was Mom's Angel.
We're fortunate to have such kind, caring people associated with Hospice of the Valley. They have provided great comfort through difficult times.
Thank you and God bless all.
MARY JANE LESNAK