Merging visitors bureaus is still worth considering

Merging visitors bureausis still worth considering
It has been suggested recently by both an editorial in The Vindicator along with comments by a Mahoning County commissioner that the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Trumbull County Convention and Visitors Bureau should consider merging. Our convention bureau is in favor of that idea and has approached the Trumbull County Convention and Visitors Bureau previously in an attempt to engage in discussions.
Our convention bureau was established by the Mahoning County commissioners in 1987. Shortly after establishment of our bureau, members of our board approached the Trumbull County bureau to discuss the feasibility of merging. At that time the Trumbull County bureau had no interest. Members of our board were told that Trumbull County had better attractions and saw no reason to merge with Mahoning County.
In March, 2001 at the request of our board, I called the Trumbull County Convention and Visitors Bureau in an attempt to set up an informal meeting so that the board members could get to know one another. Our board felt that this might lead to discussions on projects that we could work on jointly. Their board chairman had a staff member call me to let me know that they had no interest in meeting and if they had an interest in the future, they would contact us.
Our board is still in favor of carrying on discussions with Trumbull County to merge our bureaus. Trumbull County commissioners have canceled their bureau's contract for 2005 and are in the process of soliciting proposals from various companies to take over the work of promoting Trumbull County tourism. We believe that after the Trumbull County commissioners have designated their new entity, discussions should be held between our bureau and the newly designated Trumbull County entity. We also believe that the decision to merge would be best left to the future commissioners of each county. Two new commissioners in Mahoning County will be elected in November and in Trumbull County two seats are up for election. In January, when the commissioners for both counties take office, a priority should be our merging with the Trumbull County designated entity.
Our board looks forward to working together with the Trumbull County entity to promote the Mahoning Valley.
Chairman, Youngstown/Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau
McKelvey deserves applausefor thinking outside the box
I highly respect Mayor George McKelvey's decision to support President Bush. He shows that he is not just a simple career politician, but a man of character and a statesman. Although he claims to remain a Democrat, his own local party seems to now reject him. I have known many Democrats, and they have told me that they vote for the person and not always the party, so where is the problem? Unfortunately, there are many people in this Valley who prefer to remain part of the dinosaur battle of labor vs. management or poor vs. rich. Well, at least the mayor is able to think outside that rusty old box. Plus, at least President Bush and his staff did think well enough of the people of Youngstown to invite McKelvey on their platform, an obvious mistake of the Kerry team.
I retired in 1991 from the USAF as an NCO and chose to return to this Valley in 1998. I have never had the privilege -- or depending on one's view, the bondage -- of labor union membership. My last assignment was in Wyoming, home of Vice President Dick Cheney. The people of the state passed their own & quot;right to work & quot; law with no required union memberships to get or hold a job. While there, I attended a college course in U.S. government in which the instructor told the class that as a Democrat and a retired social worker he was not very impressed with the liberal policies of his party members from the East, much less their leaders. After all, Wyoming is the Equality State, with the first female governor in the nation, and its one and only U.S. representative, Barbara Cubin, is doing an excellent job (as Ann Wolmer-Benjamin would have done for the 17th District of Ohio).
Another sad thing for this Valley during my career was that whenever someone asked where I was from, I soon learned not to mention Youngstown, known by most as & quot;Crime Town USA. & quot; Please Valley Voters, think outside the box! Independent voters, do you not understand that your inaction in a local political party takes away your freedom to choose who will run in a given party? You can't complain if you don't help select the candidates. If you call yourself a Christian, are fed up with the government or politicians because you think they are bad people, are concerned about the social problems or moral decline of this Valley, but do not regularly vote or are not even registered to vote, then shame on you!
McKelvey's endorsementof Bush makes no sense
Mayor George McKelvey needs a reality check. Though his endorsement of George W. Bush is not surprising, it's not very smart, either.
The Democrats haven't done much for Youngstown or for the country, McKelvey says.
Between 1993 and 2001, the Democrats presided over the longest period of economic expansion in history (118 months) -- more than 22 million new jobs, an increased minimum wage, a 25 percent drop in the poverty rate. Does McKelvey own stock? The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared from 3,200 to just about 10,600 (it's currently stuck at about 10,100). During the 1990s, the Democrats balanced the federal budget, reduced the size of the federal government by more than 400,000 bureaucrats, pushed to hire 100,000 new teachers, 100,000 new police officers, passed welfare reform, expanded Pell grants, enacted stricter nursing home regulations. The Youngstown area shared in these achievements -- a growing economy, more jobs, reduced class sizes, less crime. Maybe McKelvey wasn't paying attention during the 1990s.
George W. Bush is a strong leader who has improved the economy at home, McKelvey gushes.
Since 2001, Ohio has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs (nearly 10,000 of them in Mahoning County). Even Republican George Voinovich sees what Democrat McKelvey apparently does not -- Ohio is "bleeding jobs" and George W. Bush isn't doing very much about it. But it's not just the economy, stupid. Health care costs are rising fast. Gas prices are higher than they've ever been. The deficit is bigger than it's been in a decade. America's standing in the world has never been lower. Despite all of this, and in the midst of a war with no clear rationale and no clear exit strategy, George W. Bush travels the country, advocating policies that will hurt the very people who McKelvey claims to represent.
McKelvey apparently wants to be Bush's cheerleader in the Mahoning Valley. Yet he also wants to remain a Democrat. So, not being a trusted member of the GOP and rightfully dissed by his former Democratic colleagues, the mayor of Youngstown will not be taken seriously by either major party. Putting personal friendship above political reality -- that, for sure, is what is best for Youngstown.
Thomas fails to see the holesin school voucher programs
Calamitous Cal Thomas thumps his podium and asserts, through the smokescreen of politics, religion, or whatever issue he can use to muddy the waters, that vouchers are the savior of America's educational system.
But, like this administration, the true record doesn't back the assertions.
According to the 2003 World Almanac, Florida ranks 49th in the percentage of students graduating from high school -- and -- there are 31 states who have a better record in ACT scores than Florida!
Seems that Conservative Crony Cal is the one whose position is bankrupt.