Youngstown ill-served by decades of one-party rule
David Skolnick's article in the Aug. 22 edition of your newspaper reports that state Sen. Robert F. Hagan, the Democratic mayoral nominee, has earned the mayoral candidacy endorsement of Council President James E. Fortune Sr. and council members Carol Rimedio-Righetti, Paul Pancoe and Mark Memmer for the Nov. 8 election. Apparently, this was a decision that required these four political leaders to engage in a tortuous and gut-wrenching process of political soul-searching to satisfy themselves that Sen. Hagan was "the best person to help the city." However, the fundamental reason for their endorsement was stated as "Democrats support Democrats."
My view is that Democrats have been supporting Democrats for a long time in Youngstown. Of course, I have only returned to make Youngstown my home in the last four months, after a 35-year hiatus, most of that time spent in Columbus, so it is possible that I could be unaware of the fact that Democrats have not consistently supported Democrats in Youngstown during that period of time. Given that possibility, I can better understand that Democrats supporting Democrats could not possibly have contributed to the declining urban population, the total disintegration of the city's central business district, the potential $45 million "white elephant" sitting on the North bank of the Mahoning River between Market Street and South Avenue, the local school district "report card" that has relegated thousands of our children to low income opportunities for the remainder of their working lives and crime statistics that mean ever-increasing quarterly profits for home security system vendors.
My belief is that it may be time for the voters of the City of Youngstown to consider the possibility that Democrats supporting Democrats may not always provide the leadership "to help the city." The July 10, 1936, front page of The Youngstown Vindicator and The Youngstown Telegram proclaims that my maternal grandfather, John Farrell, built the Democratic Party to a peak. John Farrell certainly would have subscribed to the belief that "Democrats support Democrats." His grandson finds some consolation in the fact that he does not have to witness today the fallacy of that belief.
YSU professor works long, hard hours for little pay
This letter, in reply to columnist Bertram de Souza's out-of-the-ballpark-of-reality slam on YSU faculty members in Sunday's Vindicator, will be short and not-so-perfect. Why? Because like most weekends, I hardly have time to do anything like write a letter, or read a pleasure book, or even go out to dinner with my spouse, because it takes so long to prepare for my classes at YSU.
I (and I speak for the majority of our faculty) work, on average, 85 hours a week to create lessons that will be interesting and accurate for my students, to meet with them outside of class when they are struggling with concepts, to advise them on their futures, to serve on committees to which I have been appointed. To say that we faculty teach a couple of classes and have a few office hours to keep is simply inane. I live in my office at school. When the semester starts, I rarely sleep more than five hours a night because I am up so late creating slides and materials and labs and exams. I have to turn down nearly every opportunity to do something with friends on a weekend because I simply cannot spare the time, or I know that I will not be ready for class.
"Oh, it must be a new class," you say, "because once you have a lesson plan you can just teach the same thing over and over." No, I cannot. No, I do not. I work hard to make my classes interesting and up-to-date and I do it for all of the unselfish reasons that drive teachers to teach. and I make $40K a year. That's right -- $ 40K. I have my Ph.D. and am still paying off my loans on that. I love what I do until people like you tell me that I am selfish for averaging 85 hours a week for $40K. It is people like you who sour selfless teachers on the profession. I have no idea where the statistic (that YSU professors average) $65,900 a year came from, but it's not reality. If I made that money, I would not be complaining.
Mr. de Souza, why don't you try living with a professor for a while and seeing how hard and how long we really work before you write such bogus slander.
NICOLE MULLINS, Ph.D.
Youngstown State University