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Is McKelvey serious about justice or just posturing?



Published: Tue, June 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Is McKelvey serious about justice or just posturing?

EDITOR:

I hope that this letter is one of a hundred, but in case it's not:

Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey is either a simpleton, or he believes that the local electorate is primarily comprised of simpletons. In response to the possibility of serving jury duty, McKelvey publicly stated that he presumes defendants to be guilty until proven otherwise.

The likelihood that McKelvey actually believes this is slim, I hope. Most middle-schoolers understand the basis for our legal system's presumption of innocence. I would hope that a grown man, in a position of some degree of responsibility, is able to grasp this concept.

It seems far more likely that he is posturing for further political pursuits. However, his statements do not portray him as simply being tough on crime and pro-victim. They demonstrate a contemptuous underestimation of the collective intelligence of the Mahoning Valley.

While his public statements regarding the accused cast a bad light on McKelvey the private citizen, they should be the damnation of McKelvey the public official. I assume that Mayor McKelvey took an oath to uphold not only the charter of the city of Youngstown, but also the laws of the state of Ohio and the United States of America.

The mayor has not only demonstrated contempt for his public and contempt for the Constitution of the United States of America, but also contempt for his civic duty to serve on a jury. Further, he has robbed me of the 20 minutes it took to write this, time that I could have spent playing with my daughter on Father's Day weekend. Shame on you, George.

PETER MAPLEY

Boardman

Budget measure could cut access to consumer advocate

EDITOR:

The Ohio Senate has delivered a compromise in the budget bill debate that will benefit the state's residential utility customers. These legislators recognized the need for the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) to retain its authority to help customers resolve their utility complaints by providing for one toll-free, automated telephone system. The system would transfer calls relating to electric, natural gas, telephone and water service from residential customers to the OCC, and all other calls would be forwarded to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

On the other hand, the House version of the budget bill contains language that would eliminate the OCC's ability to handle utility complaints through its call center operations and transfer authority to the PUCO.

As the state's residential utility consumer advocate, we believe the Senate's compromise is a good solution. By law, the OCC has the exclusive authority to represent the interests of residential customers and help resolve their utility complaints, while the PUCO must balance the interests of both the utility companies and their customers. The OCC has operated a call center and effectively handled utility complaints from residential customers for 29 years. As the advocate, the OCC always has had the best interests of consumers in mind.

To ensure a smooth transition, the OCC hopes that members of the House and Senate conference committee will restore our agency's budget to the governor's recommended level, and vote for residential utility complaints to fall under the OCC umbrella. The compromise provides for more efficient government and places residential consumers with the most appropriate agency -- their advocate -- to resolve their utility complaints. Consumers deserve nothing less.

JANINE L. MIGDEN-OSTRANDER

Consumers' Counsel

Columbus




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