Signs of the times

Signs of the times
Leading up to the November election I had no opinion on the gambling/slot machine/benefit to education of state Issue 3. I thought some of the aggressive petition gathering techniques could be due to the youth of the gatherers themselves.
Something definitely needs to be done about the cost of higher education in Ohio. I have personally experienced the increase in the cost of a college education from when I attended YSU in the 1970s to the current inflated price of tuition, books and other fees that my children are forced to pay.
The aggressive campaign to pass Issue 3, however, has gotten way out of hand. The shear number of signs placed in the public right-of-way on the roadways of Youngstown (where they are illegally placed) and the rest of Mahoning County is ridiculous. They both pose a safety hazard by distracting motorists and they clutter up the streets.
The real value of political signage is to get supporters who own property to show their support by placing signs in their yard -- thus influencing their neighbors and passers-by to consider the candidate or issue they support. It is not to see how many signs we can illegally place on public property. Will the Issue 3 signs all be removed after the election by the campaign, or will the taxpayers pay to have them removed?
My vote against Issue 3 will not be against slot machines or lowering the cost of education. It will be against the foolish placement of thousands of political signs on our roadways.
The high cost of highways
Kinsman Township trustees are putting a replacement road levy on the ballot Nov. 7. This is not a renewal, but a replacement levy to take the place of a levy passed 1982 for 1.5 mills. It was renewed in 2002 and will expire in 2006. It generates 29,507 yearly. Because the value of property has risen, the replacement levy will generate 52,199 yearly. In 1982 the property owner was assessed 74 cents per 1,000 taxable value. The replacement levy will cost 1.50 per 1,000 taxable value.
There is currently a levy passed in 1980, for 2 mills which costs the taxpayer 80 cents per 1000 taxable value, which will expire in 2009, and which generates 33,414 yearly.
The state mandates that out of the township's general fund, a 1.7 millage be put into the road and bridge account. This generates 59,159 yearly.
Therefore, Kinsman Township has currently a total of 122,081 dollars earmarked for roads and bridges. If the replacement levy passes, 144,773 will be put into the roads and bridges account.
The above figures came form Trumbull County Auditor Biviano's office.
All of Kinsman Township's 21 1/2 miles of road are paved. One short road boasts a turn-around parking lot. The machinery inventory includes a new backhoe, a modern John Deere mower tractor for use in mowing road side grass, 2 large trucks with low mileage, and 1 small dump truck which might need replacing in 1 or 2 years.
Kinsman Township is the only township in northern Trumbull County that has two full-time and fully benefited employees. The rest of the township have only 1 full-time and a limited number of part-time employees.
Let the above figures speak for themselves. We say vote "no" to this replacement levy.
The 80 percent solution
The big joke during political campaigns used to be what candidates would promise us, their constituents, should we elect them to public office. We were informed through speeches and forums as to why we should vote for said candidate. Today, the joke has changed. And which politicians, as a good example, are telling this joke? Sherrod Brown and Mike DeWine.
In today's age of information overload, you would think it would be easier and a blessing to be able to transmit the message of why a voter should cast a vote for a certain candidate through the media. Instead, the campaigns for both candidates bombard us with advertisements in which they spend more time telling me what is wrong with the other guy than what is right about the candidate himself. If this is the only method to give the average voter an informed glimpse of both candidates, I don't want either candidate serving me in the Senate. On election night, I would rest easier knowing Mickey Mouse was representing me in the Senate than these two. There is still time to write in candidates, right?
I'm tired of the game that is Republican vs. Democrat. When political parties spend more time, money, and effort strategizing how to win the most races in an election year to further the party's agenda rather than spending that time, money, and effort strategizing how to serve the people they represent once elected, we're back to the status quo. In two more years, it's rinse and repeat.
When is the "us versus them" mentality going away? Clearly, this is why all these advertisements exist -- not to inform us, but to bash the other party. If these candidates had to inform us, the results they would dig up for these advertisements concerning their past records and good deeds would probably shed light on their inability to function as leaders.
It was once said that only 10 percent of Americans are hard-nosed Democrats while another 10 percent are staunch Republicans, leaving 80 percent of the population to bounce around somewhere in the middle. I say we're the 80 percent with at least a flickering of common sense left. It's time to do away with career politicians and time to elect real leaders.
It's still not too late
The simple yet powerful act of changing batteries in smoke alarms when you change the clock back this weekend can double a family's chance of getting out of a house fire alive.
As a 26-year-veteran of the fire service, I have witnessed first-hand the tragedy and devastation of home fires. It is even more heart breaking when a young life is cut short. On average, nearly three children die each day in house fires. Roughly 80 percent of those deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. The most commonly cited cause of nonworking smoke alarms: worn out or missing batteries.
The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when people are sleeping. Considering that residential fire death peak in winter months, it makes good sense to change smoke alarm batteries each and every fall.
Liberty Township Fire Department