Wait in the ticket line for naught

Wait in the ticket line for naught

I waited in line Tuesday morn- ing for tickets to the Saturday morning breakfast with Bill Clinton in Boardman. I didn’t wait too long because the line was moving pretty fast and they ran out of tickets quickly. I was shocked because the news had reported that there would be 1,100 tickets for the event, and I knew there were nowhere near 550 people ahead of me in line.

Then, the headquarters representatives announced that the majority of tickets were given to “Democratic officeholders and candidates as well as precinct committee members and campaign volunteers.” Now, I understand that there are going to be a certain amount of tickets set aside for the “important” people, but three quarters of them? I was under the impression (mainly because that is how this visit has been announced) that this is a campaign tactic to rally more support for the Democratic Party in Ohio. How is this rallying for support when everyone attending is already solidly decided? What about the “general public” who would like to hear what Clinton, Strickland or Ryan has to say to sway our votes their way? I’ve actually been pretty disinterested during this entire campaign, due to the slandering campaign ads that cost more than the jobs these politicians are supposedly fighting for. But when someone like Clinton is coming to town to support our region’s politicians, I start to pay attention.

I’m not sore that I didn’t get the tickets because I knew it was a long shot to begin with (well, maybe I am a little), but I’m just really disappointed in the false information and the lack of sincerity in intention the Mahoning Valley Democratic Party is showing its people.

Rebecca Martz, Warren

Seeks support for Liberty schools

Voters in Liberty Township have an important issue on the ballot, namely, the renewal of a 3.1- mill operating levy. This renewal is a zero tax increase and will be collected for a period of five years starting in 2011. As it did five years ago, the levy will continue to generate $740,000 annually for the purposes of funding day-to-day operations of our schools and maintaining educational programming and staff.

Passage of this zero tax-increase levy is crucial to the Liberty Schools, which have achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating for the 2009-10 school year by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Recently, Liberty High School was also honored as a “School of Promise” by ODE for its significant gains in student achievement. Over the last three years, Liberty’s instructional programs have been enhanced by offering parents and students innovative educational options through the LEARN academy, which is being expanded to the middle school this year through the LEAD program. These achievements have been accomplished while making significant financial cuts and operating on a lean budget.

Renewal of this levy will allow the Liberty School District to maintain excellence as it continues to provide a 21st century education to our students through exciting learning opportunities in academics, music, arts and sports. This is a worthy investment for every Liberty citizen — and with zero increase in taxes. Educating all children benefits all of us. Educating all children takes all of us.

Diana DeVito, Vice-President

Liberty Board of Education

McKinley facing a budget crunch

McKinley Memorial Library is providing even more services to even more of our citizens in these tough economic times. Niles residents are turning to McKinley Memorial Library and its staff to help them use library tools such as the Internet to help them find jobs, file unemployment claims, develop resumes, do research to write just the right employment cover letter, and help their children with early reading skills. The job of McKinley Memorial Library doesn’t change in hard times; it just becomes more important.

McKinley Memorial Library’s funding from the state has eroded in the last eight years as a result of the poor Ohio economy. The library in 2011 will be operating on fewer funds from the state of Ohio than it received from the state in 1996. Despite the erosion in funding, McKinley Memorial Library is working hard to reinvent itself to meet the needs of the citizens of Niles.

McKinley Memorial Library provides critical services to people of all ages. For the cost of just 69 cents per week on an $80,000 home, voters can say yes on the library’s ballot issue and continue to provide these necessary and growing services. I urge you to support your community by supporting McKinley Memorial Library on Tuesday.

Susan Giannetti Longacre, Niles

Anti-texting laws don’t work

Last month, Canfield passed an ordinance making the act of texting while driving illegal. This law is counterproductive, dangerous, and fails to advance the underlying policy of the law itself. Canfield City Council members passed the law in response to the growing problem of driver inattentiveness due to cell phone usage and a local tragedy in Trumbull County, where a gentleman was killed by a driver who was texting.

The underlying premise to this law is outlawing texting while driving will reduce its frequency and make the roads safer. However, this is a faulty and misguided premise. In fact, laws that ban texting while driving have the actual effect of increasing traffic accidents and fatalities. Empirical studies on the issue note that states which enact legislative bans on texting while driving have higher rates of accidents after the law is enacted, compared with accident rates before the law was enacted. One theory of these findings is that drivers in “free to text” jurisdictions hold the phone near the steering wheel, giving them limited peripheral vision of the approaching road. Conversely, “texting banned” jurisdictions force the offenders to text while the phone is in their lap, hidden from the eyes of police, which completely eliminates their peripheral view of the road. While neither method of texting while driving is responsible or safe, it is obvious which method is relatively safer.

Perhaps I am too idealistic or I hold elected officials to an unreasonably lofty standard, but I expect elected officials vested with police power to base their decisions on empirical evidence, not baseless assertions or emotional arguments. I also expect that there is rational basis for a law (I’ll concede there is a clear legitimate interest), but the law must also have the actual tendency of furthering the state’s goal. The city council members of Canfield made a decision based on faulty assertions and emotional appeals, instead of actual, demonstrable evidence. This decision will have consequences, one being less safe roadways. Another consequence, hopefully, will be that constituents reward legislators who make informed decisions based on the evidence, and they refrain from supporting legislators who base decisions on mere illusions.

Chad B. Hawks, Canfield