Things that make a great town

Things that make a great town

There are many things that come together to make a community a great place to live. Parks, safety, property values, roads, schools — these all work together.

On May 3 there are several levies on the ballot for Poland residents that could greatly impact our status as a great place to live. None of them are there due to money management issues — they are due to state cuts and increasing costs.

Now it is time for the residents of Poland to come together and keep our community great by supporting the levies.

Julie Liddle, Poland

Support McDonald schools

Almost 15 years ago, as my now husband and I began searching for a home, we happened to find one in our price range in a quaint neighborhood in McDonald. As the years went by, we began to realize what a special place it really was, and we chose to stay as we purchased our next home. We loved the park, the community events, and, once our children were old enough to enter, the school district, including the caring teachers, the wonderful support staff, and the great students.

Now, unfortunately, because of a series of intentional or unintentional poor financial decisions made by former administrators and others who have moved on to greener pastures without any legal repercussions or even an apology to the school community they left in fiscal shambles, our school faces a terribly hard road. All of the best things about McDonald schools are still there: the teachers, the staff and the students. But, without the money that would be provided by the May school levy, it may all be gone, including the opportunity to participate in any extra-curricular activities, of which McDonald athletics excels.

My husband and I are both teachers in other school districts, and with SB 5 and the question of our own salaries looming, we know it is hard to commit a large sum of money right now. But, aside from our own children’s educations, we know that the home we bought, which is already worth much less due to the economy, will likely be unsellable in a school district limited to providing only a basic, stripped-down education to its students.

Please support the McDonald School levy on May 3. It is for the good of our whole community.

Cathy Guerra, McDonald

Anderson’s neutrality unrewarded

In last Sunday’s column, Ber- tram de Souza suggested that YSU President Cynthia Anderson is “tough enough” to be cowed into silence by Ohio Republicans’ attack on public sector workers. De Souza implies that this stance will protect YSU from retribution, but the governor’s budget cuts YSU’s funding by 15.9 percent — the third largest cut in the state. So much for the value of remaining neutral.

Two other points deserve clarification. First, de Souza implies that YSU’s faculty received significant enrollment bonuses in our current contract, but those bonuses applied only to YSU’s classified staff (YSU-ACE). Although the current YSU-OEA contract for faculty did include raises, YSU faculty has among the lowest salaries in the state. We also have among the highest teaching loads in the state, and tuition here is the second lowest among other state universities.

Second, de Souza turned to the Buckeye Institute — a right-wing think tank with ties to conservative foundations and donors — to get my salary. It’s interesting that he uses this partisan source when faculty salaries are a matter of public record, available at Maag Library to anyone who wants to review them. He also implies that my salary is unreasonably high. But consider this: the Williamson College of Business Administration, of which I am a proud member, was recently reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) The average salary for an assistant professor at an AACSB-accredited business college in 2009-2010 was $106,500, $2,000 more than I earned that year. That means that after 30-plus years at YSU, as a full professor and one of just two YSU faculty to have been awarded distinguished professor awards in all four categories (scholarship, teaching, university service, and community service), I was paid less than the lowest-ranking faculty member at most accredited business schools

Greed cannot explain my strong opposition to SB 5. I am fighting this bill because I believe in collective bargaining, which the United Nations, ILO Conventions, and signed treaties have defined as a human right. Support for unions is not an economic issue, nor should anyone’s position on human rights be determined by political expediency.

John Russo, Youngstown

The writer is a professor in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.

Ohio budget hurts Austintown

From a personal standpoint, I consider myself fiscally conservative and fiscally responsible. From a fairness standpoint, I think Senate Bill 5 is a travesty. It should not take an act of state government to make your elected officials fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. Were there issues in the process that needed altered, yes. But now, just like in the federal government, partisan issues have taken over, and the pendulum hits both ends, instead of reaching a happy medium.

I can tell you that Gov. Kasich’s plan to push the tax burden to the lowest forms of government may work for his state budget, but it will not benefit us as taxpayers, nor will it entice out of state businesses to come to Ohio.

Austintown stands to lose almost $2 million from a $12 million budget with the projected elimination of business’s tangible personal property tax, local government funds, and inheritance tax elimination. Gov. Kasich has stated that; local government should not need to create new taxes, and that SB 5 gives them the savings to balance their budget. I can tell you that if we totally eliminated health care for all 97 township employees, it would not overcome the deficit created in our budget by the state cuts.

Now with budgetary cuts to deal with, what loses? Austintown was recently asked to offer matching funds on a road improvement project, for a business looking to invest $20 million into relocating to Austintown, instead of to another state. We had to decline participation, which will jeopardize the project, and the opportunity for 100 new jobs coming into the Valley. All because of state funding cuts that were in Gov. Kasich’s words, aimed at making Ohio a more advantageous option for new businesses to locate.

David C. Ditzler, Austintown Trustee

Partisanship hurts Austintown

I am writing in response to re- cent articles regarding Austintown and the trustees’ clear partisan slide over the past few weeks.

Lately it seems that every time I look at the front page of The Vindicator I find a quote from Trustee Ditzler, Trustee Oles or Administrator Dockry. In each and every instance it seems they find a need to drive a wedge between Austintown Township and Gov. Kasich. The leadership in Austintown has begun to tow a heavily partisan line, building up a wall between Austintown and the rest of the state.

As a resident of Austintown I find this unbelievably discouraging and severely frightening. The fact that at their April meeting they let an individual from Canfield take the floor and demand that Austintown withdraw from the Regional Chamber on a purely partisan basis is outrageous, irresponsible and destructive.

The Vindicator recently reported that Trustee Ditzler blamed Gov. Kasich for the lack of local government funding to help secure a $20 million development project. This remark is outrageous.

See letters A15


Continued from A14

Ditzler’s accusations were made prior to Gov. Kasich’s biennial budget being brought to the floor of the Ohio House. Perhaps Trustee Ditzler should have picked up the phone and called the Department of Development to inquire about funding. I would also blame his fellow members for permitting him to speak without doing his homework.

If this $20 million project is important to Austintown and to Mahoning County, every option should be considered, including talking to the governor’s office and working with the Regional Chamber, rather than chastising it. If help is not sought for this project, help will not be given. There is no indication that they have given a single thought to asking Kasich for assistance.

I put it to both the Austintown Trustees and the Mahoning County Commissioners to have the courage to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for the Valley. This project benefits everyone living in Mahoning County, and it would be a travesty to let this slip through our fingers because of foolish partisan pride.

Donovan O’Neil, Austintown

The writer is chairman of the Mahoning County Young Republicans and political director for the Mahoning County Republican Party.

Hypocritical bashing

I find it totally hypocritical of The Vindicator to write an editorial complaining about the Covelli Centre, and a week or so later show pictures of a packed crowd to see the Goo Goo Dolls.

If you buy a new car it’s fabulous, but you have to make the payments. The paper stated that the money could’ve been better spent tearing down old houses. Yes, old houses definitely need to be torn down, but what do you end up with: an empty lot.

People no longer have to travel to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to see a great show. You save money on gas and parking. Downtown restaurants benefit greatly from the arena. I believe an amphitheater would be a great investment and add to the overall luster of the Centre.

Eric Ryan has done a fantastic job. The Centre is here for this community to enjoy. Stop crying and pay it off.

Mike Cholensky, Youngstown

Something to hate

The most important thing I learned as an instructor of economics and statistics at Youngstown State University was “taught” to me by an economics faculty member. His name is not important; his thought is important.

He told me that hatred is evil. Furthermore, there is only one acceptable hatred, and that is the hatred of evil.

I later thought to myself that horrible medical problems seem evil to me. I think it is OK to hate ALS, leukemia, congenital heart problems, etc.

Otherwise, I have nothing more to say about hatred.

Louis N. DeToro, Youngstown