The Big Bird-Delphi connection

The Big Bird-Delphi connection

Christie Mark, DCCC Chief operating officer, sent out an email in an attempt to drum up financial and personal support for the party’s candidates under the lead line, “What did Big Bird ever do to Mitt Romney?”

She then went into a brief narrative about how Republicans have been engaged in a two-year assault on PBS. The Democrat brain trust is making a presidential campaign issue out the possible loss of 40 percent of PBS’ funding, yet they act like ostriches when it comes to the fact that they have instrumented the loss of 30 to 70 percent of pensions, total health care and life insurance by the Delphi salaried retirees.

It’s laughable that the Democrats have made an issue of the prospect of PBS defunding by using Big Bird as some kind of a metaphor for Middle Class values. What about the real average hard working Americans who have been left in the wake of the administration’s ruthless disregard of the Delphi salaried group?

We are in that proverbial crunch time where fighting for every vote is crucial as the race for the White House tightens according to most scientific polls. The Mahoning Valley is the heart of Democratic support in this state and this state is the hinge pin of the door to the presidency for either of the main candidates.

To those of us who suffered the crushing consequences of Lykes’ ruthless exercise of bankruptcy sanctioned pension rape, I ask you to remember and strike a blow for these salaried folks so that they may not suffer similarly beyond what they have already lost. To those hard working folks from Denman and RG Steel who have lost their jobs and probably their legacy security, I ask you to stand with the Delphi salaried retirees. While those “blue” white collar workers weren’t union, their fight may serve as an ice breaker for your own pending issues.

I am asking the entire Valley to make the Delphi issue is own. When candidates’ callers ring your phone for the umpteenth time since Labor Day, take time to explain to these canvassers — Democrat or Republican — why the salaried retirees deserve their earned pensions.

To every individual who will cast their vote in this election, I am calling on you to remember that these people are truly your brothers and sisters in the workplace and when politicians come calling, in a loud voice tell them a singular message, “I am Delphi.”

I am counting on the strategists of both camps to get the meaning of that message and that fact will finally produce a definite action toward resolving the restoration of the pensions.

John Vogel, Mineral Ridge

Mary B. Smith left a legacy

Recently the Youngstown State University family, in particular, and the community, in general, were deeply saddened at the passing of Mrs. Mary B. Smith.

She was many things to many people, but to those of us who attended Youngstown College — especially those of us who were student athletes — she was a truly admirable lady. For those of us who were members of the football team, we remember her as being slow to see our faults but quick to discover our goodness. Speaking for myself, I thought of her as a second mother as she gave quietly of her time and efforts to ensure that my schedule each semester was complete and accurate, that I attended classes as I should, and that I put forth the effort required to complete my college education and become a contributing member of society.

She was a lady who was as honest with others as she was with herself. She was cheerful with us in difficult times and did her best to make sure that each of us was true to our beliefs. She was a leader with character and integrity; she was compassionate and empathetic for those in the community in most need.

I am a Coach Dike Beede Camp Fitch Football Training Camp survivor, as myself and 10 or so of my fellow teammates (1948-1954) like to say. Most of us are approaching or are 80 years of age; on each and every occasion on which we had the opportunity to see and visit with “Mary B.,” as we affectionately referred to her, we would gather around her to tell her how grateful and proud we were to have her as part of our lives.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when others look back to see if in fact we have made a difference — did we make things a little bit brighter, a little bit better for someone else? There is no doubt with regard to “Mary B.” She touched so many lives, and in doing so will live on forever.

Angelo Pezzuolo, New Castle, Pa.

The writer was a member of the Penguins football team, 1951-1955

The role of the vote in democracy

In Ohio, as in other states, the secretary of state has the responsibility to oversee the state’s election process. This year, rather than seeing our elected officials engaged in promoting and encouraging voter registration and turn out, the reverse seems to be occurring. We are witnessing vigorous efforts which are designed to reduce, rather than promote, turnout at our election poles. The nation’s elections in 2004 and 2008 resulted in record turn out, but were marked with reports of voter confusion at voting locations resulting in a national embarrassment for Ohio, Florida and some other states. Could Ohio, once again, see its election process held up for ridicule?

The secretary of state’s office needs to be held accountable for its activities in two specific regards. First, on their ability to encourage and educate Ohioans as to their duties and responsibilities in being enlightened and responsible voters. Tracking trends in voter registrations would give an indication as to how their offices are meeting that responsibility. The second method for calculating their effectiveness is reflected by the percentage of voters that actually turn out to cast their vote. Other industrialized and emerging nations are demonstrating better statistical results in these areas.

If this year’s fiasco, under the guise of addressing voter fraud, results in further embarrassment for Ohio’s election process, then the current secretary of state’s style and actions may negatively impact his career as a public servant.

Tom Flynn, Howland

More government meddling

I work part time for a major department store chain. The other day I attempted to sign up for health-care benefits. My company does not offer benefits to part time employees, but refers us to Starbridge, a limited benefits company. When I clicked on the link which provides benefit information, a notice appeared stating that this company does not meet the minimum requirement of the Affordable Care Act, which is $1.25 million. This statement follows: “Your health plan has requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services waive the requirement...” and states, “meeting this minimum dollar limit this year would result in a significant increase in your premiums or a significant decrease in your access to benefits.”

The next paragraph states “If you are concerned about your plans’ lower dollar limits on key benefits, you and your family may other options for health coverage. For more information, go to”

If this isn’t socialized medicine what is? Time for change this November.

Susan Kelly, Austintown