Youngstowners lose chance to vote

Youngstowners lose chance to vote

I am writing in hope of rais- ing residents’ awareness of areas of city government that are in need of change to move forward towards a better Youngstown.

I attended the last city council meeting to ask questions regarding the charter review proposals. The charter review proposal stated that after a study was done on salaries of city council members throughout Ohio, Youngstown pays city council members approximately $8,000 more than any similar city. The proposal recommended that city council present the option of a salary cut become a ballot issue. Our city council members earn just under $28,000 a year, plus benefits and pension for part-time work. The average Youngstown family earns about $25,000 per year for full-time work. I believe it is unfair to the people who have city taxes taken out of $25,000 to pay each member $28,000.

When I wanted to ask city council how they justify not putting this issue on the ballot they informed me that they did not answer questions. I ended up leaving the city council meeting when Councilwoman Gillam stated that they wanted to know why the mayor was not included in salary reductions. I agree with Gillam that the mayor and others should be considered for salary reductions across the board. I disagree that she or the other city council members are earning what they are getting paid.

Gillam stated that she usually attend events and block watch meetings to meet the people she represent. My problem with this is that a lot of families in Youngstown, including my own cannot afford to pay event tickets or the membership fees that are required for block watches. We are too busy trying to figure out how to put enough gas in our cars to get to our full-time jobs to make the pennies we earn. Therefore, she is missing a lot of people she is supposed to represent.

What upsets me the most about all this is the response to suggestion of placing this issue on the ballot. I was surprised to learn the city council flat out refused. I feel robbed of my right to assist in governing my city.

Tiffany Gregory, Youngstown

Vote with good of country in mind

This election is about many important issues. Our political party choice and candidate must represent who we are as a country.

I remain astonished that during the Democratic National Convention it took three calls from the chairman to request a change in party platform, putting God and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital back into their platform. It was disheartening to hear the “nays” still out shout the “ayes.”

Our responsibility is to rise above and see through the name calling, finger-pointing and pettiness viewed in the media daily. The candidate’s responsibility is to represent and be accountable to “we the people” and should be held to that standard. We must confidently rely on our inner convictions, knowing the truth and vote our conscience while looking past the hype and skewed truth. We hold these truths within us and should exercise our rights of use.

I do not consider myself a historian or even one who possesses great knowledge of government laws. I do however consider myself to be an American who is willing to stand up for what I believe. Researching the truth, voting my conscience with faith conviction, and praying for reform and restoration of my country is a personal commitment. My hope is that there are many others who will agree to do the same, for the good of the country and future generations.

Patty Scahill, Austintown

Compare Democrat/GOP records

Republicans just don’t get it. Enacting Republican solutions will do the same for the country as in 1929, which preceded and precipitated the Great Depression. Having learned nothing from the stock market crash and their own bank failures in 2008 that put us into a severe recession, the wealthy fully intended to keep taking more for themselves at our expense. Romney and his GOP colleagues continue to blame President Obama for our current economic situation.

The Democrats have provided health care reforms that will help people, not drug and insurance companies. Obama’s policies help students deal with the cost of college (Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, which Republicans want to eliminate). He has compromised with the GOP on smaller government work force, tax cuts, individual health care mandate and education reforms.

Let us not forget that Democrat Bill Clinton was responsible for creating more private-sector jobs in eight years than the last three Republican presidents did in their combined 20 years in the White House.

The choice will be clear in November. Do we want a president who fights for the middle class or a CEO who will support the profit-calculating mindset of big corporations and Wall Street?

This election year, before Romney and the Republicans tell us what they’re going to do, let them explain and defend what they did the last time before Obama took office.

Ed Freisen, Newton Falls

A Civil Rights hero comes to town

When I heard that John Lewis was coming to the Mahoning County Board of Elections, I was overcome with an unquenchable excitement. John Lewis is living history. I remember all too well the Civil Rights era of the ’60s. In my opinion his story is richer and more powerful than that of Dr. King’s. In fact, when historian Howard Zinn was asked to tell the story of that era, he chose to tell the story through the eyes of SNCC. John Lewis was one of the founders of the Student’s Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and its president from 1963 to 66.

Years later, as representative of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, John received a phone call. The phone call was from ex-Klansman Elwin Wilson. One day during the freedom ride years, Elwin had mercilessly beaten John at a southern bus station. The two would eventually meet at the White House and become friends.

At the board of elections, across from Oak Hill Cemetery, John revisited the Sixties. He talked about the freedom rides and sit ins. He talked about the beatings and deaths that occurred to secure the Voting Rights Act of 1965. John makes the point that today, in virtually every state that has a Republican governor, new voting measures have been enacted. John said, “The vote is precious and almost sacred and we must not let anyone keep us from exercising our right to vote.”

At the end of the conference something happened that better captures how many people feel about this great American. While John was shaking hands and making conversation with politicians like Tim Ryan and Nona Turner, a woman who appeared to be in her late fifties placed her right arm around his shoulders. John just continued talking to folks. If you had never seen this woman before you would have thought this was his wife. Finally, John turned his attention to the woman and asked her to take a photo with him. Do you suppose this woman knew that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be associated with a truly great man?

Alfred Spencer, Warren