Charter change is about home rule

Charter change is about home rule

On March 17, the Vindicator published an editorial, “A flawed charter amendment,” in reference to the successful ballot initiative, to be voted on May 7 as an amendment to Youngstown’s charter.

The Vindicator is certainly entitled to its opinion that the citizen-led effort is “flawed,” but frankly, the editorial entirely misses the point of why this charter amendment is necessary. The Community Bill of Rights charter amendment campaign highlights the state legislature’s unfortunate passage of House Bill 278 in 2004. The law quietly gave the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole authority to regulate oil and gas wells, stripping local governments of any authority over placement of permitting wells.

This is a radical shift of power from the local level — where residents have direct control through local elections, appeal processes, and public hearings — to the state bureaucracy — where citizens’ voices don’t hold much sway. Not surprisingly, this benefits giant corporations with enough money to buy influence in Columbus at the expense of local residents of communities. The Youngstown residents are merely joining other communities across the state like Cincinnati and Broadview Heights to assert local control over zoning and to challenge the legality of the state’s power grab.

In effect, these residents are using the ballot initiative, their democratic right, in an attempt to regain control over what happens in our community. We are in full support of this ballot initiative and any resident ready to use the democratic process to decide what happens in our community.

Sybil West, Board Chair

Heather McMahon, Executive Director

Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative

It’s all about the slots

Have you ever been in a room full of slot machines, the blue lights flickering on dead pan faces as zombie humans stare at the glass and pump their paychecks into machines? At least where there are gaming tables people talk and relate to one another. Let’s face it, they may call it a “Racino” but the horses are apparently a ruse to justify the slot machines because of the laws, unless of course you take the place seriously as a state of the art racetrack.

What the racing commission is trying to say is don’t play us, build a real functioning race track. Heck the seating for the original proposal would fit into a large Denny’s. Those plans had no real accommodations for grooms and trainers who need to be near their expensive racehorses. Or maybe Penn National doesn’t expect any respectable horses at this track ‘cause they will cheap out the purses. The original design defies reason and displayed intent to get by with the least candy coating of a racetrack and the most allowable money-sucking-machine operation. They don’t call them one armed bandits for nothing. Will the additional seating include food and drink service? What is the standard of the added “dormitory” and jockey accommodations? What is the value of their future promises?

My town deserves a dignified, elegant horse operation that will attract fabulous horses as a nationally respected venue. As for this location at the convergence of two major national highway systems east and west, interstate routes 76 and 80, this is not about local anything it’s about the trucking and tourist trade and money.

The Covelli Centre, built with panache, attracts world class talent and has enhanced the town. Mr. Ditzler is an opportunist trying to get some political mileage when he should show some pride. Bravo to the Jockey’s Guild and Mr. Mark Munroe for demanding the kind of quality workmanship this community stands for and deserves.

L.S. Beckett, Youngstown

Why not take the court to school?

In the last weeks I have heard that some of Youngstown schools will be closing at the end of the year. Some buildings are very new. Can we not as a city use this to our advantage? No one foresaw just how many people we would continue to lose and that we would not need these school buildings. But they are here, and we are in need of some new facilities for our city hall, police and court system.

Could we not use one of the buildings closer to town like Williamson Elementary to become the new City Hall? I know it’s not on the closure list, but it is closest to town and could be moved to one of schools closing. We do need a new City Hall and the money the courts have been saving could go to remodel the inside of the school into safe courtrooms, chambers, etc. The building would be handicapped accessible with no need of elevators thus saving taxpayers a boatload in elevator repairs and/or replacements. It may have CCTV cameras in it as schools have added these features for safety.

Why let these buildings close with the thought of someone vandalizing them and stripping them? Let’s use one of these school buildings to our advantage. Yes, it may not be downtown anymore, but it would be a new, safe access, building that wouldn’t turn into blight.

We are in the process of reinventing ourselves, so let’s do it. It’s clean and heated, and air-conditioned, and in close proximity to downtown. And since most cases from jail are video-arraigned there should not be an issue.

And one thought on the ripping down of houses in Youngstown. Work backward. The stable neighborhoods that have only one or two houses to come down, get those down first and then proceed to the others that need attention before the people in those neighborhoods who pay the majority of taxes to the city, leave.

Lisa Beth Moore, Youngstown

BWC shouldn’t fight refunds

I read with great interest a re- cent story “Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation must refund $859 million to Ohio employers.” I applaud the judge for doing the right thing for Ohio businesses. As an attorney who represents injured workers, we have for years battled the notion that workers’ benefits needed to be reduced in order to lower high premium rates. However, this ruling shows that it is not the workers’ benefits that should be reduced, but instead the inflated rates being charged by the BWC.

Most disturbing of all is the fact that the BWC had the audacity to claim that money rightfully owed these businesses should not be repaid because it would be a “windfall” for them. Yes, you read that right, a “windfall” of money they were wrongfully charged in the first place.

I urge the BWC to do the right thing and refund this money quickly. It’s time for the BWC to own up to their mistakes and make amends to Ohio employers. Thousands of small businesses across Ohio deserve it.

Atty. Joseph Moro, Youngstown

Same-sex marriage is unnatural

With reference to the sub- ject of the so-called marriage equality. Such an arrangement is not natural. How could it be considered normal?

All species would be extinct unless each were able to reproduce. For all animals, including us humans, that reproduction requires a male and female.

Even the latest scientific advancement in helping couples reproduce there has to be a male and female in the process somewhere. Their effort would not work otherwise.

Nature itself proves a male with a male or a female with a female is unnatural. Why should the rest of us have to accept such an arrangement as normal?

Donald G. Baker, Youngstown