Editorial missed the real story

Editorial missed the real story

Regarding last Sunday’s ed- itorial, “A Flawed Charter Amendment,” in 1776 you’d probably write the same editorial about Thomas Jefferson and that “fuzzy” and “unenforceable” idea that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by self-government. In this fight between citizens and an industry that uses our river and our bodies as their toxic dumping ground, willing to destroy our real future for this city: you’d support King Gas.

So here’s the real story: A group of citizens, in the best traditions of America’s revolutionary heritage, is attempting to create a more perfect union to protect our inalienable rights. It is our right to protect our families’ safe drinking water from toxic trespass, and we will fight for that right. Which side are you on?

Ben Shapiro, Youngstown

Young are being brainwashed

The March 17 letter, “Same-sex marriage isn’t as divisive as it once was,” demonstrates how thoroughly young people, especially, have been influenced (brainwashed?) by the media and other liberal institutions like public “education.”

At its core, the increased acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage revolves around the ideas that the only real difference between men and women is the configuration of their genitals, and that this difference is nothing more than an accident of nature. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that the vast majority of those accepting gay marriage — and bisexuality, transgenderism, and sex change operations — are either atheists or agnostics; people with deep religious faith believe God created each person by design.

Among the reasons gay marriage is an unwise idea: 1) If we legalize gay marriage then gay couples will have to be considered on equal footing with heterosexual couples for adopting children. Every child needs a real mom and a real dad to grow up healthy mentally, psychologically, socially and spiritually — not two dads and no mom or two moms and no dad. 2) Children raised by homosexual couples will grow up thinking that type of union is not just an option, but preferable. 3) The more we “normalize” homosexuality and bisexuality, the more that heterosexuals will be discriminated against. In other words, acceptance of gay marriage and other “alternative” behaviors will destroy what’s left of traditional American values. Actually, that’s exactly what the leftists in our country have been trying to accomplish all along.

James Dunlap, Mineral Ridge

School taxes defy constitution

As I write my check for our county property taxes, questions come to mind.

Is it still unconstitutional in the state of Ohio to fund schools through levies charged by property taxation?

Is anyone examining alternative methods? One look at our statements shows the largest expenditures by far is for school support. Yet, as we are all aware it is never adequate — renewals and new levies constantly appear on the ballot.

Time after time, we are told the schools need more funding, and it is up to the property owner to step up and fill the void. When does the well run dry? When does someone say, “enough is enough”? How do other states fund their educational systems?

Tax dollars from property taxes cannot be the answer.

Patricia A. Turk, Boardman

Fed inaction merits criticism

Bertram de Souza is justi- fied in his frustration with the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office over their refusal to release 2,000 hours of surveillance records related to public corruption in the Mahoning Valley.

It’s one thing if federal officials are withholding information for purposes of building a case with potentially broader impact. It’s quite another story if they are withholding information that stymies a state prosecution of public corruption with no intention of ever using the information to pursue federal indictments. The former is responsible aggressive law enforcement. The latter is unconscionable interference in state law enforcement that at worst smacks of a cover-up.

Given the Mahoning Valley’s sordid history of organized crime and public corruption, we can ill afford, as a community, to remain quiet when a grand jury, the public’s conscience and voice in deciding whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, has its lawful indictments effectively nullified by stonewalling federal bureaucrats.

Every Mahoning County resident should read the 80-page Bill of Particulars authored by the state prosecutors in support of the grand jury indictments. It provides a disturbing glimpse of Realpolitiks in Mahoning County.

Citizens can only hope that de Souza’s unnamed “criminal justice” source is correct when he claims “Something is going to happen in March.” For the community’s sake, we can’t settle for inaction.

James B. Callen, Youngstown

Execution is yesterday’s way

A Vindicator headline of Feb. 16 reported that “Ohio is debating ways to carry out future executions.” Ohio will do better to debate ways to end executions in our state, joining the now 18 that have rejected the practice as unnecessary, ineffective, costly and too often unjust. Too many persons later proved to be innocent have been put on death row and executed. Death penalty machinery is dysfunctional. It should be ended in Ohio.

Executing people lessens society’s respect for life. If we are willing to kill fully grown human beings, albeit seriously flawed in their behavior, it inclines us to tolerate the killing of other human beings society finds flawed, inconvenient, or burdensome. There’s a better and less costly way to protect society and build up a humane and civilized one. Ohio should pursue it.

May our state officials, prompted by our citizenry, follow the example of the six states that have rejected the death penalty over the last six years, just last week Maryland, and soon become the 19th to ban it. That’s worth debating!

Father Bob Bonnot, Struthers

A legend was built in Niles

What’s in a name? The “big rollers” swagger into town with a borrowed or clever name, recipes that remind us of every other eatery, staff and management more concerned with their egos and tips rather than customer service and hospitality. These come and go (not a minute too soon). A cheerful greeting, a cozy chair, ambiance that rivaled the big cities, service with a smile and an anticipated chat with the owners — Alberini’s stood head and shoulders above the rest for almost 60 years.

From a pizza, pasta and meatball shop to a destination restaurant of unequaled quality and reputation, it provided quality we simply refer to as class. The honors received and the icons of entertainment and sports who frequented Alberini’s over the years would fill volumes. In Richard and Gilda we have the king and queen of hospitality. In Chook, the crown prince, able and worthy of the crown passed down to him.

As the door is locked for the final time and the lights dimmed as he exits to take that last ride home from the history he helped create, I wish Chook, his lovely wife, Brigitte, and, of course, Gilda Alberini, the best of happiness and good health now and into the future.

And for those of us who know such things to be true, Richard Alberini is surely looking down with pride and satisfaction at a legacy created and sustained for almost 60 years, right here in Niles, Ohio. Lucky us.

Robert Vargo, Youngstown