Let the people speak

Let the people speak

Most Canfield residents do not attend meetings of city council or boards/commissions and are unaware of the meetings procedures. In my opinion, residents’ input is ignored. During the business portion of these meetings, residents must be silent. They cannot ask questions or participate in any manner.

Residents may sign-up and address city council meetings at the beginning of the session. After that, the business portion of the meeting commences. At this point you cannot participate. When you speak, (before the business portion) you are expected to anticipate what is going to be discussed on the business agenda items. But, how can you predict what is going to be said before the issue is on the floor? They feel the agenda provides adequate opportunity. The bottom line is, concerns and important questions that may arise in the eyes of persons in attendance now go unaddressed.

I have heard that if attendees are permitted to ask questions, the meeting would develop into a filibuster or free-for-all. If the elected persons cannot control the meeting, they should not be there.

I attended a meeting of the Design Review Board March 11. Approval was being sought for a nationally known retail business on West Main. The board asked several questions of the store’s representative who was in attendance. As the meeting progressed, I asked if I could speak since there were items I would like to have answered. The store’s representative could easily have answered them. I was told, no, you cannot speak.

Here are a few pertinent questions I would like to have asked:

1. What kind of lighting will there be in the parking lot? Are they bright enough to provide adequate security?

2. How long will the lights be on?

3. Will the lights disturb any adjacent property or neighbors?

4. How will delivery trucks access the store?

My questions may or may not have pertained to the scope of the design committee, but the person who could answer them was there. The residents continue to be ignored.

Frank A. Micchia, Canfield

Everyone doesn’t go to heaven

I am writing this letter in re- gard to the Mar. 19 article “This is a Wake Up Call.” Rev. Shealey was right while speaking at one of the Warren funerals. People really think that everyone automatically goes to heaven. That is not true. Some people go to hell.

Yes, there really is a heaven and a hell. Young people may not know this, because they don’t go to church. Instead, they are out all hours of the night misbehaving and causing trouble. They don’t think about life after death, because they think they are invincible and they have their whole lives ahead of them.

We need to stop condoning our children’s bad behavior. We need to save their lives and their souls. Adults need to bring themselves and their kids to church to learn the truth that God does love everyone and salvation is offered to everyone.

Pamela Clawson, Struthers

‘Pay to stay’ hurts families

While insufficient fund- ing is clearly a pressing issue for the Mahoning County Jail, seeking to make up the difference from inmates is a problem for inmates and their families. (Fee proposal approved for Mahoning County jail inmates, Vindicator, March 7)

Research has shown that family is often a critical factor for successful reintegration into society after incarceration. Booking fees and other “pay to stay” policies that bill inmates for their incarceration only make it harder and more expensive for indigent inmates and their families to keep their family bonds strong. Inmates’ families already bear the burden of phone calls from the jail, as inmates cannot receive incoming calls and outbound calls must be made collect. Further, the families of indigent inmates also bear the cost of even the most basic hygiene items, like a toothbrush and underwear, if they deposit money into a loved one’s account.

If the Mahoning County Jail sets a $40 booking fee, it only makes sense to exempt those who are found too poor to pay. Jail fees should not become an extra burden for families, nor should the county expend resources attempting to collect fees that individuals have no ability to pay.

Marcus Gaddy, Columbus

The writer is on the legislative staff of the ACLU of Ohio.