Vote yes on charter amendment

Vote yes on charter amendment

I was very dismayed when I read the “Vote no on charter amendment” editorial in last Sunday’s Vindicator. Let’s examine the author’s reasons why Youngstown should reject this proposal.

It’s too long. Seriously? He/she feels that is a good reason to reject it?

“And it wasn’t even written in Youngstown for Youngstowners.” I was involved in the writing of this document. It is true that it resembles charter amendments that have been adopted in other communities. We worked closely with Ben Price of CELDF to customize it for Youngstown.

“…it could be used to shut almost any enterprise down.” Really? Do we need to worry about factory farming, the spreading of sewage sludge, or uranium mining within the city limits? If so, then I seriously hope this document would prevent those activities as well.

“This is not a serious piece of legislation.” It’s all about the physical health of the people who live in Youngstown and surrounding communities. We don’t want to breathe fumes from a toxic diesel cloud generated by a constant parade of trucks and from diesel powered frack pumps and generators. This is heavy industry in our backyards, and it’s as serious as it gets.

“It clearly contradicts state law.” It absolutely does do that, thank goodness. In 2004, in anticipation of the shale gas boom, HB 278 was passed. The bill effectively usurped all local control over oil and gas exploration and handed it over to the state (specifically ODNR). The intent was to prevent local communities from “interfering” with the permitting, location, and spacing of oil and gas wells. Big oil and gas, aided and abetted by the Ohio Legislature took away our rights. We want them back.

“The CBR … is not a serious response to whatever challenges fracking presents and should be defeated.” The author uses the terms “fanciful notions”, “unrealistic”, “tilting at windmills” — to undermine the extremely serious business of protecting the health of our loved ones.

Vote yes on May 7 to take back our inalienable rights to a safe and healthy life.

Raymond Vershum, Youngstown

Amendment should have died

There is so much animosi- ty and dissension amongst people over the Charter Amendment, titled The Community Bill of Rights, even among those who usually stand united on other issues.

To those who worked so hard to bring it to the forefront, my respect. To those who oppose, citing its restrictive context regarding business growth, I understand.

It doesn’t matter how many other communities or states have adopted such. It doesn’t matter if you are for or against the proposal. It is not only unenforceable, it is unconstitutional. Article 18, of the Ohio Constitution, allows for Home Rule, but not without limitations. It “shall” not conflict with the state constitution or issues of statewide concern, any issue in which the state has chosen to retain control.

Perhaps there are those who recall Mayor Williams trying to enforce residency. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars paid to outside counsel and to settle back pay and benefits of fired workers. It was a losing proposition from the start, as it was an issue of statewide concern on which the Legislature had spoken.

This amendment should never have made it from the city Law Director Anthony Farris to the Mahoning County Board of Elections, and if there was any uncertainty, the attorney general’s office should have been contacted for clarification.

I only hope the conclusion doesn’t lead again to the courts and wasted money. Home rule doesn’t mean making your own rules.

Maggy Lorenzi, Youngstown

Get ready for Memorial Day

We are approaching anoth- er Memorial Day when people honor family and friends with flowers. Again I am asking, no demanding, that Calvary “weed-wack” around the stones that are laid flat in the ground.

It’s very difficult when taking elderly family members and they can’t find their family’s grave because grass has over-grown the stone.

If you go to Tod Cemetery, you will see a beautiful well-kept cemetery, where I have no problem finding my 100 -year-old grandparents’ stone. Maybe we should hire their yardsmen to clean up Calvary.

I had a discussion recently with many of my friends and we hope something is done. If not, when asked for extra collections at church, don’t give. The diocese overlooks this cemetery. I say, quit doing a poor job — at least for the Memorial Day — and make us proud.

Rosemarie Carkido Carson, Youngstown

Keep an eye on the criminals

I was in total agreement with Bertram de Souza’s article last Sunday. In the age of high crime and terrorism in our country, we badly need more surveillance cameras. Why not have more cameras in high crime areas?

I do not view them as an infringement on our rights of privacy. Those who say it is must have something to hide. If you’re out and about minding your own business, who cares if there are cameras watching? After all, they are there for everyone’s protection.

When the criminals know their moves are being watched at every turn they will think twice about their outside criminal behavior. I say go for it.

Robert DeFelice, Youngstown

Gun control isn’t the answer

Two weeks ago, the Senate voted on the background check amendment to Majority Leader Reid’s “Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013” (S.649). The amendment would have required states to send all criminal records of the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Despite the obvious HIPAA concerns, this amendment is useless. It would have done nothing more than to increase paperwork and hassle involved in exercising our Second Amendment right.

What good would it be to create another commission, as this legislation would have done? Even Senator Manchin, D-W.V., its main co-sponsor, admitted that this legislation wouldn’t have stopped the Newtown tragedy.

We all agree that something has to be done to stop senseless violence, but gun control is not the answer. Connecticut already had the fifth most restrictive gun laws in the country, including universal background checks and an “assault” weapons ban, but Newtown still happened.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman voted against this amendment, and it failed. Sen. Portman was right in doing so. I was glad to see the United States Senate vote down this ineffective proposal.

Tex Fischer, Youngstown

The writer is president of the Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana County Young Conservatives.

Ohio is losing Medicaid funding

Ohio House Republicans chose to remove the Medicaid expansion language from the budget. This action means that approximately 275,000 people, who would have been eligible under the proposed expansion, will continue to go without health insurance and Ohio will lose nearly $13 billion in federal dollars over the next decade. Ohio taxpayers will continue to pay for an expansion of Medicaid with their federal tax dollars, but will not benefit from the program while other states will.

I hope that the conversation is not over. Contact the Senate Finance Medicaid Committee about the need for access to both physical and behavioral health care coverage. People with mental illness often have serious physical health needs that go unmet. A healthy Ohio is a working Ohio. It is clear that the best path forward for Ohio is expanding Medicaid.

Kathy DiCristofaro, Niles

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