You can make a dog’s day

You can make a dog’s day

I much appreciated the arti- cle in the May 13 Vindicator concerning the search for a new Mahoning County dog warden, which included the accomplishments of outgoing Dog Warden Matt Ditchey.

As a longtime dog walker at the pound, I have seen first-hand the dramatic transformation from a place where too many dogs went to die to a place where they have a near 100 percent chance to live. Before Mr. Ditchey arrived the “kill-list” was a near-weekly ritual due to overcrowding. Because of his love for dogs, Matt, with help from many rescue groups of which Friends of Fido has taken a lead role, was able to greatly increase the adoption rate. It had begun to improve at the time I became a volunteer, thanks to the efforts of another rescue group, Canine Crusaders.

I know that all the staff and volunteers are happy that the county commissioners feel it is important to continue this improvement, as expressed in the article by County Commissioner Dave Ditzler.

Not mentioned but also important is the installation, under Mr. Ditchey’s leadership, of 30 large walk-in kennels where before only cages had been used. There are still too many of these tiny cages. Most are either 2 feet by 3 feet or 2 feet by 2 feet, hardly big enough for a rabbit or guinea pig let alone a dog. And the unlucky dogs must spend 24 hours a day in them. I hope the new dog warden can find a way to replace some of these so that more dogs have room to walk.

Being a dog walker, I want to add a plea for more people to come to the pound and spend a little time walking dogs. They desperately need time out of these cages. There is no doubt it does them good and they appreciate it. They recognize the walkers and get excited anticipating their walk. More volunteers means more walks for the dogs.

Help to keep them from becoming stir-crazy. Please come and walk the dogs!

Richard G. Fogo, Youngstown

Renters earn right to vote on levies

Again I hear this opinion that only property owners should vote on property taxes from a “land owner” in your letter column. I don’t believe we have a multiple-citizenship system in our country.

I am a “renter,” but I am sure a large portion of my rent goes to property taxes, maintenance and property insurance. My land lord is generous, but I doubt that this vocation is a charity event for her.

The letter writer is younger than me, but I recall many years ago my mother had her taxes greatly reduced by the “Homestead Exemption” when she reached 65 years of age. I wonder if this writer has had that discount.

As to the Springfield schools bond issue, which voters approved, bright classrooms and air conditioning are no longer luxuries. They promote quality education, which produces quality citizens and taxpayers to care for us in our later years.

Robert J. Husted, New Springfield

Faux outrage over IRS missteps

Despite the breathless out rage exhibited by congressional Republicans and Fox News concerning the Internal Revenue Service investigation of tea party groups, it’s difficult, based on what we now know, to become concerned about any abuse of power by the IRS. The extra scrutiny at the root of this outrage was applied to certain groups applying for tax-exempt status under 501(c)(4) rules listed in the paragraphs below.

From the IRS website: “To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community (such as by bringing about civic betterment and social improvements). For example, an organization that restricts the use of its facilities to employees of selected corporations and their guests is primarily benefiting a private group rather than the community and, therefore, does not qualify as a section 501(c)(4) organization.

“The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f).”

Since the dawn of the movement, it is undeniably clear to everyone that the goal of the various tea party groups is political change, not “to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.” That the IRS would scrutinize groups whose only stated goals were political, not social, seems to be a common sense approach to determining a group’s eligibility for tax- exempt status. The key words in a group’s name that were used by the IRS to initiate increased scrutiny were words suggesting that the group was primarily a politically motivated group.

According to Bloomberg News, three liberal-leaning groups were also subjected to the same increased scrutiny by the IRS, Emerge America, Progress Texas and Clean Elections Texas. Emerge America, in fact, lost its tax-exempt status. It seems that the IRS is doing exactly the job that it should be doing.

Robert F. Mollic, Liberty Township

You can’t always go downtown

This letter is an observation based on the May 5 front page article, “ Downtown’s Ups & Downs.” The article laments the instability of the dining/entertainment economy of downtown Youngstown. I think the issues surrounding the stability and durability of downtown are overlooking a very simple issue — transportation.

The major factor is that we are a car culture (we make cars here) and no longer have a rail service, or even a trolley, of any kind in the area. And ironically the old B&O Amtrak station is now part of the wobbly restaurant industry. Our public transportation is totally based on the bus system. For many of you reading this, how long has it been since you were on a bus in the Mahoning Valley? Enough said.

You need a car to go downtown Youngstown; however:

There is no real downtown parking except for the street.

There is no real taxi service in the area (from informal interviews, local cabs are a joke).

For people to give up on the chain restaurants in the suburbs and even closer to town, transportation needs to be easy. Either the city or a consortium of business needs to step up and build real, centralized, safe, affordable parking. Why is this not mentioned as a downtown resurgence issue?

Rob Schuler, Canfield

Bring back the Wildcat

I hope the former Idora Park area will be restored to become another amusement park. Youngstown was known for that park.

“What goes around comes around,” they say. Hey, we could even reintroduce a carousel!

The trend today is toward finding amusement in our own backyard, rather than traveling away. Restoring Idora Park would follow that trend nicely.

Idora Park had so much to offer, and it could again.

Anne Smaic Pachos, Cortland

Hot pursuit is deadly policy

Yet another hot-pursuit tragedy.

When are they going to learn that hot pursuit is not worth the risk?

All this heartbreak and expense could have been avoided.

James M. Fisher, Austintown