Anti-frack issue could pass this time; Not all Americans are lefties; Recalling better days near old St. Joe's; Death penalty and fairness; Valley drivers are the rudest

Anti-fracking issue in city stands decent chance of passage this fall

I offer a contrary analysis to the respected editorial opinion of Aug. 10, “Anti-fracking charter issue will litter city ballot — again.”

What is happening citywide with the charter amendment struggle is a rights-based effort under citizen sponsorship. This is democracy in action. An ad-hoc coalition of Valley residents is exercising this action because it impacts the environment, property values, and infrastructure.

The proposal offered is about home rule, not about littering a ballot.

Last May, the charter amendment lost by a simple 500 votes, with a very modest turnout of voters at the polls.

Involved voting citizens appear to be relatively split on the issue. If the Community Bill of Rights committee can effectively recruit support in the registered but nonvoting population — seniors, low-income, ethnic, and challenged residents especially — then the November retest of this issue could go in the CBR committee’s favor.

Jim Villani, Boardman

Not all Americans embrace cultural shift to political left

Politics has been said to be downstream from culture. As cultural shifts moved gradually during the 1960s to an increased pace during the 1990s and thereafter in America, the political landscape followed.

The Kinsey Report amplified the “Sexual Revolution” in the early 60s, Medicare began in the mid-60s, enormous growth of federal programs thereafter, toleration of and outright encouragement of not only “free sex” but legalization of previously outlawed substances leading to abdication of individual responsibility assisted acceleration of the cultural shift.

Recognition of correlative rights and responsibilities in the past have been subordinated to emphasis upon “rights” and de-emphasis upon the all important but tandem “responsibility” to secure those rights.

Elected politicians keenly then took and continue to take advantage of this phenomenon. The courts especially at the federal level have also played into the movement away from traditional values and practices to reward those who seek recognition and legal status unheard of just a generation ago, such as same-sex “marriage” and deciding that mere mention of God in a public setting is prohibited.

It has also been said that those we elect are a reflection of the attitudes and morals of the electorate. This may be true of our elected legislators but they in turn have delegated much authority to either regulatory rule-making agencies, appointments to those agencies or the judiciary. This process does much to undermine the will of the majority of Americans who do not identify with the cultural shift to the left but continue to elect those who do.

Atty. Carl Rafoth, Boardman

Remembering brighter days for old St. Joe’s hospital in Warren

A depressing scene exists on Tod Avenue in Warren: The remains of old St. Joseph Riverside Hospital. When I go to the VA Clinic on Tod Avenue which once housed the hospital’s laundry, I slowly drive past the once busy building and my feelings become depressed, and sadness descends on me as I now view the dilapidated structure.

I was employed there from 1980 to 1983 as a carpenter. We were called, “Construction Maintenance,” and we had our own woodshop next to the morgue. What a chilling thought, then and even now.

Project 80 had just started. A new wing was being built on the south side of the hospital. Our duty was to blend the old part of the hospital with the new wing. We eight men would cut doorways through cement block walls, pour concrete steps, and walks around the hospital. We built new offices by remodeling old rooms. We always had plenty of work to do every day.

Good pay with benefits made the job enjoyable. We ate good in the cafeteria with its reasonable prices. At Christmas time, we would go caroling down the halls. For Halloween, we put on a show for the rest of the hospital workers in the cafeteria: Frankenstein on drywall stilts and ET riding on a bicycle’s handlebar moving past the large windows facing the river.

In winter, we would leave the parking lot Friday to go snow skiing. A van full of happy workers became a working family. We sometimes were asked to aid patients who needed assistance. A lot of serious hard-working people worked there every day around the clock.

We were overseen by the Humility of Mary Sisters who were dedicated to helping sick people. We, in construction maintenance, tried to bring laughter to others in our own individual way, and I feel we succeeded in our efforts.

To me, Tod Avenue has its own abandoned ghost town: the cold ghostly remains of the old St. Joseph Hospital. The hospital has since relocated in Warren to enhance the community and its services.

Paul R. Lawson, McDonald

Fairness sought on death penalty and in The Vindicator’s editorial

Regarding your August 19 editorial, “Moratorium on executions not an indictment of death penalty,” I agree that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction needs to find a better way to carry out executions. The track record of failed experiments with different combinations of drugs is an embarrassment to the state. And you are correct — taking our time to get it right is no reflection on the system as a whole.

However, we do have the benefit of the recent report from Ohio Supreme Court’s Joint Task Force on the Administration of Death Penalty, a nonpartisan panel of experts that picked apart and reviewed our entire capital-punishment system. It included legislators, prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges and law professors, and they were charged with this task after Ohio failed 93 percent of the time to meet standards for fairness established by the American Bar Association. Ohio needs to implement the 56 recommendations the Task Force made in order to bring a greater degree of fairness and accuracy to our system. After all, we do want it to be fair and accurate, right?

Also, in the future I would urge full disclosure of poll results. You quoted the February 2014 Quinnipiac poll which found that 68 percent of Ohioans support the death penalty, but you left something out. That same poll also asked Ohioans whether they prefer life imprisonment instead of death. In fact, given the alternatives, support for the death penalty is at 47 percent, and support for the alternatives tips the scales at 48 percent.

The death penalty is a real question for Ohioans. Is it too much to ask The Vindicator to be more forthcoming with a fair presentation of the facts?

Ed Knight, Youngstown

Valley is capital of rude driving

What is wrong with the drivers in Boardman (and this area in general)? They are rude, aggressive, impatient, distracted and worst of all, often do not follow traffic laws. Unfortunately, an increasing number of drivers run red lights, blow through stop signs, drift over the center line, tailgate, make turns with cellphones in their hands and seem to have forgotten what a turn signal is.

No one likes congestion and construction. Developers decided to commercialize every square inch of the Route 224 corridor, and laughed all the way to the bank. Now residents must deal with the results. We are all in this together. Calm down. Consider others. Those aggressive drivers wouldn’t last a day in “real” rush-hour traffic, as in the Washington, D.C., area. I lived there for 10 years. There are thousands of cars on the roads every day, and they drive more carefully than Ohioans.

Elizabeth Nagy, Poland