Not all Democrats in the Valley should be stereotyped as corrupt

Not all Democrats in the Valley should be stereotyped as corrupt

Last Sunday, Bertram de Souza wrote about the back and forth between local Democrats and Republicans over the Mahoning County Probate Court judgeship. The governor’s appointment to the bench of an independent who will oppose the Democratic nominee in November’s election is no doubt as political as Democratic Party Chairman David Betras’ criticizing the appointment.

Both sides are posturing in an attempt to win the seat in November. This is politics and is to be expected. Where I take exception is with the overall theme of the column and its repeated reference that all Democrats are corrupt and all that ails our Valley politically is due to dishonest Democratic officeholders. I take great offense to being labeled as dishonest merely by the fact I am a Democrat.

Indeed, many qualified, diligent and, yes, honest public officials serve our Valley who are Democrats. I work hard to operate my office in a manner that provides a high level of service to our customers, i.e. taxpayers, while facing myriad challenges not limited to inadequate budgets and staffing levels.

I want those who elected me to be proud they have done so. I am not the only Democratic public official who conducts himself in this manner. When mistakes are made in our offices, we own them and do our best to rectify and prevent recurrence.

Painting all Democrats with a broad brush of dishonesty is unfair to those of us who work hard to operate our offices ethically and with great pride. The intent of a public official to serve with or without dignity is a choice that comes from the heart and soul. Corruption and dishonesty are not proprietary to any one political party.

Daniel R. Yemma, Youngstown Daniel Yemma is Mahoning County treasurer.

Diocese sets good example for downsizing of public schools

Last Sunday’s Vindicator had a letter from two parents disgruntled with the Diocese of Youngstown for closing many Catholic elementary schools. Truth be told, the diocese should be commended for its efforts at consolidation. The public schools in our area would do well to follow its lead.

Each school and district requires administrators — superintendents, treasurers, principals, and supporting staff. These positions consume a lot of revenue as they are very highly compensated. Each dollar spent on administration is one less dollar spent on classroom instruction.

About eight years ago, the regional chamber proposed consolidating superintendents, treasurers and other administrative positions within adjoining school districts.

For example, combine Lowellville/ Poland/Springfield into a district and South Range/Canfield/Western Reserve into another district, and you eliminate four of six superintendents and treasurers. At over $100,000 for each position eliminated, you would approach approximately $1 million in annual savings.

Combine other administrative positions, and the money really begins to add up. That money could then be used to enhance classroom instruction. This has already been done in Wayne County in the Orrville/Rittman/Southeast districts.

There are too many schools and districts, be they private or public, for the declining student enrollment in our area. Understandably, nobody wants to see their school closed or their district consolidated. As a practical matter, however, that is precisely what must be done to balance expenditures against declining enrollment and tax revenues.

Rich Ferenchak, North Lima

Tree carving is hardly romantic

The wrong-headed romance of a tree vandal by Vindicator Editor Todd Franko in his June 22 column should not go unchallenged.

Tree carving permits easy access by insects and disease. A recent casualty of this activity was a magnificent European Beech on the lawn at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park.

Desecration of trees and of sandstone outcrops does not enrich our woodland walks any more than observing spray-painted graffiti in our urban environment.

Robert C. Noble, Poland

Let diocese keep its own money

I read with great interest a recent letter about closing of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Youngstown. I think it’s time our local diocese takes a stand for our local Catholic churches and schools and tell the Vatican that enough is enough.

We need to pressure our bishops to tell Rome that we need to cut our piece of the pie and keep the money in our own local diocese. The Vatican is loaded with wealth and perks such as their own shopping district, Vatican-owned extravagant hotels for cardinals to stay at, and enough gold and silver that is worth more than GM and Ford Motor Co. put together. Whatever happened to the vow of chastity and poverty?

Andrew Pappagallo, Mineral Ridge

Make fireworks legal in Ohio

The time has come to consider legislation in Ohio to allow for the sale and use of the full line of consumer fireworks. Consumer fireworks are safer today than they have ever been in the history of our country. John Adams, in a prophetic 1776 letter to his wife, Abigail, suggested that the Independence Day holiday “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forevermore.”

Today in America, we celebrate as John Adams suggested with the modern version of bonfires and illuminations — barbecues and fireworks. Nothing could be more patriotic, and nothing else quite suffices for the Fourth of July.

In 1994, the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory first began testing consumer fireworks at the factory level in China for compliance with U.S. manufacturing and performance standards. Since 1994, the use of fireworks in America has increased some 77 percent to 207.5 million pounds in 2012. Against this tremendous increase, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that fireworks-related injuries dropped more than 30 percent from 12,500 in 1994 to 8,700 in 2012.

Forty-six states now permit the sale and use of some level of consumer fireworks. In enacting the legislation, these states have recognized the improved safety record of consumer fireworks, and their sale can generate sorely needed revenue.

Ohio legislators have the power to change the fireworks laws and bring Ohio to parity with so many other states that permit the sale and use of the full line of consumer fireworks. This is long overdue. Write or e-mail your legislator and ask for the legalization of the full line of consumer fireworks.

William A. Weimer, Youngstown

William Weimer is vice president of Phantom Fireworks.

The many benefits of Ramadan

The month of July for many people means lots of sunshine and fun in the middle of summer. This year, for Muslims, it means Ramadan has come. If you have reached maturity, it is a full month from June 28 to the end of July, getting up at sunrise for a meal, and waiting until sunset to break the fast. Sure it’s tough, but there are many benefits of Ramadan.

It stimulates the pain that the poor who go hungry experience, which in turn promotes charity and empathy for the poor. The month is meant to enhance spirituality as well as provide physical benefits. These include detoxifying the body as well as preventing excessive eating. One of the biggest benefits is creating an atmosphere of abstaining from sins. The philosophy is, if you can stop yourself from eating and drinking for spirituality, then you gain self-control that helps avoid vices and sins.

Labeeb Ahmad, North Canton