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Riders and nonriders alike should vote for WRTA levy


Published: Sun, November 5, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m.

Riders and nonriders alike should vote for WRTA levy

When I was a young child in the 1960s, my mother and I would sometimes ride the city bus to and from downtown Youngstown if my dad could not drive us (my mom did not drive). It was a fun excursion, usually ending with a trip to the Strouss’ bakery for a box of delicious doughnuts before boarding the bus back to our neighborhood.

Throughout my adult life, I have been fortunate to always have a car available to drive. When I am in downtown Youngstown and even in the townships of Austintown, Boardman and Liberty, I see people of all ages using the Western Reserve Transit Authority bus transportation for work, shopping, school, etc.

At the physician’s office where I work, we have patients who use the WRTA buses to get to and from appointments. All of these people depend on the WRTA buses to get them to their destination, whereas I can get in my car anytime … to go anywhere.

Think about how your life would be without a car.

I am usually critical of how and where the state and federal tax dollars that are taken out of my paycheck are spent. However, I have no problem with my tax dollars funding a service that truly helps others, even though I don’t personally use the WRTA bus system.

I hope this letter convinces you to vote for the WRTA levy renewal (Issue 4) on Tuesday as a way to support many people in the Youngstown metro area who don’t have their own vehicles and truly need the WRTA services in their daily lives.

Catherine V. Wirtz, Canfield

Ohioans, just say no to state Issue 2 on drug costs

A great deal of time and money are being spent by both sides of state Issue 2. I just read Issue 2’s full text, and I wonder what all the fuss is about and why a new law is necessary in any case.

Issue 2 creates a law that in its essence states that neither the state nor third parties acting on behalf of the state will purchase prescription drugs at a net cost greater that the cost paid by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That’s it. The new law doesn’t attempt to compel drug companies to sell any drug at that price and for good reason.

The state can simply amend its Terms and Conditions of Purchase to include a statement incorporating the appropriate language. No new law is required. Any vendor accepting the purchase order therefore agrees to the included Terms and Conditions and is obligated to abide by them. It’s a contract. This is standard operating procedure in private business.

If the vendor doesn’t accept the terms, then the purchase order isn’t accepted. Both parties are free to negotiate new terms. This is exactly what will happen if a drug company or anyone else refuses to sell the drug at the VA price.

I have other objections to Issue 2 including the Findings and Declarations generally. However, my main objection is the Legal Defense provision. I see no reason why the persons circulating the petition proposing the act have a personal and direct stake in defending the act in court. It’s a state law. The state defends its laws. This provision is an open door to litigation, and the state indemnifies the persons circulating the petition by agreeing to foot the bill for legal fees. I wonder if the law’s real purpose is to create an annuity for the legal profession. This is reason enough to reject Issue 2.

Robert Voytilla, Hubbard

Do your part to recognize, honor veterans of military

Veterans Day is this Saturday. Its inception began when fighting ceased on the 11th hour of Nov. 11, 1918, in World War I, known as the “Great War” and regaled as the war to end all wars.

Armistice Day was declared by President Woodrow Wilson on Nov. 11, 1919. He stated, “...the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”

President Dwight Eisenhower issued on Nov. 8, 1954, the first “Veterans Day Proclamation,” which stated “... in order to ensure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, veteran organizations and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose – a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve at home and abroad and sacrifice so much for the common good.”

America has seen many challenges of war since 1918, such as defeating the Nazis and Japanese in World War II and sending troops to protect democracy in Korea, VietNam and throughout the world to give a voice to the voiceless and persecuted.

Our brave men and women, along with their families, have stationed both within and outside the American borders serving heroically and helping others, often giving the ultimate sacrifice.

On this Veterans Day, please honor these sacrifices by extending your heart and hand and thanking veterans and their family for all their efforts to keep us all safe. Freedom is a full-time job and our service members never get a day off, even on Veterans Day.

To all our veterans, please join me to say, “Thank you for your service, you are so appreciated”.

Karen Shesko, Lake Milton

Karen Shesko is public relations chairwoman for the American Legion Auxiliary 737 in Lake Milton.

No surprise in tax bill’s chief aim of helping rich

No surprise, the GOP’s tax plan benefits the ultra wealthy and corporations while the middle class pays for their disservice, and the poor get nothing.

Mr. Trump has drained the swamp by exactly the amount of fetid water he displaced by cannon balling into it. He has never headed a publicly held company, just privately funded outfits for his and his family members’ benefit, financed by a gift from his father and without fear of a governing board or outraged shareholders.

In his considerable wake he has left a trail of bankruptcies, stiffed suppliers and laborers, and unemployed and pensionless would-be employees. It has cost him nothing save court fees that are far outweighed by the benefits of using his failures as tax dodges.

Now, Republicans cowering for fear of crossing Trump’s rabid base have given him his best dodge ever and labeled it a tax reform and jobs bill. When will his base realize that unless their net worth stretches well into the billions, they will be gasping for air on the orange mud banks of the swamp with everyone else?

Those who believe cutting corporate tax rates will result in immediate jobs and business growth should think again. When the Supreme Court, mistakenly I believe, recognized corporations as having the same rights as individuals to support political parties, they failed to note that “individuals” always act in their own best interest. So do corporations.

However, corporations have billions of dollars, hundreds of lawyers, thousands of accountants, lobbyists and PR firms to wring what they want from a Congress that runs on money, arcane legalisms, mind-numbing tax calculations and “optics” to cover its tracks.

Finally, the GOP’s bill is no surprise given the administration’s willingness to employ economic advisers like Wall Street billionaire Gary Cohn who waxed enthusiastic about the potential for a middle-class tax break of up to $1,000. Why, you could “renovate your kitchen or buy a new car,” Cohn said in a press briefing. Really, Mr. Cohn, really?

It is not enough just to vote out the batch of three-card Monty-dealing rascals passing for federal government. Their scam and its financiers must be laid bare, their cards taken away and their cardboard game tables burnt.

Jim Cartwright, Canfield


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