Sunday, January 28, 2007

K-16 education -- a promise to our students and a promise to our future.

The linked September press release was a discussion of the value of a partnership between TPS and UT. It included an assessment of the great potential for Toledo if an educational program offered college scholarships to every qualified student graduating from TPS.

Today, the Blade reported on meetings being held between community leaders and UT “to explore whether the University of Toledo could help guide the academically and financially struggling Toledo Public Schools.”

The announcement of these meetings comes within a few weeks of the announcement that UT was offering Michigan residents 120 - $12,000 scholarships which may help increase UT enrollment. Could UT offer such scholarships to TPS graduates?

What is the potential of a K-16 program? It would
* Move Toledo into the forefront of US. Cities by creating a comprehensive educational program for our children from K through 16, as higher education is no longer an option but a necessity. Manufacturing jobs will continue to decline so our students must achieve higher education if they want to be employable.
* Increase enrollment in TPS.
* Offer equal opportunity for a college education at UT to every qualified student who graduates from TPS.
* Increase enrollment in UT.
* Encourage TPS teachers and administrators to reside in Toledo and have their children attend TPS.
* Create a vibrant, progressive community through higher education of our children. This is a catalyst to economic development.
* Increase population in Toledo.
* Increase tax revenue base.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Missing Ellen Grachek

What a loss for Toledo!! Ellen Grachek, a responsible, intelligent member of city council with a realistic, analytical view of issues chooses to leave rather than do fundraising.

I understand her dilemma as I begin campaigning for council. It would be refreshing for Toledo residents if Ellen were successfully passed legislation which would limit the spending on Council and other local races.

In addition to candidate spending, any legislation must include amounts spent on behalf of candidates by outside organizations such as PACS. These expenditures are not included in candidate’s financial reports, so it would be necessary to include these expenditures as well.

It’s also time to put out the call to the media to provide unbiased, equal and proportionate coverage for all candidates so voters can make formed decisions based on facts rather than sound bites, candidate created ads and name recognition. This would be revolutionary in the world of politics.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Mind of Her Own?

I happened to listen to about 10 minutes of the conversation between Frank Szollosi and Fred LeFevre on 1370 as I was driving to work which took place the day after the Council vote on the President of Council. Much to my amazement, Frank bluntly stated that Mark Sobczak had done an excellent job of pulling Wilma Brown over to his view. Why do men presume that women of authority who don’t agree with them must have received divine guidance from another man? I assure you, Wilma Brown makes up her own mind and does not march to the drum of anyone else.

This was a ridiculous remark and indicative of the paranoia that exists today between the 2 fractured segments of the Democratic Party (or is 3 segments now, A-team; B-Team; Wilkowski-Team). Wilma stood her ground on the appointment of Phil Copeland and was sanctioned along with the rest for her vote. Wilma stood shoulder to shoulder with Frank and the other A-team Democrats during the Mayoral race but refused to demean anyone on either side. But now, those same A-teamers have turned their back on this same community leader, if the A-teamers want to berate the B-teamers for being mean and divisive, I think it is time they really look at their own conduct. They are not behaving any better. In essence, Frank is inferring that a Republican would be a better president of Council than a woman with 30 plus years of service to Toledo through Girl Scouts, School Board (president a number of time) and now City Council, a woman who votes her conscience regardless of the consequences. In essence, Frank is stating that Wilma is not capable of reaching her own conclusions nor capable of making good choices.

Council President, an Opportunity Lost

At the City Council meeting Tuesday, January 2, a motion to elect a new Council president was made. A majority yes vote was required to pass the motion so the floor could be opened to receive nominations. It was disappointing to have a Council of 8 Democrats and 4 Republicans kill the motion as a majority yes vote was not achieved. The reason given by Frank Szollosi was that the Democrats didn’t have their “act” together and therefore had no business electing a president. He further explained there was a previous meeting with some of the Democratic Council members to discuss the position but a consensus was not reached. It was a choice between Frank and Wilma Brown. I was so hopeful Wilma would be selected. She has had a career spanning over 40 years which has required diplomacy, negotiation and dialogue. If there is anything we need right now, it is diplomacy, negotiation and dialogue between the split Democrats, the Administration and the Republican representatives. By killing the motion, there was no chance of electing a Democrat as president of Council and it indicates a belief by some of the Democrats that a Republican president would be better than a qualified Democrat, Wilma Brown. I would be concerned with Frank at the helm; even further division would yield conflict between the Administration and Council which would hinder progress in Toledo. Frank would be in a no win position as President as any action he would take would be deemed anti Administration or buckling to the Administration. At this juncture, we need at least a fighting chance of having an empowered Council. Frank has a future in this city, but this is not the time for him to lead as Council president and I doubt he really believes he would have any success in working with the Administration.