Sunday, October 26, 2008

Insults Unwarranted

On Thursday afternoon, Nov. 23, as I was listening to the Brian Wilson radio show, he was describing the incident in which a McCain volunteer was attacked and had a “B” carved in her cheek. She claimed the assailant beat her after he saw the McCain sticker on her car bumper. As I listened, my thoughts were how awful that a young woman was beaten and that I could not imagine someone would be so demented as to do this because a person was a volunteer for a campaign. As it was later reported, the victim recanted her story.

However, to my shock, as the radio station was about to go to a commercial break, Brian Wilson made a comment… that’s those liberal Democrats for you. I was stunned, angry, enraged that he would categorize every liberal Democrat into a classification of radical, violent people who would do something so awful. He vilified a large segment of Americans.

Through the many Wilson broadcasts, I’ve listened to him frequently denigrate Democrats but believe at the same time he offers some worthwhile information, so I ignore the insults and demeaning comments. However, after this last comment, I believe it is time for Mr. Wilson to understand that I, along with many other residents of Toledo and his listening audience are Democrats and proud of that fact. We are no more or less worthy citizens than any other God fearing, hard working, law-abiding member of society. Mr. Wilson owes us an apology.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Gold Medal Hope

We were spellbound as we watched Michael Phelps swim to 8 gold medals during the Summer Olympics. This is an amazing fete which will take decades, if ever to equal or surpass. This was the accomplishment of a determined, driven, directed athlete. As Toledoans watch our politicians stumble from one project to another, we could only hope for a portion of the resolve of this winning athlete.

The politicians leap-frog from one pond to another with few issues resolved or completed and throughout the process, the partisanship is exclusionary and divisive creating waves which flood over the foundations of Toledo and wash away the little ripples of success we hope for.

The Erie Street Market has been a contentious issue for over 15 years with a round robin tag team of managers. The latest uproar was over the $100,000 renovation of the building to convert it to a concert venue. The cost was spread over numerous contracts, each under $10,000 to avoid City Council oversight. Council cried fowl, made numerous threats, received extensive media coverage but nothing happened. Council was out maneuvered by the Mayor, they were angry, but could do nothing as it was within the guidelines of the City Charter. Now, in retribution, they are attempting to remove the Verso Group, Rob Croak, from promoting events, but offers not alternatives. Where is the determination, drive and direction for success of Market.

Southwyck Mall has been high profile in Toledo for at least 10 years as the owners continued to let it decline year after year. Each year we hear the politicians profess they will revitalize Southwyck, what a waste of time, effort and money. They cannot revitalize Southwyck, it’s privately owned, not city property. Perhaps the pressure applied over the past couple years has pushed the owners to do something with their property, but even after multiple press conferences and much posturing, Toledo cannot revitalize property they do not own! So instead, the Mayor decided to renovate the “Reynolds Road corridor between Heatherdowns and Glendale. It looks ridiculous with the old fashioned light posts on only 2 blocks of highway. There is no synergy with the surrounding businesses, it’s like a fish out of water. The expenditure of our taxes on this project to nowhere is a waste of money, time and effort. There is determination and drive to do something, but no clearly defined direction.

Now we have a great opportunity in intermodal to expand our workforce in this area. From the media reports we watch with concern and hope that our leaders will work together to form an alliance with the railroads to expand intermodal in Toledo, But the first order of business was to fire Jim Hartung, President of the Port Authority, the second order of business is the replacement of Port Board members and the third order of business is the search for a new Port Board President. That puts the intermodal issue in fourth place, no ribbon, no prize. We need the determination, drive and direction of our leaders to move intermodal forward.

These are 3 examples of no clear direction from our political leaders. Without a united effort, we continue to flagellate in an abyss of misdirection. Each political faction has determination and drive but the fractured divisions of our political leaders paralyze our city, we are drowning. It’s time to end “politics as usual” and look at the parts of Toledo area as a whole. Difference of opinion is healthy and should create vibrant, progressive dialogue, not name calling, division and dissention. Determined, driven, directed leaders, working for the whole of Toledo gets gold medals.

Hamsters, Middle America and the Economy

Have you ever watched a hamster running in one of those wire wheels in it’s cage? The faster it runs, the faster the wheel spins. But no matter how fast that hamster runs, it never gets anywhere. Finally, exhausted, it quits running and gets out of the wheel. It does this day after day thinking it will get somewhere but always ends up in the same place.

That is how “middle America, main street America, blue collar workers”, feel today. We’re like the hamster spinning the wheel and the wheel keeps getting bigger. Our expectations aren’t high anymore, we aren’t even hoping to get ahead, we’d just like to break even, not continue falling behind. Wages are stagnant, worker benefits declining, pension plans disappearing, 401k’s at risk on the stock market, medical benefits escalating, home foreclosures increasing, the national debt growing as we continue spinning the wheel.

We’re worried, discouraged, exhausted; we’re falling behind as we watch record profits for corporations with huge executive pay packages. When companies fail, executives receive unjustified compensation packages. Senator Ben Nelson on 9/10/08, reported the fired CEO’s of Fannie Mae, Daniel Mudd, and of Freddie Mac, Richard Syron, “According to news reports, the two CEOs of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation who oversaw the firms in the time that led to a taxpayer-funded rescue and federal takeover could receive $24 million in pay, bonuses and benefits.” Middle America does understand this, we just keep spinning that wheel.

When Lehman filed bankruptcy, Senator McCain announced “the fundamentals of the economy are still strong” and we should appoint a “commission” to study the failing lending institutions. But time ran out in the course of days and now we are bailing out even more institutions at a cost of $700 billion dollars. Middle America does not believe the economy is fundamentally strong.

Businesses must be given tax breaks so they will generate businesses and create more jobs. However, workers must receive adequate pay to provide the purchase power to support the businesses created. Corporate America has become accustomed to a “spending” middle America. However, according to Diane Stafford, The Kansas City Star, 9/08, “The 15th annual report, Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay, criticizes five tax loopholes that Congress has looked at but not plugged. The authors note that the compensation of the S&P 500 CEOs in 2007 averaged 344 times the average U.S. worker’s pay. Thirty years ago, the ratio was about 35 to 1.” To quote Senator Obama, “enough is enough.” Middle America has run out of spending money.

When asked whether the Obama tax plan is a form of redistribution of wealth, Senator Biden said “yes it is, so what!” Tax regulations have always redistributed the wealth in this country. With the econony in distress, unemployment rising, wages dropping, it is obvious that the current wealth redistribution plan is not effective, we need change and we need it now. This election affords you the opportunity to select a President who will effect change to bolster the economy. As voters, assess carefully the information presented and just as carefully, vote. The hamster enjoys spinning that wheel, middle America does not.


Another court date... at this rate I'm going to run out of vacation days to attend!
If you have any spare time... stop by and watch democracy in action.

Pursuant to the telephonic conference call on this date,
the hearing regarding the issue of class certification is
scheduled for NOVEMBER 7, 2008 AT 3:00 P.M. All counsel