Letters to the Editor: March 25, 2018

Editorial unfairly blasted ex-Superintendent Webb

With regard to your recent editorial "Detractors will not kill Youngstown Plan," I agree with your points that the "urban district had hit rock bottom" and that "members of the school board displayed a disturbing lack of intellect-ual foresight to recognize that Youngstown's children were being sacrificed at the altar of special-interest agendas."

However, I disagree with your comment that "Dr. [Wendy] Webb was clearly unqualified to lead the urban school system, but she was popular because she gave in to the school board and the teachers union."

First, during her tenure, Superintendent Webb performed as well or better than her male counterparts. Neither of “her” male counterparts (from Zinser to Hathorn) achieved a 70 percent-plus graduation rate.

Second, I disagree with your statement that “she” gave in to the school board. Dr. Webb was the board’s employee and subject to their policies and directions. Remember, the board had only two employees that they interviewed, hired via contract and supervised under contract (the superintendent and treasurer). Dr. Webb had to operate under the terms of her contract with the board or be deemed insubordinate.

Third, I disagree with your statement that “she” gave in to the union. Under her contract, Dr. Webb had to abide by the contract negotiated by the board’s general counsel and authorized by a majority vote of the board.

“She” did not enjoy the powers of the current CEO. She was in no position to ignore the board, change the union contract and press on at will.

Even with the CEO’s powers and being “highly qualified”, the CEO is having trouble with the teachers union and board.

The NAACP opposes state takeovers at all levels. However, we must advocate for the human and civil rights of our children and work with whatever power structure is in place.

The education of our community’s children is our No. 1 priority.

The power structure is responsible for ensuring that our children receive a quality and equitable education by negotiating a teachers’ union contract that is performance- and outcome- based.

It is the responsibility of the families, community and NAACP to use all of its resources, power and authority to ensure those in the above power structure do their jobs better than they have done year-to-date.

  • George Freeman Jr., Youngstown

  • George Freeman is president of the Youngstown Branch of the NAACP.


Cities in Ohio need traffic-camera revenue

Last November, Repub- lican state Reps. Bill Seitz and Jim Butler introduced House Bill 410. The bill will require cities to file all traffic-camera cases in municipal court, while also reducing the amount of money issued to communities from the state’s Local Government Fund by the same amount that they collect in traffic camera revenue. It passed the Ohio House last week and now goes to the Senate.

In 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a similar bill, also sponsored by Rep. Seitz, was unconstitutional because it violated the self-governing powers granted to municipalities, known as home-rule authority.

The problem with HB 410 is that it serves to punish municipalities that had to seek out other revenue sources because of continuous cuts to their Local Government Fund allocation.

Over the last decade, Ohio counties and communities have lost nearly $1.2 billion in revenue from cuts to the Local Government Fund and estate tax.

Two local cities using the cameras, Youngstown and Girard, have lost a combined $2.2 million through these reductions. And the problem is not improving; our current state budget appropriates just $381.8 million to the fund, a full 45 percent decline since Gov. John Kasich took office.

The cuts have forced cities to tighten their fiscal belts, and when that is not enough to maintain vital services like police, fire, and road maintenance, communities have had to increase local taxes, place levies on the ballot, or come up with new revenue sources like speed cameras. Meanwhile, the state “rainy day” fund now holds over $2 billion.

Republican, Democrat, or independent, we can all agree that Ohio municipalities are hurting. Contact your elected officials and urge them to reject H.B. 410, and to tap into the “rainy day” fund instead. Ohio’s municipalities need some relief.

  • Brian Pearson, Youngstown


Anit-frackers' persistence should be admired by all

Concerning the March 18 Vindicator editorial about the local anti-frackers organization:

Members of the community should remember when gambling and alcohol were outlawed or when black people were oppressed and treated less than human. It took perseverance in bringing these issues to the ballot several times before change. I don’t like gambling but this is democracy.

Voters turning down ballots several times doesn’t mean “go away;” more people are being educated about the issues and sometimes it takes time before change.

There are voters who see long-range consequences and those who want jobs and the government that needs taxes to fund government work and operations. Each judges from its own experiences, education, environment, and other factors. That’s balance, folks, and the wonder of a democracy. If we are smart we will listen.

I respect the anti-frackers for seeing the long-term risks to clean water and using our democratic system to stop the threat. What they are doing is hard work most people wouldn’t do.

I saw the documentary “Gasland” and highly recommend everyone see it (rent it at the library).

Clean drinking water is not a renewable resource; it’s also a natural resource that more than half the world struggles to obtain because they have so little.

I have total empathy for people needing jobs but there’s no point in concerning ourselves with a viable future without clean drinking water. More valuable than riches it should be appreciated and must be protected.

  • Sandy Groza Hrabowy, Liberty


Canfield stifles students on school walkout day

My husband and I moved to Canfield five years ago and for the first time in five years, I am embarrassed to say I live in Canfield.

I do not have young children or children in the Canfield schools, but what a poor showing from the Canfield schools according to the recent Vindicator article in reference to the nationwide school walkout.

What great unification was shown in the Campbell, Hubbard and Lordstown schools. Even the Campbell community rallied around the students in support.

According to the Vindicator article about Canfield, Mr. Alex G. Geordan, superintendent of Canfield schools, sent a letter home to all parents stating that students could face disciplinary action if they walked out of school and so either they did not attend school that day or were prevented from walking out.

This national movement of students was formed because the adults are not preventing these school shootings. They are still happening so the students are speaking out and causing change. What a shame Mr. Geordan thinks so little of his students that he would rather lock them in school, which did not prevent the recent killings in Florida, rather than give them a voice to encourage change.

  • Mary Lou Dale, Canfield