How can you oppose policies you voted in?
First, I want to state that I fully agree with the Christian ministers’ and Catholic bishops’ opposition to the recent Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring all employers to provide free coverage for contraceptive and sterilization services. I personally believe the present White House administration wants all religious services to schools, hospitals and nursing homes eliminated. This HHS mandate is only the beginning of a power struggle to curtail religious institutions to the pulpit only.
However, I do see one major element that the Christian ministers and Catholic bishops may have overlooked. Namely, the majority of Christians and Catholics in America voted for President Obama and his policies. Even the University of Notre Dame provided a platform for President Obama to state his questionable views to Americans. So how do the religious leaders plan to get their congregations to protest the man they voted in? Even more alarming are the latest polls that show these same Christians and Catholics are poised to re-elect Obama.
So what is the overall game plan? Elect President Obama, then protest his present policies, followed by re-electing Obama and then protest his future policies over the years?
Again, I support all efforts to get a reversal to the present HHS mandate. I also feel the Christian ministers and Catholic bishops need a massive indoctrination to the dangers to our freedoms as presented by the present White House administration.
Show common sense on exotic animals
The Ohio Senate voted 30-1 recently in favor of restrictions on the private ownership of potentially dangerous exotic animals. This is a positive first step toward bringing common sense and respect for all creatures back to the table in Ohio and around the nation.
Many argue “bans” on private ownership will do nothing to prevent another incident like the one last October in Zanesville, Ohio, when 49 tigers, lions, bears and other animals had to be killed after their owner, Terry Thompson, allegedly released them, then committed suicide. Thompson was a convicted felon with a history of animal abuse charges, so it’s a tragedy no laws existed to prevent him from keeping such animals after even the first violation. This bill, when passed, will establish common-sense standards that will improve the lives of animals that remain in private hands and help reduce the risks they pose to the public. As a result of those who have rallied in favor of restrictions, people are learning that not every Jungle Jack we see on television is what you see is what you get. There is often much more to the story.
As Ohio’s legislation now moves to the House chamber, we hope it moves swiftly, without further dilution. We hope all who care about animal welfare and public safety will tell federal legislators to support H.R. 4122, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act that proposes to further restrict private ownership and breeding of big cats for profit and exploitation across the nation.
We urge you, greater Fort Wayne, to get behind these bills and to support our efforts locally to provide refuge to displaced, captive-raised exotic animals so they may enjoy peace and solitude for the rest of their lives. This week is just the beginning. We will be counting on you to help us and other “true” sanctuaries. Help us pick up the pieces for those animals sure to be displaced, ready for their second chances. Thank you for your support.
Lori Gagen, executive director Black Pine Animal Sanctuary
Air-conditioning is not frivolous
This letter is in response to a letter written the week of April 23 by Laura J. Smyser concerning air-conditioning costs for Fort Wayne Community Schools. Smyser used the word frivolous, stating that using taxpayers’ money for improving our city’s schools was frivolous spending. Do aging boilers, paint chipping from walls, snow blowing in from in-between bricks, and children and teachers so exhausted by the heat they can’t think seem frivolous? I don’t think so.
First, I’d like to point out the logical flaw and double standard in Smyser’s comments regarding temperatures in classrooms. She states it is detrimental for some students to be “too cold.” Yet, she believes that it is OK for some students to suffer temperatures of up to (sometimes exceeding) 100 degrees? Fans do not cool air, they only circulate it. Twenty-five to 30 active, energized little bodies in a concrete-lined, insulated classroom lacking air-conditioning generates a lot of heat. When temperatures reach 90 to 100 degrees outside, it can be 120 within. The fact there are no reports of heat exhaustion does not prove this is not an issue; it suggests that teachers are diligent in catering to students’ health and hydration needs even in adverse conditions. It most certainly does not prove that air-conditioning is frivolous or unnecessary.
Second, studies in administrative and classroom management theory throughout the last three decades have proved that a work environment’s air quality and temperature have a direct effect on motivation, focus and productivity, both in workplace and learning environments. Air-conditioning not only allows schools to regulate air temperature, they filter and improve the quality of the air itself.
Do I feel for Smyser with upcoming electric hikes and higher water rates? I am also a homeowner, so, yes, I do. However, we need to give our children the same learning environment and opportunities as Southwest Allen County Schools and Northwest Allen County Schools give their students and teachers. Even smaller surrounding communities have air-conditioning in their schools. Would hospitals go without air-conditioning? Would restaurants, shopping malls, fire stations or police stations? Why then would anyone expect our schools to go without it?
The old adage goes: “It takes a village to raise a child.” FWCS and officials of Fort Wayne are proving they are doing everything they can to maximize our students’ learning opportunities and environment. Every well-educated student is an investment in our future economy, and it is our job as a community to ensure we give them every chance to succeed. If we cannot work together as a community to support our youth, regardless of whether they are our children or not, how can we consider ourselves upstanding, contributing citizens of a civilized society. To suggest that students of any age continue to “learn” in a sweltering, stuffy environment, or find alternate, more “frugal” means of raising money is deliberately callous, under-informed and in poor taste.
City's current contract process dumbfounding
The recent news that there could be a new ordinance put in place to negotiate city contracts stopped me in my tracks. The article said the city would be required to get quotes from multiple firms then choose the best three and negotiate with them to determine the most cost-effective quote.
I couldn’t imagine what was new about this, so I read further and was dumbfounded to find that currently a contractor is chosen and then negotiations take place. In Purchasing 101, a first-year purchasing agent would see the flaw in that process. What kind of negotiations can possibly take place at that point?
The contractor doesn’t have to give an inch — he already has the job. I have to wonder how much money has been has been left on the table over the years that this flawed method of purchasing has been in practice. Perhaps the real issue is the term “political contributions.” Unfortunately, this all too often, is the determining factor, and a fair, unencumbered selection of vendors with the very best negotiated contract is only an ethical pipedream.
In 20-plus years in the world of purchasing, I have observed some very unusual techniques, but this one is close to the top of the list. A company concerned with profits would certainly not be able to operate this way. Apparently, government has the luxury of operating in a more relaxed manner.