The Blade’s recent editorial calling for improved TARTA service was right on point. (April 4, “Follow Detroit’s transit map”).
Improving service is an issue that has befuddled TARTA since its inception. Various changes have been made over time based on ridership surveys, some of which were conducted by outside consultants. However, route adjustments alone, without an increase in frequency of service, will likely not improve patronage.
Past cuts in service have been made because the current financing mechanism — property tax — has proved to be insufficient. Without an influx of additional capital, which could be provided by replacing the property tax with a sales tax, new and more frequent service will not be affordable.
Currently the majority of riders are Toledo Public School students or the economically challenged and disabled who have no other choice. To get the so-called “choice rider” out of his automobile and onto public transit, TARTA has to position itself as a viable alternative. This is exceedingly tough to do in a community where gasoline is comparatively cheap, where car insurance rates are among the lowest in the nation, where parking is relatively inexpensive or free, and where traffic congestion is the exception, not the rule.
What TARTA could offer, were money available to redesign and increase frequency of service, is a worry-free and comfortable ride to work, to play, to shop, to appointments, or to almost anywhere in the metro area. Then perhaps more people would choose to leave their cars at home and let TARTA do the driving. Accomplish this and then maybe consider more pie-in-the sky ideas like light rail in the future.
JOHN M. STEWART
Reconsider passing FOSTA
I have written to Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and Sens. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) to ask them to reconsider their stance on the recently passed Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), and reverse this legislation.
As good as the intentions of the bill were, this legislation actually puts women and girls trapped in trafficking, as well as self-identified sex workers, in grave danger. Shutting down websites will push the sex trade further underground and onto the streets. Extensive studies have shown this to be the most dangerous area for sex workers, and it increases the chances of people being harmed or even killed. This legislation will also impede law enforcement from not only finding missing girls, but also bringing traffickers to justice.
I have urged Ohio’s federal representatives to listen to the experts, listen to the parents who have found their daughters through these websites and were able to rescue them, look at the research, and work to reverse the passage of this law. Their intentions are great, but unfortunately this law will lead to greater harm and death to those who will have no outlet to be found.
I truly beg Mr. Latta, Mr. Portman, and Mr. Brown to reconsider their positions on this legislation.
Legacy lives on in military
Congrats to Jay Skebba for the article on the rescue of downed airmen during WWII (April 7, “Toledoan honored for massive WWII rescue”). Debi Jibilian has every right to be extremely proud of her dad’s bravery and heroism for the part he played in Operation Halyard.
I recently read The Forgotten 500 by Gregory Freeman, which has many references to OSS agent Art Jibilian. It is one of those “can’t put down” books that captures the true spirit of our military. It was truly inspirational to read of the resourcefulness and ingenuity implemented by the OSS.
Three points not mentioned in the article include the following: First, the Yugoslav farmer peasants had meager food supplies but shared what little they had while hiding the airmen. Without their assistance, the airmen would not have survived. Second, the airmen (some injured and famished) worked side by side with the farmers to fashion the airstrip, barely big enough for C-47’s, out of a farm field with little more than bare hands. Lastly, a major reason for not publicizing the operation for many years was to keep intelligence techniques used by the OSS secret for the rest of the war and in the early years of the Cold War and to not expose the peasant farmers for their heroic deeds.
I have a grandson in the Army who is a medevac helicopter pilot. Mr. Jibilian can rest in peace knowing the spirit of rescuing those in harm’s way is alive and well in today’s military.
GM worker says more to the story
In response to the recent racial incidents at General Motors Powertrain/Toledo Transmission, I would like to state some facts (April 5, “State says GM failed to stop racial incidents”).
The incidents brought to the media by Ray Wood happened under his watch as president of United Auto Workers 14. Why didn’t he bring it to the media when it was happening under his watch? He had the chance. Most people feel because he lost the election as our president. Sour grapes? Kind of looks that way.
There is no denying the incidents happened. After they occured, the leadership at GM brought everybody into the meeting room and told us what happened. Anybody caught doing things such as this would be terminated. To my knowledge the guilty party was never caught.
Most people here believe these incidents are nothing more than copy cats who are trying to get a reaction, which they did. Should they be investigated? Yes. Do we have a racial hostile environment? A vast majority would say no. Most people here believe the recent attention has created an even worse environment.
Why did Mr. Wood wait until after he was out of office to raise these concerns? Draw your own conclusion.
Editor’s note: Neil Getz is a employee for General Motors.
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