Online-Only Tickets Cause Hardship
To the Editor:
I just recently found out that in order to attend an event at Anthony Wayne schools, you need to get your tickets online. As I don’t have any way of doing this, I think it is a terrible way of doing business. It not only causes hardship, it causes you to pay more because you are paying a processing fee to some company. If it’s going to cost more, I would rather pay it to the school. If it’s for a security purpose, that’s no better – someone, if they want to do damage, can get in by buying a ticket online just as easily as buying at the gate. To the school board or whoever made this choice, I would wish you would change the policy.
City Should Reposition Roadwork Sign
To the Editor:
The work on Conant Street and the bridge in the right lane is unnerving right now. A simple solution would be to move the roadwork sign back, closer to Perrysburg. As people come from Perrysburg, heading to the bridge, the right lane is closed, and traffic backs up in the left lane. The sign saying “Closed” or “Roadwork Ahead” is placed at the bridge and halfway across the bridge, but if they would just move it back a little, all those cars that fly down the right lane and try to merge into the already long line of traffic in the left lane might know better. The sign really should be as far back as the light/intersection at SR 25 and Front Street, so drivers see it and start merging then! Just seems like an easy and common-sense solution.
Please Return Conant Street To Drivers
To the Editor:
A new overhead sign should read, “Welcome to Upscale Maumee. Speed Limit Zero.” Making Conant Street traffic back up for blocks? Brilliant. Leaders wanted left turns. A simple fix would be to remove “No Left Turn” signs. When Conant Street was reduced to one lane from Perrysburg at West Boundary, there was a left-turn arrow. Then, Maumee “retimed” the traffic signals and eliminated the left-turn arrow. Brilliant. Soon, a bicycle path along the Anthony Wayne Trail will be the quickest way through Maumee. Maybe the new divider at Harrison Street could have a buffet with a salad bar. There is plenty of time to choose while being stuck in “upscale” traffic.
Rib Off Was Great, Traffic Was Not
To the Editor:
I try not to complain, but after going to this year’s annual Rib Off, which was great – I try to go every year – I waited for 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot after the musical event on Friday. That was sitting there, not even moving yet.
From what we could tell, there was no one directing traffic onto Key Street.
They could have some people turning right only, which would have had the traffic going a lot faster. Also, there was no back exit onto Michigan. Could that have been another option? Maybe some ideas for next year.
Conant Street Property Deserves Our Attention
To the Editor:
In the July 28, 2022 edition of The Mirror, a Letter to the Editor titled “Revisit Uptown Greenspace Proposal” took me by surprise. In 2014, the idea for a park was brought to the city by a group of citizens. Unfortunately, the proposal, while approved, never moved forward. Four years later, in 2018, commerce became another option. Lacking a Master Plan, having land use restrictions and the prior plan of a park never realized, the land was sold as an addition to our uptown commerce district. I remember asking if a small remembrance “corner park” could be made as part of the final plans. I really did believe they would make that property shine. Unfortunately, we are at the four-year mark again without visible progress and the citizens are once again looking for action on that same beautiful piece of property in uptown. Before we start diving back into a conversation of “what,” we need to ask “why” and “how.” WHY is a prime piece of property in our beautiful uptown still sitting empty after all this time? Eight years of interested parties and years prior to that, the space still sits empty, still undeveloped. Years of conversation and controversy only for an entire uptown revitalization project to happen around it; its fate still hanging in the balance. If a group of citizens was able to finance a park project and it was approved, WHY wasn’t it ever realized? If a piece of land was sold to a community-based business, WHY has the process taken so long? Much like other improvements in the community – utility billing upgrades and streaming meetings being a few – the plans never seem to make it to the finish line. If a greenspace proposal is viable, if commerce is still on the table, if another option comes to the table, HOW will we know this is the final conversation? HOW will we know the plan will be realized this time? The community deserves to move on from this conversation and to see thoughtful, forward-moving progress from its leadership.
City Urged To Improve Utility Billing
To the Editor:
I recently attended a Maumee City Council meeting on Monday, July 17. I had two objectives to present at the end of the meeting for community comments: 1.) The 3-percent senior discount on Maumee residents’ water bills. With the ongoing increases of gasoline, food prices and other living maintenance, this 3-percent discount is just not keeping up with all the expenses that are increasing. The recent increase of a minimum of 6,000 gallons of water per household on the water bill has caused my one-person household’s costs to climb from $89.00 per quarter to $159, which inevitably is charging me for water I do not use. Three percent of the $159 is $4.77 and is absolutely lame if you ask me, and I am sure if we asked the seniors of Maumee, they would agree as well, especially after White House government officials have repeatedly said how this is the time to start paying more attention regarding how to help our seniors and deal with mental health issues within our communities. I was rather hopeful that a percentage increase for seniors on the water bill would be taken into advisement. Council president James MacDonald made mention that the request would be reviewed. 2.) For the city of Maumee to review how nonfunctional its website is for customers making payments on their utility bills. The way the system is now, a person using this to pay their bill is not permitted to see past bills and past payments on the system. I petitioned council to consider a software that would allow the citizens to be able to do so. Again, I was rather hopeful to hear that the city has recognized that this is a problem, and I was reassured to hear that they already have something in the works to begin a change, per comment from Maumee Finance Director Jennifer Harkey.
Blocking Harrison Streets A Hasty Decision
To the Editor:
In response to the permanent blocking off of East and West Harrison streets, it is a hasty solution for a temporary problem. Why would someone turn illegally onto East Harrison when they could turn legally onto Broadway? Perhaps better signage that it is one way is needed. The biggest problem is the temporary closure of the left-hand turn lanes on Conant Street. I can understand making it illegal to turn left on West Harrison, but to block it off permanently would affect making right-hand turns going south on Conant. I, and others, use that route to go to the St. Joseph parking lot. Imagine the traffic on Allen Street trying to get into the Allen Street entrance. If necessary, block off East Harrison (permanently if necessary) and block off West Harrison temporarily until after the project is done and the left turn lanes are open. It would be nice if there were short turn arrows. As anyone who uses or crosses Conant Street knows, the intersections are often blocked. Many people are upset with the Conant Street project and making decisions without thought will not help. Save money by blocking West Harrison temporarily if necessary until the project is done. All the side streets are seeing more traffic. Should we close all of them?
Revisit Uptown Green Space Proposal
To the Editor:
Approximately 14 years ago, I spoke before city council about transforming the area along Conant Street between East Broadway and East Wayne streets into an open green space as an enhancement to the uptown Maumee area. Fast forward to 2014. Council received a proposal from the Quality of Life Committee to keep that area a green space. In the July 10, 2014, issue of The Mirror, there is an article stating, “Council voted unanimously to send the proposal to the Buildings and Lands Committee for further review.” This was in reference to the proposal submitted by the Quality of Life Committee. The proposal included benches, walkways a low decorative wall and a water feature. Students from BGSU submitted plans for this proposal and the Buehrer Group Architecture and Engineering firm helped with the finalizing of the preliminary plans. Eventually, the property was sold to Marc Monnette so he could build a market. Many years have passed since this sale and the end result is that a Monnette’s market will not be built on that site. That land still sits vacant. The city now potentially has another opportunity to develop this land into an open green space with enhancements such as benches, a fountain and flower gardens. Now, more than back in 2014, developing this land as a green space makes more sense. With the ongoing transformation along Conant Street from four lanes into a two-lane road in order to slow down traffic in the hopes that more people will notice businesses in Maumee and stop to wander the streets, creating a green space would be a complement to the current changes taking place. I am sure that residents and visitors to the city would enjoy a welcoming area in a well-designed green space to sit with their ice cream from either Jacky’s or the candy store. I ask that council once again consider making this parcel of land into a well-developed open green space. It would make the uptown area much more inviting and appealing to go along with the current changes being made to uptown. Keep the momentum going with a positive change to this parcel of land. I would bet that Marc Monnette would be more than willing to sell this land back to the city.
Criticism Seems Unfair To Monclova Trustees
To the Editor:
In a July 14 letter to the editor, Jeremy Rands criticized Monclova Township trustees for being unresponsive to residents during a July 5 township meeting.
This surprised me, as I have generally found our trustees to be receptive and respectful in my interactions with them. (That is not to say we haven’t had a dispute or two over what we believed to be in the best interest of our community).
A few days after reading Mr. Rands’ commentary in The Mirror, it resurfaced in my postal mailbox – this time sealed in a Monclova Road Baptist Church envelope postal-stamped “nonprofit organization.” It confused me. Was this mass mailing to residents coming from a local resident or had it become an official church matter?
Upon giving it a second reading, something else seemed a bit off-kilter. Pastor Rands noted that this was only the second trustee meeting he had ever attended. Was this small sample size enough for him to be calling into question our trustees’ overall fitness to serve?
In order to resolve some of these questions in my own mind, I went to the Monclova township website and listened to the archived audio of the July 5 meeting in its entirety.
These were my takeaways:
The township trustees and fire chief are currently engaged in the process of determining how to best provide 24/7 fire protection to township residents.
At the July 5 meeting, a trustee explained to residents that this matter did not appear on that night’s agenda due to the fact that our fire chief had just submitted his proposal for upgrades prior to the start of the meeting. Furthermore, additional time was needed to evaluate any forthcoming proposals from neighboring fire departments. This process is not at all unusual. In the past, Monclova Township decided to turn over policing to the sheriff’s department and refuse pickup to a private provider.
Residents were then encouraged to send emails to the trustees with their questions and concerns and given assurances this matter would be given top priority at the next scheduled township meeting, with plenty of time set aside for comments from the public. The archived audio from the July 18 township meeting indicates that is precisely what happened.
A number of July 5 meeting attendees nevertheless insisted they be given time to speak that evening. As tension on both sides escalated, the trustees relented and granted two minutes per person for public comment. Seventeen speakers came forward. When it was Mr. Rands’ turn, he engaged the trustees for 10 minutes.
In his letter, Mr. Rands alluded to “unhinged tyrants drunk with power,” who “silence the voices of citizens with intimidation.” Was this his objective assessment of our trustees’ behavior at the July 5 meeting? It surely wasn’t mine.
Elected Officials Must Serve The Citizenry
To the Editor:
“We are in a crisis.”
On July 5, I found myself sitting in the front row of a standing-room-only trustees’ meeting at the Administration Building in Monclova Township.
Rumors had been circulating for weeks about the trustees’ secret intentions to outsource the township’s fire services to Springfield Township’s fire services. It was because of these rumors the residents came out in large numbers to give the trustees an opportunity to address the issue and share the truth.
As the trustees walked into the crowded room, one of them nervously said, “This is going to be a short meeting tonight.” I had a suspicion, based on this comment, that she was not going to provide the necessary leadership to calm the rumors and concerns that the residents brought to this meeting.
As I sat through the meeting, I was taken aback by how condescending one trustee was to their fellow trustees. Their tone was sharp and aggressive. This trustee controlled every conversation. This was only the second trustee meeting I had ever attended, and I sat disappointed as I witnessed this behavior. I felt it was rude and unbecoming of a servant leader. Then, as quickly as the meeting began, it was over. When it came time on the agenda for public comments, the residents were told, “Because of the amount of people here tonight, we will not allow public comments.”
My suspicion was proven to be correct; she had no desire to hear from the residents that evening or to calm the concerns that they had. She was going to send them away, and it appeared she didn’t care.
As the residents quickly realized what was happening, they began to speak up. They were firmly told to be quiet, and the tension in the room became thick. I could not believe how the residents were being talked to and treated. I was in shock! It became very apparent the trustees felt that the residents were out of place and needed to be put back in check. The next hour was sad. I witnessed an out-of-control trustee attempt to silence the residents’ free speech, interrupt, roll her eyes, get red-faced and even speak down to her fellow trustees when they disagreed with her. She portrayed disdain and disrespect to the residents she was elected to serve.
Sadly, we are witnessing this same scenario played out in town hall meetings, school board meetings, city council meetings and trustee meetings across America. Some politicians who get a taste of power become drunk with it. They forget that they were elected to work for the people and to represent the people in their community. Whenever they feel challenged, they attack those who have questions or opposing views. They attempt to silence the voices of the citizens with intimidation. It is appalling to see those who should be servant leaders become so arrogant in how they treat the citizens that they were entrusted to serve.
As I pondered this disappointing event that took place within my township, I did what a leader should do. I sought solutions. This should never happen. Citizens should never be treated this way. Elected officials should be servant leaders, not unhinged tyrants. So, what can we do? Allow me to encourage every citizen with the following solutions.
First, let your face be seen at every meeting. We need to be present at the meetings each time to remind the elected officials whom they are elected to represent. Our democracy only works when the citizens stay informed and do not relinquish the community’s best interests to the self-serving interest of politicians. We need to call out unhealthy behavior. When our elected officials become drunk with power, we must be there to demand humility.
Too many meetings take place in empty rooms. Citizens must be engaged. We can no longer afford to have short-term memories. When elections come around, we must use the ballot box as a performance review of not just officials’ accomplishments, but their bad behavior as well. When tyrannical behavior is allowed to go unchecked, it will only get worse, and the community will eventually pay the price.
Secondly, we as residents should always be looking for leaders in our community and encourage them to run for public office. Far too often, elected officials get power hungry because they go unopposed during elections. They remain in power far too long. No incumbent should ever run for re-election unopposed. We do not need a law passed to put term limits in place for elected officials, we just simply need to actively engage leaders within our communities and support them to run against every incumbent, every election cycle. There should never be an easy path to re-election for any elected official.
I welcome your thoughts and would enjoy hearing your comments. I hope that we can connect, and together our voices can make change and bring solutions because “we are in a crisis.”
I can be reached at email@example.com.
Rev. Jeremy Rands