I write to comment on the July 21 article concerning the Westerville Board of Education's considering a variety of funding and cost-cutting approaches.

To the editor:

I write to comment on the July 21 article concerning the Westerville Board of Education's considering a variety of funding and cost-cutting approaches.

I noticed one method under scrutiny is an income tax. This caught my eye because I recalled attending a board meeting a couple of years ago, during which I suggested that very thing. I was tired of retirees like me forever being asked to shoulder the burden of increased real estate taxes, when our ability to pay was stagnated.

I was told by the board that an income tax was an unlikely source of funding because surrounding school districts had to agree or have similar funding. Has this requirement been negated by a new law or was this merely a convenient dismissal? In view of the recent opinions of certain citizens groups, I suspect that they may be right when expressing the opinion that the board isn't paying attention.

To carry this message a bit further, I believe that we should not be considering alternative funding now, but cutting back. I wonder if the employees of the district wouldn't follow the lead of other districts and agree to reducing salaries and benefits.

It has been my observation during years of a variety of volunteer efforts in several of the district elementary schools, that most teachers and staff are dedicated people. Can the district as a whole agree that the time for moderation between quality and cost has come?

Don Denton


Public employees
make 'sacrifices'

To the editor:

A letter in ThisWeek Westerville published July 21 typifies the misleading anti-public employee propaganda being promulgated by various anti-government groups and individuals of late.

The writer, Roderick Clay of Westerville, begins with the assertion that public union employee compensation (wages, benefits and perks) is out of line with that of non-government employees. As in every other attack on public employees I've seen, absolutely no evidence is offered to support this claim. In fact I have seen numerous studies comparing private and public sector compensation, and none has found a significant disparity.

Then Clay proceeds to claim that public employees have not suffered along with their private-sector counterparts, who he says "have lost their jobs," or "had wages, benefits, and hours cut."

Does Clay not know that many thousands of Ohio public employees have lost their jobs or had their wages, benefits and hours cut?

For example, in early 2009, state of Ohio employee unions agreed - through collective bargaining - to a two-year pay freeze, 10 unpaid furlough days per year and no personal leave accrual.

Similar sacrifices, including paying a higher share of healthcare costs, have been made by local government employees across the state. What comparable sacrifices have been made by employees of Chase Bank, the Limited or other large employers in the area? Critics of public employees never tell us this.

There has always been an element in America that has opposed workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively.

Today's right-wing assault on public employees, much of it bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and exemplified by Senate Bill 5, is just the latest chapter in the story.

This November, we the electorate will have the opportunity to inform the anti-government, anti-public employee movement that we appreciate the benefits of our government - our schools, libraries, police and fire protection, highways, a safety net for those in need, and the dedicated employees, our friends, neighbors and relatives, who work in state and local government. Vote to repeal S.B. 5.

Tom Severns


Combined efforts made
festival a success

To the editor:

Westerville residents, several city departments and local and area businesses rallied around the 38th annual Music & Arts Festival. The Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to coordinate and offer a quality Music and Fine Arts Festival for all to enjoy.

We are blessed with so many members that donate time, financial and in-kind resources to plan the festival. It is a way for chamber members to say "thank you" to the community for its support of their businesses.

"Welcome to Westerville, home of one of the finest outdoor juried arts and crafts festivals in central Ohio and possibly in Ohio."

This was a proud comment relayed from chamber staff, board members and many volunteers throughout the course of the planning process and festival weekend.

Our community takes a very active interest in the festival. The volunteer efforts at the event are crucial and are the lifeblood of the festival. It is because of these volunteers that we receive comments from exhibitors that the festival is "one of the best run festivals" and has "some of the most helpful people assisting with the event."

We are most appreciative to the city parks and recreation department, Senior Citizen Center, Fire/EMS, electric and water departments. This Music & Arts Festival is an ideal example of how government, area business community and the general public can work together to showcase our community.

The Westerville City Schools District, Roy Lawson of Trimble Insurance, Laura Stimmel of Delaware County Bank, and S&M Rent-A-Space all are involved in assisting the chamber with the logistics of the festival. It is a model of which to be proud, demonstrating how several key service entities and businesses can come together to support a large event.

Organizations that made significant financial and in-kind contributions as event sponsors are; AAA-Ohio Auto Club, Asset Management Consultants Inc., Associated Insurance Agencies, Chase, Nationwide Children's Hospital Westerville Close to Home Center, CME Federal Credit Union, Feridean Commons Senior Housing, Fred Astaire, Human Resource Services, Immediate Health Urgent Care Centers at Westar, Iron Pony Motorsports, KEMBA Financial Credit Union, Morgan's Treasure Custom Jewelry, Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital, Classic Hits 103.9, OhioHealth Westerville Medical Campus, Roush Honda, the Village of Westerville Retirement Center, S & M Rent-A-Space, Westerville News & Public Opinion (Suburban News Publication), Westerville Public Library, Otterbein University, Sam's Club and Kroger.

This year's festival chair, Bob Gibson, TRIAD Architects, and steering committee members Jason Bechtold, Jean Halpin, Jill Beck, Maggie Ellison, Jennifer Farris, Dr. Jan Fedorenko, Emily Hickman, Chief Bernie Ingles, Vincent Neal, Laura Stimmel and close to 75 other volunteers representing area businesses, are paramount to the festival. From artists' assistants, hosts and hostesses, set-up and tear-down to auction assistants, parking attendants and youth exhibit and silent auction sitters, there is a volunteer opportunity for everyone.

The behind-the-scenes efforts and dedication of the chamber staff is greatly appreciated: Lindsay Brown, Erin Glaser, Mashawn Stroh and Sharon Anthony. On a personal note, I have been involved with the festival for 27 years in some capacity: a volunteer, member of the steering committee, festival chair and now honored to be part of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce staff. It is an event unique for a community of our size and I think brings a sense of pride to showcase the great partnerships and volunteer spirit in the city of Westerville.

Janet Tressler-Davis


Westerville Area

Chamber of Commerce