Much has happened in the last year. Unfortunately recent Court decisions have not been favorable. In the most simplest terms the issue in the case has changed from one of whether not the City of Akron and OP&F violated the State of Ohio coordination of benefits law, which the as you will all recall the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) had ruled in our favor, to one of jurisdiction. The jurisdictional issue is whether or not ODI even had the authority to make a ruling in the first place. The latest appellate Court decision says that it did not.
I have reviewed the decision of the Appellate Court and my feeling as well as that of the Assistant Attorney General representing ODI is that the legal reasoning was in error. To show how far off course this thing has gone the Court even ruled that Medical Mutual was not subject
Procedurally, I have filed a motion for reconsideration with the appellate court. In other words before this matter goes to a higher court for review, I am asking the Appellate Court to rethink its decision. In filing the motion I was required to point out specific errors of the Court, which I did. The City of Akron and OP&F have filed responses to my motion but both do nothing more than to restate the Appellate Court’s ruling. They do not attack my argument. In other words they simply told the Court good ruling, stick with it. Even if that does not assist in the motion for reconsideration it will assist in an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
If the Appellate Court denies the motion for reconsideration then there will be an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. The Supreme Court does not have to take the case but I am confident they will based on two factors. The first is that this is a case of first impression in the State of Ohio and secondly this decision has affected so many people not just the Akron Police and Fire Retirees. The way the decision is written no self-funded plan is subject to the jurisdiction of ODI.
That brings the medical plans of numerous corporations into play and this decision says no one has jurisdiction if they violate the law. The Supreme Court is not going to let total chaos consume the insurance industry.
To illustrate my point I received a phone call this week from a law firm in Cleveland that represents several hospitals this week offering assistance because they see the possible consequences of the decision.
I will continue to assist any of you in any way I can with individual issues regarding medical bills that have resulted from this issue. I won’t mention the name but I am filing suit on behalf of a retiree who was illegally hounded by creditors because of outstanding medical bills. Please let me know if you have any issues.
As always, if anybody has any questions you can contact me directly at 330-472-5622 or my email is email@example.com. As a point, I have had people call and tell me they are retirees but forget to leave me contact information. Please don’t forget to provide that.
Journal News Media Group, is reported to dwell at 3 Gate House Lane, Mamaroneck NY, 10543, and with a home or work telephone number of (914) 694-5204. Janet reportedly takes her email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have experienced several mass killings this year. What adds to the horror in this case is that it appears that the perpetrator intentionally targeted defenseless innocent children with an average age of seven. Already some are attempting to use the incident to further their own causes by trying to place blame on everything from the availability of fire arms, autism, or other developmental disorders, to America turning away from God. Some say that in the overall scheme of things it is not so bad considering there are over three hundred million people in the United States. Try telling that to anyone that has lost a loved one to violence of any type!
President Obama and many others have stated that we must take steps to eliminate the possibility of this type of mass killing ever happening again. While this may sound great on its surface, it is my belief that it is an impossible task. There are no laws either on the books or that can be implemented that can prevent another Sandy Hook from happening. If one thinks about it we already have a law that addresses the problem. That being the 6th Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill! Sandy Hook was obviously committed by a person that has great mental problems and cared not about man’s law or Gods Law. How else could anyone justify in their mind the killing of innocent children? Perhaps we all would be better to advocate improved mental health care availability.
I do believe we can take steps to prevent some of the gun related violence. This can be accomplished not by attempting to eliminate guns from our society but by waging a war on violence and not the farce like the war on drugs. A start would be the following:
Many will believe these four recommendations to be far too severe. It will not stop all gun related violence but I believe it would go a long way towards limiting much of the gun related violence in this country.
I am certain that there will be an effort by many to use this tragedy to further their own cause with little regard for the victims of Sandyhook or future victims. I believe most vocal will be those that call for the outright ban on firearms or at least severely limiting the sale and possession of firearms in America. It is a sad fact that Tim McVeigh managed to kill 168 people including nineteen under the age of six and injured close to seven hundred others without a firearm. Any of us can still rent a box truck and fill it with fertilizer and fuel!
As most of you know we have been waiting for a ruling from the Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus for over two years regarding our heath care law suit. Attached is a copy of my letter to the Ohio Supreme Court as requested for those of you that were unable to open the attachment I sent in the email dated December 5th 2012. You can download a fill in the blank form if you wish from http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/DisciplinarySys/odc/odcform.pdf
This letter is to serve as notification of my desire to file a grievance and express my displeasure with the failure of Judge John Bessey to rule on case numbers 10CV 11258, 10CV 11426, and 10CV 11513 in which the Ohio Bureau of Insurance issued an order on July 20, 2010 stating the City of Akron Ohio was in violation of the coordination of benefits provision of Ohio law regarding health care for Akron Police and Fire Retirees and their Survivors. I am a vice president of the Akron Police and Fire Retirees and Widows Association and a retired Sergeant.
The ruling was appealed and assigned to Judge John Bessey to render a decision on the appeal. In the more than two years since having had the case assigned to him, Judge Bessey has gone to great extremes attempting to avoid having to issue a decision on the appeal.
I realize that a decision either way will be very unpopular to someone. It will probably be subject to further review and/or appeal by one or more parties to the case. However, Judge Bessey is paid to render decisions that while perhaps unpopular will none the less withstand judicial review. I and my constituents find it most disturbing that he has failed to perform his duty or to take his job seriously.
I am aware that his term expires January of 2013. While that may be his method of avoiding rendering a decision, I find it appalling that he has avoided his responsibilities while continuing to receive his compensation for the past two years.
I expect after his retirement he will solicit assignments as a visiting Judge. I would hope that his failure to do that which he was paid to do, and his appearing to be without ethics while an active member of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court will receive due consideration prior to his receiving assignments as a visiting retired judge.
I was visiting with a friend the other day and he told me he had replaced his flag and did not know what to do with the old tattered one. I told him to give it to me and I would take care of it. Well it was wadded up and in a trash bag. While I thought it great that he displayed the flag I was disappointed in the casual disrespectful way that he had chosen to dispose of the old one. I then demonstrated how the flag should be folded and told him I would dispose of the old one properly.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Akron Police and Fire Retirees and Widows Association I would like to thank the retirees and their families for supporting our efforts to get the City of Akron, OP & F, and Medical Mutual of Ohio to follow the Ohio Bureau of Insurance (OBI) ordering compliance with the Ohio Revised Code regarding the coordination of health care benefits.
The OBI order was appealed and we are awaiting the court’s decision. Our attorney and the office of the Ohio Attorney General are confident that we will prevail in our efforts. I will endeavor to keep all of you posted as events develop.
On another note, I have had many readers contact me regarding my letters both in our newsletter and some area newspapers. In the past there were many complaints from members that our newsletter was a monthly source of political bashing. I wish to commend our editor, Jim Yocum, for the professional appearance and the content of our newsletter. One must remember that there are space limitations and Jim strives to keep the content relevant to ALL retirees. Remember our association is not limited to Akron PD retirees. We have members from agencies throughout the greater Akron area. Our readers consist of persons of all religious and all political groups. Jim strives to make our newsletter both informative as well as interesting to this diverse membership while trying to limit its size to two or three sheets of paper. A pat on the back to Jim for a job well done.
As you know, our newsletter, like most newspapers, is often limited as to what may be printed. In addition to my propensity to be somewhat verbose, some of my writings may be welcome to many readers while other letters may be found offensive to some and perhaps not appropriate for publishing in our newsletter.
I remind our readers that since 2009 I have been posting assorted letters and notes on my web site. Those postings are available for reading or printing by anyone. They may be viewed at http://wa8dbw.ifip.com/Police&Fire-Retirees.htm . If you have items you would like to see posted – send me an email and I will try and publish your letters on the site. It is normally updated several times each month.
Take care, stay healthy, and thanks for your understanding and support.
Email - email@example.com
Phone - 330-329-8754
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
From Aesop and Carl Sandburg
July 8, 2012
The Father and His Sons
A FATHER had a family of sons who were perpetually quarreling among themselves. When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he decided to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunion; and for this purpose he one day told them to bring him a bundle of sticks.
When they had done so, he placed the bundle into the hands of each of them in succession, and ordered them to break it in pieces. They tried with all their strength, and were not able to do it. He next opened the bundle, took the sticks separately, one by one, and again put them into his sons' hands, upon which they broke them easily.
He then addressed them in these words: "My sons, if you are of one mind, and unite to assist each other, you will be as this bundle, uninjured by all the attempts of your enemies; but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks."
A Father To His Son
by Carl Sandburg
A father sees his son nearing manhood. What shall he tell that son? 'Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.' And this might stand him for the storms and serve him for humdrum monotony and guide him among sudden betrayals and tighten him for slack moments. 'Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.' And this too might serve him. Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed. The growth of a frail flower in a path up has sometimes shattered and split a rock. A tough will counts. So does desire. So does a rich soft wanting. Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men and left them dead years before burial: the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs has twisted good enough men sometimes into dry thwarted worms. Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted. Tell him to be a fool every so often and to have no shame over having been a fool yet learning something out of every folly hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies thus arriving at intimate understanding of a world numbering many fools.
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself and above all tell himself no lies about himself whatever the white lies and protective fronts he may use against other people. Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong and the final decisions are made in silent rooms. Tell him to be different from other people if it comes natural and easy being different. Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives. Let him seek deep for where he is born natural. Then he may understand Shakespeare and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov, Michael Faraday and free imaginations bringing changes into a world resenting change. He will be lonely enough to have time for the work he knows as his own.
To the Editor:
How about a shout out for former police Sgt. Richard D. Reese and his guest column (June 23.) Bless you Reese for your wise words to the black youth of America. I can directly relate to Reese's ideas. I returned to Columbus, from three tours in Vietnam, in 1969, seeking a job. I had a degree in education with a double major in math and science. I landed a position at Champion Junior High School, in Columbus to teach both subjects to eighth graders. I was one of four white teachers out of 34 teachers. There were no white students. I found that three tours in Vietnam had almost prepared me for inner-city teaching.
Setting the right tone started on day one, and as I like to say, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." These were the days when teachers actually wore a coat and tie and could be identified from the students. I was in my room awaiting my first class and I had written my name on the chalkboard, "Repasky." The kids came in and took their seats and I began to introduce myself when one of the kids said, "Hey man, what's your first name?" I replied, "Well boy, that would be Mr. to you." I then put Mr. in front of my name on the chalkboard. The kid then said, "Don't call me boy," and I replied, "We have a deal, you don't call me man and I do not call you boy. We each have proper names and I will use yours as long as you use mine. As long as I am your teacher, you do not need my first name, that is for my friends to use and you are not my friends, you are my students. The other thing that I want you to know is that at this point in time, it is a "white world" out there, and my job is to teach you the same things the white kids are learning, so that you can be on a level playing field with them."
Of course, this was the time that corporal punishment could be used in school, and a visit to the assistant principal usually led to a swat with the paddle. What amazed me was that once the rules were laid out the kids were great most of the time, and rose to meet all my highest expectations.
Years later, when I was a Secret Service agent, I was walking in downtown Columbus one evening and I saw a couple of kids that I had in my science class. They stopped me and told me that my instruction and demanding attitude had changed their lives, and many went on to be teachers, lawyers and even mayors. I have not changed my thoughts on this subject, and I have often been ridiculed and called a racist, but Sgt. Reese, you and I are correct, sir.
Richard L. Repasky
The View From Here
Someone recently asked my thoughts on brotherhood or fraternity.
A fraternity or brotherhood at times brings to mind formal organizations where a group of people come together in an environment of companionship dedicated to the improvement of its members. For those of us in law enforcement it can mean organizations like FOP 7, the Akron Area Police Retirees and Widows Association, or the Police and Fire Retirees of the State of Ohio.
As I recall from having taken Latin in high school, the word fraternity comes from the Latin word frater or brother. Ok, I guess that appears reasonable but what is brotherhood or fraternity to you? For me it brings to mind that spirit of fellowship and goodwill and companionship that exists between friends.
I believe we all can think of others that without a doubt have that sense of brotherhood or fraternity towards others whether they are associated with law enforcement or just fellow members of the community. I know of some that have provided monetary aid, housing, food, encouragement, or sometimes simply that pat on the back or a smile when someone was in need. I believe smiles are gifts from God and they cost the giver nothing. One of my goals is to make someone laugh each day, Even if they are only making fun of me.
I remember the time when those of us in law enforcement did whatever was necessary to help a fellow officer. It mattered not whether the officer was a personal friend or what agency that person belonged to. If the person required assistance it was given. We overlooked petty disagreements and selfishness. We acted with warmth and equality toward one another regardless of our differences. I have seen officers provide the same aid to citizens in distress and then observed those same officers being accused of apathy or prejudice by ignorant members of the community, the media, and sad to say at times by a few fellow officers that may have had ulterior motives.
Sad to say, over the years there appears to have been an erosion of brotherhood or that fraternalism among law enforcement personnel. Recently there was a meeting of retired personnel and I was both pleased and disappointed by the people in attendance. I was pleased by the overall number of people present but disappointed in that there was only one female at the meeting and I was the only black at the meeting and those present were less than 5% of those retired. While some may have responsibilities that prevents attendance and perhaps financial limitations that limits the ability to pay annual dues ($5 for the local and $20 for the State) it is my belief that our sense of brotherhood or fraternity should not, or will not permit financial hardship to exclude a fellow retiree from membership.
Some may be too embarrassed to admit they are unable to pay dues. That can be remedied by simply calling our treasurer or me and explaining the circumstances. No one else need know and I believe the organization will do that which is necessary to assure membership to anyone desiring to participate in our organizations activities.
We meet the second Wednesday of each month at the FOP Lodge for lunch at 12 noon followed by a brief business session. We also have breakfast where we solve the world’s problems and swap tall tales and sometimes even a few lies at the Akron Family Restaurant on West Market Street on the first Wednesday of the month. I and some others, sometimes get together for breakfast or supper at other random days and times. Call or email if you are interested. Wives are welcome also.
That’s it for now. Stay healthy, and Be Your Brother’s Keeper.
Dick Reese 330-329-8754 firstname.lastname@example.org
The View From Over There
I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
I’ve also never been in Cognito. I here no one recognizes you there.
I have, however, been in sane. They don’t have an airport. You have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends and my work.
I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.
I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
I have been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.
Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.
One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible but life shows me I am not!
I have been in Deepshit many times. The older I get, the easier it is to get there, and it’s usually with the help of my friends – and You Know Who You Are!
Take care and remember to make someone smile each day.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Well here it is July and the warm temperatures are with us. I have been cultivating my tan and trying to enjoy life in general while contributing to the financial security of my many doctors!
I wish to remind each of you that our annual joint meeting of the Akron Area Police and Fire Retirees. The date is July 11th so mark the date on your calendar. As in the past it will be held at the Wolter Park home of FOP 7. Everyone is encouraged to attend. There will be a great lunch served again and an opportunity to share with fellow retirees.
I understand the kitchen crew is already hard at work preparing extra food because we all know that the fire retirees excel at eating. Char and I are looking forward to seeing each of you there. Come out and share the camaraderie with fellow retirees. Perhaps your showing up just may make someone’s day.
Speaking of showing up, I want to remind each of you that there is a monthly breakfast get together of some of us at the Akron Family Restaurant located at 250 West Market Street in Akron at about 8:30 am. Come and join us help to solve the problems of the world or just swap a few lies with the group! We have a great time and good food. Our server is a pleasure and if you have difficulty deciding what to eat, she will be happy to make a selection for you. Give your wife a break and come on out to breakfast and I’ll save a seat for you close to the potty room!
Everyone do your best to stay healthy and try to make someone smile each day even if they are only laughing at you!
Till next time.
Email - email@example.com
Phone - 330-329-8754
K of C newsletter July 2012
I would like to thank you and all the members of Council 14111 for their prayers and well wishes during my stay in AGMC last week. I was pretty sick and thanks to my wife Charmaine, my doctors, and the staff of AGMC I am home and continuing to recover.
That being said I want to take this opportunity to encourage each of our members to listen to your wives as they know us better than we know ourselves. I have not been feeling well since before the Measure Up program. In spite of feeling bad and getting progressively weaker I continued to convince myself that I was getting better.
There were numerous times when Charmaine said I needed to go to the hospital but I refused to do so. Finally on the morning of May 29th I agreed to see our family doctor. She performed several test and stated that I had to go to the hospital. Since our family doctor is female and Char being female I was out voted two to one!
The rest is history. They found me to be anemic and suffering from two infections. As I write this letter I am doing much better but still on two antibiotics. Bottom line is, thank God for your health and listen to your wife when she says you need to see the doctor.
Take care and may God bless each of you
A shortened version of the following letter was sent to several newspapers in the Akron area. Few dared to print it. Sad to say most thought it too radical to risk printing and upsetting their subscribers. As requested, the complete letter is posted here. Let me know what you think.
Young Black Americans
The View From Here
Let me begin by saying I am a retired Sergeant from the Akron Police Department and just happen to be a black man.
I was having a conversation on the radio with a fellow the other day and after a couple of exchanges (we are both Amateur Radio Operators)he said that he had gone to the data base and checked my call sign, WA8DBW and he was surprised to see from a photo I had posted that I was a black person. I replied “Oh! Why are you surprised?” I was told that I do not sound “Black.” I replied that I was aware that there was a stereotypical way that many thought a black person was supposed to sound however, I sounded like my parents and those people I grew up with.
Unlike many today, I had parents that required me to speak intelligently using proper diction, language etc. It is a disgrace that so many of today’s black youth, and in recent years, some of our white young people share the belief that it is “cool” to use the “ghetto language” like Who you be, Where he be stayin, He be my baby daddy, He be driven a hoopty, What it be like, and it just goes on and on and on. Many believe it demeaning to say yes sir or yes mam. I used to wonder where they learned to speak that way until I heard some of the mothers talk. It then became clear to me. The momma talked the same way. I don’t know about the dad because in most cases there is no father present and if momma had eight children then there probably was seven or eight “Baby Daddy’s”!
Many of these young people have pants worn so low that the crack of their buts are visible and the girls wear clothing so skimpy that little is left to the imagination. The same youngsters complain that the reason they are unemployed is because no one will hire them when they apply for a job. Many can hardly read or write nor speak properly. It brings to mind what my mother used to tell me and my four siblings. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” She also said that in most cases that first impression is generally the correct impression and that more often than not it is impossible to get that second chance and as a man I should be clean shaven and wear a necktie and suit coat when applying for any job! My dad was a tire builder at B.F. Goodrich and he always went to work having shaved and with neat and clean clothing.
Most intelligent people know that you need to speak English, look professional, and most of all, it is better to be over dressed than to look like a street thug when interviewing for a job. Wearing $600.00 sneakers just doesn’t get it! Why not spend $150.00 for decent clothing for that job interview? And use the balance to put food on the table or to further ones education. Why is there no such thing a common sense anymore? If not willing to do the common sense things, then save the money that would be spent for a few pair of “Air Jordan’s and assorted body piercings and purchase a ticket and go to any other (African) country where they believe the opportunity to be better.
Would these same people be comfortable in the hospital emergency room being treated by a doctor that asked “What be wrong wid chew” and pants that exposed their underwear or worse? I believe I am safe in saying, I think not!
Many attempt to place blame on the education system and say they did not have the education opportunities that others had. To that I say “Cow Poop!” I am a product of the City of Akron school system and I managed to graduate third out of a class of one hundred eighty four. My children are all graduates of the City of Norton schools and they all speak proper English and the fact that they are black was never found to be a disadvantage and if the truth be known at times it may have been an advantage.
This is in spite of the fact that some of my black co-workers said that I was making a mistake when I moved to Norton in 1977. I was told that as blacks we would never be accepted and my kids would be deprived of their African heritage. I responded that we were not Africans; we were simply Americans that just happened to be black. As a side note perhaps it’s time to remove that option (African American) from all forms that ask for race. After all they do not ask if one is Polish American, Irish American, Hispanic American or European American. Most simply ask if the person is White or Hispanic in addition to “Black American.” I was born here as were my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. We are all simply Americans.
I do have several friends that are from assorted African countries and while some speak with an accent they all speak proper English and dress professionally. They all hold good jobs that range from laborer, to education, to that of a Catholic Priest. Those that have American citizenship refer to themselves as Americans that happened to be born in another country and are both grateful and proud of now being Americans.
I believe it is long overdue for America’s blacks to stop making excuses for their lack of achievement. Today the opportunities are there and while one may have to work a bit harder than the next person, anyone can be successful in today’s society if willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Look and sound professional and with time, success will come, provided one makes the required sacrifices.
Richard D. Reese
The Akron Police & Fire Retirees and Widows Association
Our Path to Justice
It has been a long journey and we still have a ways to go. To bring you up to speed on our law suit and to show our solidarity we are having a meeting on Saturday June 23 at 11:00am at the Mogadore Baptist Church located at 3750 Albrecht Ave.
It is imperative that everyone show up for this meeting. It seems that our rank and file is dwindling down and some are losing hope that we will ever prevail. Now is not the time to succumb to discouragement. For the last two years everything has been going our way except for the time it has taken for us to reach a just conclusion to our efforts.
Time has been our worst enemy. We started this law suit back in the fall of 2003. At first we met with some harsh defeats. To the surprise of our opponents, we did not give up and run. Out of those defeats came the information we needed to pursue and win our case. And that is exactly what we are doing now.
Let me reiterate, the most recent rulings that have gone in our favor.
On July 20th 2010 the Superintendant of Insurance for the State of Ohio issued an order stating the following facts;
1. The City of Akron’s knowing failure to apply legally appropriate coordination of benefits provisions for its self-insured program constitutes a violation of the Ohio Revised Code and is therefore, deemed an unfair and deceptive practice as a matter of Law.
2. The City of Akron has violated the Ohio Revised Code by requiring retired police and firefighters to enroll in OP&F insurance coverage as a condition precedent to coverage under the City of Akron’s self-funded healthcare insurance plan.
3. The City of Akron’s refusal to properly coordinate benefits violates the Ohio Revised Code.
4. The City of Akron’s actions constitute unfair and deceptive acts under the Ohio Revised Code.
In her ruling the Superintendent of Insurance ordered:
1. That the City of Akron, Medical Mutual of Ohio, and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund immediately cease and desist from further violations of the Ohio Revised Code.
2. That the City of Akron immediately cease and desist from further violations of Ohio’s coordination of benefit laws and the City of Akron, Medical Mutual of Ohio, and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, coordinate benefits of their members pursuant to the terms of their plans consistent with Ohio Law.
3. That an accounting be made by the City of Akron, OP&F and MMO with the assistance of the Complainants to determine the amount of Complainant’s past healthcare claims subject to coordination.
4. That this order is directed to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas for further application in the case of Metcalfe, et al. vs. the City of Akron.
The City of Akron, OP&F and Medical Mutual of Ohio immediately filed an appeal in Franklin County Common Pleas Court as to whether the Superintendent of Insurance acted within the scope of her jurisdiction. The case was assigned to Judge J Bessey.
Judge Bessey did not rule on the legality of the Superintendent’s decision, everyone, including our attorney filed an appeal in the Tenth District Court of Appeals in Columbus to force Judge Bessey to make a determination on the legality of the ruling. The Appeals Court remanded the case back to Judge Bessey’s court so that he can finally rule on the legality of the Superintendent’s decision. Hopefully, a favorable decision from Judge Bessey will be forthcoming shortly.
The Superintendent of the Ohio Department of Insurance issued an Order to the City of Akron, OP&F and MMO to immediately cease and desist from their unfair and deceptive practice in the way they coordinate health benefits for all retired Police, Firefighters and their dependants. So in typical City of Akron arrogant fashion they have denied us our legal rights to benefits under our Collective Bargaining Agreements and the laws of the State of Ohio. The Ohio Bureau of Insurance has stated we are in the right and the law is on our side now and that is not likely to change.
Damages and Punitive Damages keep accumulating. Someday, the City of Akron, OP&F, MMO and United Health Care are going to face the consequences of their actions. If Judge Bessey rules in our favor they are going to have to reimburse us for all the monies that they forced us to pay illegally for our health care and it is our position that this issue is not negotiable. It may seem like a dream or a farfetched fairytale but someday it will become a reality. Again the law is clearly on our side and that is not likely to change.
It has been a long eight to nine year battle. But we are prevailing. And now it is time to come together once again and show our solidarity. We need to keep pressing forward. Sadly many of the retirees who were with us eight years ago have passed away. We owe the continuation of this battle to their families as well as to our future retirees as well as ourselves so that we all may enjoy the retirement that we were promised.
When we came on to this job we took an oath to protect and serve the Citizens of Akron. In return they promised us a wage that we could live on and the ability to provide benefits to our families. They said that they would take care of us in our golden years and provide us with the essential monetary benefits and health care to sustain a comfortable retirement. We kept our promise and served faithfully for the duration of our employment. The City reneged on their promise. They used us and threw us out with the trash.
Money, we need money! It has been two years since the executive board has come to you and asked you for money. This eight year battle has been a costly battle. Around 60% of the retirees have donated. Some have donated as much as $800.00 to sustain this fight. Now it appears it is finally going to pay-off. But we need the capital to bring this battle to a close.
Our attorney Larry Shenise has worked diligently for eight years at practically cost. He has devoted many hours that he has not billed us for. We have paid him a fraction of what the City has paid out in attorney fees to fight us.
As of today there are no outstanding bills. Everything is paid up to date. But we still have a few more battles to fight before we win what is due us. We still need your financial support along with your moral support to finally secure our benefits that we have justly earned.
To refill our coffers we are asking each of you to pay your dues of $25.00 and an additional assessment of $50.00 or whatever you can afford to secure your health benefits. We realize that these economic times are tough and many are suffering financial difficulty. However, just think of the extra money you will have if you no longer have to pay for health benefits. It is a small sacrifice now for what you have to gain.
We ask that you come to the meeting and pay your dues and donation at that time. You may also mail a check to our treasurer Joe Forgach at 346 Keith Ave. Akron OH 44313. Joe may be reached by phone at 330-869-6232. You may also make a direct deposit into the APFRWA Legal Fund by stopping in at either the Police or Fire Credit Union offices. Be sure to have the casher put your name and address on the receipt so Joe can give you credit for it. If you have an account at one of the credit unions you can just call them and have them transfer the monies from your account into the APFRWA Legal Fund checking account. Be sure to have them put your name on their receipt and mail you a copy
We need both your Financial and Moral Support. Please come to the meeting on June 23, 2012 and stand in solidarity with us.
If you have questions please contact:
Tim Metcalfe @ 330-929-2750 or Dick Reese @ 330-329-8754
2990 8th Street 1081 Sterling Oaks Drive
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221-1622 Wadsworth, Ohio 44281-8528
P.S. DO NOT, CANCEL YOUR OP&F INSURANCE AT THIS TIME! We will keep you informed and advise when it is safe to do so.
The View From Here
This month I am breaking from tradition and answering a question posed by one of my grandchildren. I was asked why we have four time zones in the United States.
I believe this is an interesting question that many of us have not given much thought over the years. Well time zones were established in November of 1883 as a result of the railroads crossing the country. This resulted in great confusion as to scheduling the arrival of the trains at various locations. This was due to each community setting it own time standard based on the sun. Standard practice was to use the town jeweler’s clock or the church steeple as the time standard for the city. This resulted in great discrepancies from city to city and across the nation.
Initially there was some resistance to the implementation of “Standard Time” but it soon became obvious that there were advantages for travel, communications etc. The use of “Standard Time” became U.S. law with the passage of the Standard Time Act (15 USC 264) in March of 1918. This also established Daylight Saving Time. As a side note I have yet to save any daylight as a result of this act!
The Act was intended to save electricity for seven months of the year, during World War I. Daylight saving time was repealed in 1919, but standard time in time zones remained in law, with the Interstate Commerce Commission or ICC having the authority over time zone boundaries. Daylight time became a local matter. It was re-established nationally during World War II and was observed until the end of the war.
During World War II Congress enacted the War Time Act on January 20, 1942. Year-round DST was reinstated in the United States on February 9, 1942, again as a wartime measure to conserve energy resources. This remained in effect until after the end of the war. The Amendment to the War Time Act enacted September 25, 1945, ended DST as of September 30, 1945. During this period, the official designation War Time was used for year-round DST. For example, Eastern War Time (EWT) would be the equivalent of Eastern Daylight Time during this period.
From 1945 to 1966, U.S. federal law did not address DST. States and localities were free to observe DST or not, and the predominant pattern was that the states and localities that did observe DST did so from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in September. In the mid-1950s, many states and localities in the northeastern United States began extending DST to the last Sunday in October. The absence of federal standardization resulted in a patchwork where some areas observed DST while adjacent areas did not, and it was not unheard of to have to reset a clock several times during a relatively short trip (e.g., bus drivers operating on West Virginia Route 2 between Moundsville and Steubenville Ohio had to reset their watches SEVEN times over 35 miles)[ In the middle 1960s the airline and other transportation industries lobbied for uniformity of Daylight dates in the United States. There was no standardization with regards to the start and ending dates. United Airlines, for example, had to publish 27 different timetable editions each year.
The U.S. federal Uniform Time Act became law on April 13, 1966 and it mandated that DST begin nationwide on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, effective in 1967. The act explicitly preempted all previously enacted state laws related to the beginning and ending of DST. Any state that wanted to be exempt from DST could do so by passing a state law, provided that it exempted the entire state, and Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, and Michigan chose to do so. However, Alaska, Indiana, and Michigan subsequently chose to observe DST. The law was amended in 1972 to permit states that straddle a time zone boundary to exempt the entire area of the state lying in one time zone. Indiana chose to exempt the portion of the state lying in the Eastern Time Zone; however, that exemption was eliminated in 2006 and the entire state of Indiana now observes DST, leaving Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation) and Hawaii as the only two states not to observe DST. On July 8, 1986, President Ronald Regan signed the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1986 into law that contained a daylight saving rider amending the starting date of DST to the first Sunday in April effective in 1987. DST continued to end on the last Sunday in October. While the states retain the capability to exempt themselves from DST, they are forbidden by the 1966 federal law from increasing a state's time spent on DST, unless the U.S. Congress does so for the entire nation.
In response to the 1973 energy crisis, DST in the United States began earlier in both 1974 and 1975, commencing on the first Sunday in January (January 6) in the former year and the last Sunday in February (February 23) in the latter. The extension of daylight saving time was not continued due to public opposition to late sunrise times during the winter months. In 1976, the United States reverted back to the schedule set in the Uniform Time Act.
Since DST moves sunrise one hour later by the clock, late sunrise times become a problem when DST is observed either too far before the vernal equinox or too far after the autumnal equinox. Because of this, the extension was greeted with criticism by those concerned for the safety of children who would have been forced to travel to school before sunrise, especially in the month of March. In addition, the airline industry was especially concerned if DST were to be extended through to the last Sunday in November, as this is very often the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This is one of the busiest travel days at American airports, and could have resulted in much havoc among travelers who forgot that the clocks were changing that day.
If the original proposal to extend DST through the last Sunday in November had been adopted, the entire United States, with the exception of the states that exempted themselves, would have experienced the latest sunrises of the year during the month of November, which would have approached the extremely late sunrise times when DST went into effect on January 6, 1974 due to the 1973 energy crisis..
Time zone boundaries have changed greatly since their original introduction and changes still occasionally occur. DOT issues press releases when these changes are made. Generally, time zone boundaries have tended to shift westward. Places on the eastern edge of a time zone can effectively move sunset an hour later (by the clock) by shifting to the time zone immediately to their east.
If they do so, the boundary of that zone is locally shifted to the west; the accumulation of such changes results in the long-term westward trend. The process is not inexorable, however, since the late sunrises experienced by such places during the winter may be regarded as too undesirable. Furthermore, under the law, the principal standard for deciding on a time zone change is the "convenience of commerce". Proposed time zone changes have been both approved and rejected based on this criterion, although most such proposals have been accepted.
Take care and stay health and safe.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Well it’s February and I am reminded that approximately 1 Billion Valentine’s day cards are exchanged each year, making the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers or at least a day for the expression of feelings of endearment to others.
The history of Valentine's Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl believed to have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Remember the expression “Be My Valentine”. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "christianize" celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. I have a friend in Dayton Ohio that opens his doors and sweeps his home out each February and he is only 68 years old!
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.
Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
Now my question is are you part of the remaining 15 percent? If not why not take a moment and purchase a card or (heaven forbid) make a card for your spouse or loved one if not married. He or she would certainly be surprised by this expression of endearment on your part. I will be doing something special for Charmaine. It is my sincere wish that you do the same for your loved one(s) and that they reciprocate.
That’s it for this month. Stay safe and see you at the retiree breakfast 8:30am the first Wednesday of the month at The Akron Family Restaurant on West Market in Akron.
That’s the View From Here
This is a letter I sent to all of Ohio’s major newspapers voicing my opinion on Issue 2 / SB5. Some papers published it – most did not. Some acknowledged receipt and again some did not. It was my desire to perhaps influence a few individuals to vote informed.
Issue 2 Facts
I just received another mailer urging me to vote YES on Issue 2. Like the others it was a litany of false statements. I will address some of them here.
Supporters say they only want government workers to pay 15% of their health care cost. While some agencies negotiated paid health care in lieu of pay increases. As a retired Akron Police Sergeant I pay 25% of my health care cost. For those with a wife and at least one child that is over $8,000.00 per year for health care.
Supporters say they only expect police to pay 10% of their pay towards our pension fund. While it is true that some agencies have that 10% paid by their employer, it is because they agreed to that as a benefit in lieu of pay raises at the urging of their city. As an Akron officer I paid 10% towards my pension. How many in the private sector place 10% of their pay in a 401 K or other retirement plan?
Government employees do not pay into Social Security. However, if a government worker works a second job he or she then must pay Social Security like everyone.
Government workers are penalized in that he or she only receives approximately 1/3 of what was actually earned because he or she has a government pension. If that work is considered self employed or that of an independent contractor, the government worker must pay the full self-employment tax or Social Security. When I was self employed it was 15%.. That meant I should be receiving about $1,200.00 per month. But wait, because I also receive a government pension I only I get $388.00 each month because of the offset and after the Medicare deduction I am left with $277.00! This is after working 27 years on the police department and paying the full 15% self employment tax on my employment and I am left with less than $277.00 after Medicare! Hardly seems fair considering I paid 15% of my income to Social Security.
Supporters of Issue 2 say government employees make 43%more than the average worker yet they provide no facts to support that ridiculous claim. I was elated in 1971 when I made $8,200.00 on the police department. That same year my brother made $18,000.00 working in the private sector. That is more than 220% that he made at B.F. Goodrich and he would brag that they had a quota to reach and that it was reached after the first three hours of the shift. They were permitted to sleep the remaining five hours! When I quit AT&T and went to the police department in 1969 I received a $30.00 a week pay cut, not a 43% raise!
Issue 2 supporters say government workers get guaranteed pay increases just for showing up. I was part of management and I could deny that raise by giving the employee an unsatisfactory service rating. Most contracts specify a schedule of raises over a number of years but are received only if the employee is rated satisfactory or above by management.
Supporters of Issue 2 say we have to keep raising your taxes to pay for our benefits. I know of no government employee that has the power to raise taxes. It is the politicians that do that with the support of the voters. Government workers are also tax payers and pay the same taxes as those citizens that support Issue 2.
There is need for change in some areas. Issue 2 as written with over 300 pages is not the way to address those problem areas. Vote NO on Issue 2 and together let us force the politicians to come up with a reasonable replacement bill that truly address those problem areas. Do that and you just may have my vote as well.
Just my View From Here.
Richard D. Reese
Vice President Ohio Police & Fire Retirees
1081 Sterling Oaks Drive
Wadsworth, Ohio 44281
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Well it’s time to vote again. It appears that again I am perplexed by many of the confusing statements and accusations voiced in many of the advertisements appearing in the media. This is true regarding both political candidates as well as many of the issues being placed before the voters.
This is especially true regarding State Issue 2. To begin the issue is over 300 pages long! That should raise a red flag. 300 pages tells me that there are many thing hidden in the bill that the politicians do not want you the voter to be aware of. The following is a summary of what I believe are some of the most noteworthy points contained in S.B. 5.
S. B. No.5 Issue 2 repeals and revises existing and enacts new provisions of the Ohio Revised Code relating to laws concerning public employees, including collective bargaining, salary schedules and compensation, layoff procedures, and leave, including, but not limited to, the following:
Expands the list of subjects that are inappropriate for collective bargaining.
Requires public employers to not bargain on any subject reserved to the management and direction of the governmental unit, even if the subject affects wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.
Prohibits an existing provision of a collective bargaining agreement that was modified, renewed, or extended that does not concern wages, hours, and conditions from being a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.
Allows a public employer to engage in specified employment related actions at the employer’s discretion unless the public employer specifically agrees otherwise in an express written provision of a collective bargaining agreement, with certain exceptions concerning equipment.
Prohibits all "public employees" from striking.
Requires the public employer to deduct from the compensation of a striking employee an amount equal to twice the employee's daily rate of pay for each day or part thereof that the employee engaged in a strike.
Expands the definition of "supervisor" with respect to members of a fire or police department.
Expands the definition of "supervisor" and "management level employee" with respect to faculty of a state institution of higher education to include those involved in certain decisions.
Prohibits employees of community schools from collectively bargaining, except for conversion community schools.
Allows the governing authority of a conversion community school to opt out of collectively bargaining with the community school's employees.
Limits the ability of other employees to collectively bargain with their public employers, including regional council of government employees and certain members of the unclassified civil service, to allow the employees to bargain only if the public employer elects to do so.
Removes continuation, modification, or deletion of an existing collective bargaining agreement from the subject of collective bargaining.
Changes the time limitations within which the State Employment Relations Board must act upon a request for recognition.
Allows the Board to determine appropriate units, remove classifications from a bargaining unit, or hold an election regardless of an agreement or a memorandum of understanding granting nonexclusive or deemed certified recognition.
Prohibits an appropriate unit of firefighters from including rank and file members with members who are of the rank lieutenant and above.
Permits certain groups to file a decertification petition demonstrating that 30% of the employees in the described bargaining unit support the petition.
Prohibits a public employer that is a school district, educational service center, a conversion community school that collectively bargains, or STEM school from entering into a collective bargaining agreement that does specified things, such as establishing a maximum number of students who may be assigned to a classroom or teacher.
Requires collective bargaining agreements between such an education-related public employer and public employees to comply with all applicable state or local laws or ordinances regarding wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment, unless the conflicting provision establishes benefits that are less than provided in the law or ordinance.
Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement from prohibiting a public employer that is in a state of fiscal emergency from serving a written notice to terminate, modify, or negotiate the agreement.
Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement from prohibiting a public employer that is in a state of fiscal watch from serving a written notice to modify a collective bargaining agreement so that salary or benefit increases, or both, are suspended. .
Prohibits an agreement from containing a provision that requires as a condition of employment that the nonmembers of the employee organization pay to the employee organization a fair share fee.
Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement entered into or renewed on or after the bill's effective date from containing provisions limiting a public employer's ability to privatize operations.
Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement entered into or renewed on or after the bill's effective date from containing provisions for certain types of leave to accrue above listed amounts or to pay out for sick leave at a rate higher than specified amounts.
Prohibits a collective bargaining agreement entered into or renewed on or after the bill's effective date from containing certain provisions regarding the deferred retirement option plan.
Limits the currently required grievance procedure to unresolved grievances that are based on the disputed interpretations of the written provisions of the agreement.
Eliminates the ability of the parties to submit disputes to an agreed-upon dispute resolution procedure.
Extends the timelines involved in the dispute resolution process.
Expands the list of factors a fact-finder must consider in resolving disputes, and requires the fact finder to consider as the primary factor the interests and welfare of the public and the ability of the public employer to finance and administer the issues proposed.
Eliminates the final offer settlement procedure.
Requires the legislative body of the public employer to be the final decision-maker with respect to any dispute that is unresolved during the fact-finding process, and prescribes procedures and requirements for the legislative body to make a determination.
Requires any agreement determined by the legislative body to be in effect for three years.
Requires, if the legislative body fails to select a last best offer, the public employer's last best offer to become the agreement between the parties.
Allows, for certain public employers, if the legislative body selects the last best offer that costs more and the chief financial officer of the legislative body determines that insufficient funds exist or refuses to determine whether sufficient funds exist to cover the agreement, the last best offers to be submitted to the voters for selection.
Prescribes procedures to place the last best offers on the ballot and for that election.
Expands the list of unfair labor practices that may be committed by an employee organization, its agents, or public employees and the remedies that may be applied for unfair labor practices committed by those entities.
Revises the procedures regarding hearings on unfair labor practice charges.
Requires a public employer to report certain information about compensation paid to public employees under a collective bargaining agreement.
Repeals the provision requiring the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law to be liberally construed.
Eliminates statutory salary schedules and steps.
Requires performance-based pay for most public employees, including board and commission members, and makes other, related changes.
Requires performance-based pay for teachers based, in part, on evaluations conducted under a policy that is based on a framework for teacher evaluations that has been recommended by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and adopted by the State Board of Education.
Caps vacation leave for certain public employees at 7.7 hours per biweekly pay period and limits total accrual for those public employees currently accruing 9.2 hours per pay period.
Reduces sick leave accrual for most public employees from 4.6 hours to 3.1 hours per biweekly pay period.
Limits public employer contributions toward health care benefit costs to 85%.
Requires health care benefits provided to management level employees to be the same as any health care benefits provided to other employees of the same public employer.
Requires boards of education to adopt policies to provide leave with pay for school employees and abolishes statutorily provided leave for those employees.
Abolishes continuing contracts for teachers, except for those continuing contracts in existence prior to the effective date of the bill and revises the law relating to limited contracts.
Prohibits a public employer from paying employee contributions to the five public employee retirement systems.
Requires health care benefits provided through a jointly administered trust fund to be the same as the health care benefits provided to other public employees.
Allows death benefits paid under the Police and Fire Pension Fund to be paid in accordance with existing salary schedules and increases in salaries.
Removes consideration of seniority and length of service, by itself; from decisions regarding a reduction in work force of certain public employees.
Creates the Ohio Commission for Excellence in Public Service to establish and guide programs that foster best practices in public service workplaces.
If a majority of the voters vote to not approve the Act, then enacted changes will not take effect and the prior version of the affected laws will remain in effect.
The bottom line is there are some good points contained in the bill but there are many bad ones. This is especially true regarding police and fire employees. It is for that reason that I encourage you the voter to VOTE NO on Issue 2. Let’s force the politicians to go back and rewrite the bill to be something reasonable that all residents of Ohio can live and prosper with.
Just my View From Here.
I close with this thought – Deliver me from all the evildoers that talk nothing but sickness and failure. Grant me the companionship of those who think success and are willing to work for it. Loan me those associates who cheerfully face the problems of the day and try hard to overcome them. Relieve me of cynics and critics. Give me continued good health and the strength to be of real service to the world and receive that which is good for me and all those that want it.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Akron's September 13th primary election is now over. I have heard many say they are disappointed that Michael Williams did not displace Don Plusquellic as Akron’s democratic candidate. There have been many theories bantered about. While some have definite merit it is my belief that many voters thought they had until the November election to vote. Many were appalled by the low voter turnout. In 2015 Williams plans to run again. I believe it is imperative for him to use the next four years to organize a huge base of citizens that will aid in overcoming the misinformation his opponent will disseminate to the voters. It is also imperative that those who profess to support a change in city administration be willing to get out and do more than just offer lip service in support of a candidate that dares to oppose Plusquellic.
Some have said they do not understand why Plusquellic wants to remain in office with 38 years of city service he can retire at any time. One can speculate as to the reasons; however I believe there is a strong likelihood that he will step down prior to the end of the upcoming term. Stepping down or retiring would turn the mayor’s office over to council president, Marco Summerville. It is unfortunate but this would be pretty much a continuation of Plusquellic’s policies and procedures.
The question arises – what actions should Mike Williams be performing in the next four years to best insure his election as mayor of Akron? This questions answer is complicated by the fact that Plusquellic, Summerville, and Williams are all democrats. First of all, I believe the office of mayor should be nonpartisan, and based on that premise, Williams should run as an independent. I, and many others, vote for whomever they believe has the best interest of the community at heart. As I stated in my endorsement of Williams from September 10, 2011 “I am a Republican that offers total support of the Williams for Mayor of Akron campaign. I urge you the reader to do the same.” I believe had Williams been a republican or preferably an independent, he would have been successful in his bid to replace Plusquellic as Akron’s mayor.
That’s just The View From Here
By the way – There is still no change in the status of the healthcare suit. As you remember we won the last action and Akron appealed it to Franklin County Court. I do not anticipate any ruling until after the November elections. I promise to keep you posted as to what develops.
An Election Editorial
September 10, 2011
Akron's September 13th primary election is fast approaching. Mayor Plusquellic is for the first time facing serious competition for the democratic nomination for mayor. This is due to Michael Williams, Councilman-at-large, having made the decision to seek the position of mayor of the city of Akron. Williams has long been involved in Akron politics and is one of the few that has dared to openly oppose Plusquellic, questioning some of his tactics, attitudes, policies, and dictatorial actions when dealing with the citizenry in general, surrounding communities, and city workers.
We have been inundated with media commercials from Mayor Don Plusquellic in an effort to convince the citizens of what a marvelous job he has done for the city. These have included endorsements from some high ranking members of the safety forces, including a former police chief. This falsely gives the impression that members of the police division endorse Plusquellic's re-election. Nothing can be further from the truth. I will concede that some members may support Plusquellic, but the majority support Mike Williams for the office of Mayor of Akron. It is unfortunate that some members and former members of the Police Division have chosen to prostitute themselves by voicing support for Plusquellic while the majority of the rank and file supports Williams. This is evident by Williams having received the endorsement of both the Police and Fire Unions.
Some of the reasons include the fact that Williams is a man of integrity and has always been an advocate for the safety of the community, refusing to let personal likes and dislikes control his policy. This is in contrast to Plusquellic's denial that there are any safety concerns in Akron's neighborhoods. He has chosen to disregard mandated staffing levels, jeopardizing the safety of police officers as well as that of the community. Plusquellic has let his hatred for union leaders and some members of the safety forces negatively influence his decisions regarding the safety of the community.
Williams, while readily admitting that these are austere times and that Akron must operate with a balanced budget in mind, believes that above all Akron must maintain a safe environment for its citizens. It serves no purpose to say we must maintain sanitation services if the citizens are afraid to leave their homes to take the trash can to the curb for pickup! This is in contrast to Plusquellic stating that since Safety forces are the largest part of the employee payroll, they should be first to be severed from the city employment roster.
Williams welcomes those persons with ideas that differ from his, while Plusquellic becomes enraged if you fail to agree with him and even goes so far as to "reserve a special place in Hell" for those that are foolish enough to oppose his ideas. I find it noteworthy that Plusquellic apparently has a relationship with Satan that is so close that he believes he has that ability to "reserve a special place in Hell" for those who chose to disagree with or oppose him! I also find it notable that Mike Williams more often than not ends his conversations with individuals with "May God Bless You!"
Plusquellic brags about bringing foreign jobs to Akron but when bragging of the number of jobs he fails to state that most are projected jobs for the future. He thus far has failed to give a concise accounting of how much money has been spent on travel to other countries. He states that the travel was paid by JED funds and that is justification for first class travel and payment of $300 to $600 dollar per night hotels for each member of his entourage. Plusquellic apparently forgets that the JED funds are also taxpayer money. He has neglected existing small and medium business in the area resulting in some companies leaving Akron for surrounding communities. Williams pledges to concentrate on providing motivation aimed and keeping existing jobs while enticing other companies to locate in Akron.
Williams has pledged to honor Akron's obligations to its residents as well as those imposed by Ohio and Federal regulatory agencies such as the EPA, and contractual obligations with Akron's labor organizations. Again this is in sharp contrast with Plusquellic's total disregard for the same. Plusquellic's refusal to honor the EPA mandated improvements to the city sewer system has resulted in millions of dollars in fines that continue to accumulate on a daily basis.
Mayor Plusquellic for years has refused to provide contracted Medical Benefits to Police and Fire Retirees unless they first purchase health care coverage from Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. For some retirees this coverage comes at an annual cost in excess of $8,000.00! That cost is deducted from the retiree's pension check. In the event the insurance cost is greater than the pension benefit, the retiree is billed for the difference!
Seven years ago the City of Akron was taken to court, and the Mayor claimed that this was not an issue under the courts jurisdiction, but instead was an insurance matter. The retirees took this issue to the State of Ohio Bureau of Insurance, and after lengthy investigation, Mayor Plusquellic was ordered by the Director of Insurance of the State of Ohio to pay the present and past medical claims of police and fire retirees and to immediately stop this unlawful practice. He refused to comply with that order. He is now claiming that the courts have jurisdiction, not the State Department of Insurance. Retired police and firemen have died with this issue of their medical benefits never being resolved . This is an outrage and Plusquellic must be held accountable. This and other actions have resulted in the City forgoing the use of the Akron Law Department's expertise and hiring outside law firms to represent the City of Akron. Some have said that this was because the Akron Law Department advised Plusquellic was wrong to avoid his obligation to settle these issues and negate the costly law suits. Plusquellic then contracted with these private law firms to represent the City of Akron. Perhaps someone could request an accounting of the monies paid to those law firms. Meanwhile Plusquellic continues to defy the Ohio Bureau of Insurance and he continues to give taxpayer money to private law firms to appeal the State of Ohio order.
Mayor Plusquellic has permitted his abrasive and arrogant personality to control his relationships with the safety forces, other employee groups, and the community. As Akron's chief executive, he is responsible for setting the tone for ALL city employees. It should be incumbent that he led with maturity and wisdom, treating others as he would be treated. The citizens and other politicians should demand it; anyone not willing to operate that way should be summarily removed from office.
These are but some of the reasons I oppose the re-election of Don Plusquellic and support the candidacy of Michael Williams for Mayor of Akron. Yes, Williams is a Democrat and as a non-resident I cannot vote, but I am a Republican that offers total support of the Williams for Mayor of Akron campaign. I urge you the reader to do the same.
Richard D. Reese
THE VIEW FROM HERE
I would like to begin with an apology for my failure to write something for the August issue. It was a hectic month with lots of challenges. I had tons of medical test and two trips to the hospital. The good news is that I survived the hospital stays. While I was in AGMC my brother Robert was in Akron City ICU. Unfortunately he was not as fortunate as I. He passed away on the morning of August 3rd. He left his wife and two sons and a host of other relatives and friends to morn his passing. He would have been 67 on the 18th of August.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the many expressions of sympathy and we were pleasantly surprised at the number received from long time – long ago co workers at APD. In particular the many members of the 911 communications center. I have been gone from there for over sixteen years but they still remember the experiences we shared. Again thanks to all and may God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
On a lighter note Charmaine and I have spent some quality time together and with some of our six children and nine grandchildren. They are precious to the two of us and we treasure the time we get to share with them. We took the motor home to Lake Erie with seven of the grands and two of our daughters and one son. We all had a great time with lots of food and fun in the waters of Erie. Perhaps in a couple of months we will get all of the sand out of the carpet!
August is when we celebrate numerous birthdays. We have two of our daughters Christine and Meredith’s birthday on the 13th and 17th as well as nieces, nephews, friends and my sister Becky on the 23rd and mine on the 24th.
The 22nd of August is the most important day of my life. You may ask why – well it is Charmaine and my wedding anniversary. Some of you know that when I was divorced I vowed to remain single for the rest of my life. I managed to do so for eight years and to make a long story short Charmaine proposed to me and I instantly replied yes. The rest is history. She is the best thing that ever happened to me and I am forever grateful for her undying love. I am convinced that if not for her I would not be among the living. She and my oncologist Dr. Sandra Hazra are my two angels.
I realize I am rambling and probably boring most of the readers so I will close this month by again thanking all of you for your well wishes and expressions of sympathy in the death of my brother Robert. May God bless you and may each of you have as much happiness as I have been blessed with.
Just my View From Here
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Essentially there is nothing new regarding the Health Care law suit. Your attorney Larry Shenise was at the Wednesday July 13th meeting of the retirees at the lodge. It appears that the judge and/or the City of Akron are attempting to delay any decisions until after the fall elections. As you know we received a favorable ruling from the Bureau of Insurance and as expected Akron filed an appeal.
The judge in Franklin county court has yet to make a decision on the Akron appeal and is now questioning if he even had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. it is our opinion that Ohio law is clear in that regard. Any appeal must be heard in Franklin County (Columbus) court. Time line for a settlement remains unknown. Perhaps our best chance for a speedy settlement would be after the November election and perhaps a new mayor of Akron.
Back in May an invitation was extended to both Mayor Plusquellic and Councilman at large Mike Williams to speak at our joint meeting of police and fire retirees. Williams responded and attended our meeting. He outlined his plan for Akron and his support of Akron's safety forces.
While in route to the July 13th meeting I received a phone call at 11:10 am from Plusquellic's office regarding the meeting. I explained that the invitation was extended back in May and the meeting was to begin in about 45 minutes. Plusquellic's spokesperson said that he could not make that days meeting but perhaps another one may be possible. I explained that we only had one joint meeting each year but the August Fire meeting on August 4th at the FOP lodge would be possible. . She stated she would check Plusquellic's calendar and get back to me. I stated that would be fine. The sooner the better so that I could advise the police retirees to attend the August meeting with the fire retirees. On July 23rd I received a call from his campaign office stating Plusquellic was not available for the August 4th fire meeting. I said the other date is August 10th the date of the next police retiree meeting. I explained that I required an answer ASAP so that fire retirees could be notified of Plusquellic's attendance.
As soon as I receive a reply from Plusquellic's office I will send an email to the group.
Keep Bob Trevathan in your prayers. He is recovering from surgery at home. If anyone has knowledge of any member in need of prayer - please send me an email or call me on the phone.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Well here it is July and we have five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays in this month! This is a combination that will happen again in July of 2016. Those of you that are still working have the opportunity to take five weekends off!
Remember Independence Day is July 4th so fly our flag and say a prayer for our military and our safety forces.
I wish to remind each of you that for the first time it appears that Mayor Plusquellic has serious competition for the office of mayor. As you know longtime councilman Michael Williams has tossed his hat in the ring. I contacted both candidates’ offices and extended an invitation to speak to the retirees and inform us as to their vision of Akron’s future and relay their thoughts regarding the safety forces. As of this writing Mike Williams has agreed to speak at our July 13th meeting at noon. This will be a joint meeting of the police and fire retirees. Mark your calendar and Charmaine and I are looking forward to seeing you there.
As of June 26 I have yet to receive a response from Mayor Don Plusquellic. In the event I do I will try and arrange a date prior to the September vote when Plusquellic can speak to the group also. You can form your own thoughts as to why Plusquellic has failed to respond to the invitation to speak to our group. I will not voice my thoughts since it would only be speculation since Plusquellic nor his office has given me the courtesy of a reply to my request for him to speak to our retirees group. Although I cannot vote in Akron elections since I am a resident of Wadsworth, and I would never tell anyone how to cast their ballot, I will advise my friends and relatives that are residents of Akron that if I were a resident I would cast my ballot for Mike Williams rather that Plusquellic and yes, I am a registered republican!
An update on the status of our law suit against the City of Akron regarding our healthcare;
There was a hearing scheduled in Columbus on June 27th and I was holding this note in anticipation of providing news of the hearing but when I called to check on the hearing time on Saturday the 25th I was notified that it was canceled and all parties were to submit briefs to the judge. Yes that basically constitutes another delay. As soon as I receive meaningful information it will be emailed to Don and Sue Dexter to be sent to the email list.
I have had several people inquire as to what number they should call to get the 2011 Medicare Reimbursement Form sent to them. You can call United Health Care at 888-832-0964 or call me at 330-329-8754 and I will email a copy of the form to you.
Till next time...Stay safe and be your brother’s keeper.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
PESSIMISM about the United States rarely pays off in the long run. Time and again, when we Americans have felt particularly glum, our economy has been on the brink of a revival. Think of Jimmy Carter’s cardigan-clad doom and gloom in the inflation-ridden late 1970s, or the fear of competition from Japan that marked the “jobless recovery” of the early 1990s. Both times the United States bounced back, boosted on the first occasion by Paul Volcker’s conquest of inflation and on the second by a productivity spurt that sent growth rates soaring in the mid-1990s even as Japan’s economy stalled and then stagnated.
That record is worth bearing in mind today. Many Americans are unhappy, and becoming more so, about the country’s prospects and politicians’ efforts to improve them. In a new CBS News poll, seven out of ten respondents said America is on the wrong track. Almost 60% of Americans disapprove of the administration’s handling of the economy, and three out of four think Congress is doing an even worse job. Let’s not even get started on Ohio SB5!
This malaise partly reflects the sluggishness of the recovery. Though unemployment has reportedly been falling and share prices are close to a three-year high, home prices are still in the dumps and the price of gas has soared to levels not seen since the summer of 2008. But it’s not all about oil or indeed the short term. A careful reading of the polls suggests that our worries stretch well beyond the next couple of years: about stagnating living standards and a dark future in an economy slow to create jobs, saddled with big government deficits and under threat from China. Tellingly, a majority now regard China, not America, as the world’s leading economy.
Are these worries justified? On the plus side, it is hard to think of any large country with as many inherent long-term advantages as America: what would China give to have a Silicon Valley? Or Germany an Ivy League? But it is also plain that the United States does indeed have long-term economic weaknesses—and ones that will take time to fix. The real worry for Americans should be that their politicians, not least their president, are doing so little to tackle these underlying problems. Three failings stand out.
The first failing, of which President Obama in particular is guilty, is misstating the problem. He likes to frame America’s challenges in terms of “competitiveness”, particularly versus China. America’s prosperity, he argues, depends on “out-innovating, out-educating and out-building” China. This is, in my opinion, mostly nonsense. America’s prosperity depends not on other countries’ productivity growth, but on its own (actually pretty fast) pace. Ideas spill over from one economy to another: when China innovates Americans benefit.
Of course, plenty more could be done to spur innovation. The system of corporate taxation is a mess and deters domestic investment. President Obama is right that America’s infrastructure is creaking. But the solution there has as much to do with reforming Neanderthal funding systems as it does with the greater public spending he advocates. Too much of the “competitiveness” talk is a canard—one that justifies misguided policies, such as subsidies for green technology, and diverts attention from the country’s real to-do list.
High on that list is sorting out America’s public finances. The budget deficit is huge and public debt, at over 90% of GDP when measured in an internationally comparable manner, is high and rising fast. Apart from Japan, America is the only big rich economy that does not have a plan for getting its public finances under control.
The good news is that politicians are at last paying attention: deficit reduction is just about all anybody talks about these days. The bad news—and the second reason for gloom about what the politicians are up to—is that neither party is prepared to make the basic compromises that are essential to a deal. Some say Republicans refuse to accept that taxes will have to rise; others say it’s the Democrats refusal to admit that spending on “entitlements” be reduced. No real progress is likely until after the 2012 presidential election. And the antagonism of today’s deficit debate may even harm the economy, as Republicans push for excessive cuts in next year’s budget.
Meanwhile, the biggest dangers lie in an area that politicians barely mention: the labor market. The recent decline in the jobless rate has been misleading, the result of a surprisingly small growth in the workforce (as discouraged workers drop out) as much as fast job creation. A stubborn 46% of America’s jobless, some six million people, have been out of work for more than six months. The weakness of the recovery is mostly to blame, but there are signs that America may be developing a distinctly European disease: structural unemployment.
Youth unemployment is especially high, and joblessness among the young leaves lasting scars. Strong productivity growth has been achieved partly through the elimination of many mid-skilled jobs. And what makes this all the more worrying is that, below the radar screen, America had employment problems long before the recession, particularly for lesser-skilled men. These were caused not only by sweeping changes from technology and globalization, which affect all countries, but also by America’s habit of locking up large numbers of young men, which drastically diminishes their future employment prospects. America has a smaller fraction of prime-age men in work and in the labor force than any other G7 economy. Some 25% of men aged 25-54 with no college degree, 35% of high-school dropouts and almost 70% of black high-school dropouts are not working.
Beyond the toll to individuals, the lack of work among less-skilled men could have huge fiscal and social consequences. The cost of disability payments is some $120 billion (almost 1% of GDP) and rising fast. Male worklessness has been linked with lower marriage rates and weakening family bonds.
All this means that grappling with entrenched joblessness deserves to be far higher on America’s policy agenda. Unfortunately, the few (leftish) politicians who acknowledge the problem tend to have misguided solutions, such as trade barriers or industrial policy to prop up yesterday’s jobs or to spot tomorrow’s. That won’t work: government has a terrible record at picking winners. Instead, America needs to get its macro-medicine right, in particular by committing itself to medium-term fiscal and monetary stability without excessive short-term tightening. But it also needs job-market reforms, from streamlining and upgrading training to increasing employers’ incentives to hire the low-skilled. And there, strange as it may seem, America could learn from Europe: the Netherlands, for instance, is a good model for how to overhaul disability insurance. Stemming the decline in low-skilled men’s work will also demand more education reform to boost skills, as well as a revised approach to drugs and imprisonment.
Technology and globalization are remaking labor markets across the rich world, to the relative detriment of the lower-skilled. That’s why a rosier outlook for America’s economy does not necessarily mean a rosy future for all Americans. President Obama and his opponents can help to shape the process. Sadly, they are doing so for the worse rather than the better.
Just my View From Here
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Just a few reminders for the month of May;
Remember Mother’s Day is Sunday May 8th. Give her a call or go see her if possible. If she has passed on as mine has then take time to think of her and if you believe – speak to her and she will hear you and if you believe you will know what her reply is as well.
Wednesday May 11th is when we again celebrate Police Memorial Day at Wolter Park. I urge each of you to take time out of your bust day and attend the service that honors our fallen brethren. As of this time there have been 65 officer killed in the line of duty nationwide. We have the dubious distinction of being number three in the country with 5 officer deaths already. Ohio is exceeded only by Florida with 10 and Texas with 6!
May 21st is Armed Forces Day. This little publicized day is always the third Saturday in May and Armed Forces Day is a day to recognize and honor the military forces in our nation. Nations throughout the world participate in observing this day as well.
May 30th Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a U.S. holiday commemorating the U.S. men and women who have died in military service to our country. It is always the last Monday in the Month of May.
May 3rd is National Teachers Day. National Teacher Day is part of a week-long celebration honoring our teachers. On Teacher Day, be sure to honor the special teachers in your life for the hard work they do each day. For me there were two people that taught me to love to learn new things. One was Marjorie Rhodes who was my first grade teacher at George barber School that used to be on Gary Road in Akron. The second was (you probably guessed it) my mom Clara Reese who taught me more than words can say. Even though she died in 2007 she continues to teach and influence me each day.
There is still no decision on our health care suit. I encourage each of you to be patient and my thoughts are that Politics makes strange bed fellows and that will work in our favor.
That’s it for now. Char and I look forward to seeing each of you at the Wednesday Memorial Service. Take care of each other and stay safe.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Well here it is tax time and also Easter is on the horizon. I was planning on an article on Easter, its origin, traditions and little known facts. I realize that some of our readers are extremely knowledgeable and could lead a class at any seminary while others like me may only have enough knowledge to be considered dangerous.
I take this opportunity to encourage you, the reader, to share your thoughts with your fellow readers. It has been my experience that everyone has something worthy of being shared with others. Try it and you may be surprised at the response you receive.
I wish to apologies for being missing from the last few retiree get-togethers. I have been under the weather for the last four months but I am on the mend. I have had adverse reactions to some of my meds, discovered I have heart blockage, polymyositis, pulmonary fibrosis, and to top it off the left side of my head decided to swell and generate immense pain that I imagined was caused by a group of alien invaders that were warring inside my head.
After suffering for a week Char took me to ER and the good news was there were no tumors or other signs of concern. It was determined that I have a bad case of shingles! I always believed you got them on your chest or back. The fact is you can get them on any part of your body. I fail to understand – if I had to get shingles, couldn’t they could have been installed with regular roofing nails instead of the 8 inch spikes they used!
That’s it for this month. Thanks for the well wishes and, Lord willing, Char and I will see many of you at the April luncheon.
Till next time...
THE VIEW FROM HERE
I have been struggling trying to decide what to say in this month’s View. There are so many things deserving of the available space. Some subjects are; the fall from power of Egypt’s Mubarak resulting from citizen peaceful protest. Don Plusquellic having decided to again run for mayor of Akron.
Plusquellic and Mubarak are similar in some respects with their lack of concern for the common citizen and failure to address that which is important to the citizenry. Perhaps the citizens of Akron should mirror the tactics of those in Cairo. Who’s to say, it may result in Plusquellic being forced to resign from power.
I expect that by the time this goes to print long time councilman Michael Williams will have thrown his hat into the ring to run for mayor of Akron.
Just as protests have spread to other Arab nations like Tunisia, Libya, Iran Yemen, and Algeria and others. Many Arab nations that have generally been viewed as invulnerable now find they are being challenged and this may yet spread too many other nations. Is it possible that the same could happen here in Akron or the State of Ohio?
I find it intriguing when thinking of the possibility of social protest here in Ohio or Akron forcing constructive change in our governments as recent protesting has done in parts of the Arab world. What are your thoughts?
So long till next month. Stay safe and remember there is strength in unity.
VIEW FROM HERE
I received this from a good friend...
When I bought my Droid Blueberry Smart Phone I thought about all the years I worked and how I somehow managed to be somewhat successful in spite of the fact I did not have a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, photos and communicates with Skype, Facebook and Twitter. It has me signed up under duress for Twitter& Facebook, so my kids, their spouses, grandkids and great-grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.
That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and
every other program within the texting world.
My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.
The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth (its red) phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife (they closed the Borders Books) and everyone within 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I guess I got a little loud.
I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say,
"Re-calc-u-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead. Well, let’s just say it was not a good relationship. When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.
To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for many years, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose five phones all at once and have run around digging under chair cushions and checking bath-rooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings.
The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them in with me.
Now I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual." Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look. I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, No, but I do toot a lot."
Senior citizens don't need anymore gadgets. The TV remote and the garage door remote are about all we can handle.
I thought it was time for something other than the normal doom and gloom. I hope the above gave some of you a chuckle. There is no news regarding the Health Care Lawsuit other than all of the briefs are in the judges hands and I have been told to expect a ruling sometime this month.
That’s all for now.
Stay healthy and safe. See you at
the meeting on February 9th.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
"Happy New Year!" That greeting will be said and heard for at least the first couple of weeks as 2011 gets under way. But the day celebrated as New Year's Day in modern America was not always January 1.
The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the first day of spring.
The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has neither astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.
The Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve gatherings pale in comparison.
The Romans continued to observe the New Year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.
In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the New Year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian calendar. It again established January 1 as the New Year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.
Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the New Year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. But as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations, and New Year's Day was no different.
During the middle Ages the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years. January 1 has only been celebrated as a holiday by the West for only the past 400 years.
Other New Year traditions include the making of resolutions. This also dates back to the early Babylonians. Modern resolutions might be to stop smoking or quit drinking or lose weight. The most popular resolution for the Babylonians was to return all of the farm equipment they had borrowed during the year.
Many of us will watch the Tournament of Roses Parade this New Year. Are you aware that the Parade dates back to 1886? It was started by the Valley Hunt Club and members decorated their carriages with flowers. The parade was to celebrate the California orange crop ripening.
Today we associate the New Year with football. The Rose Bowl football game was first played as part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902. I am certain that many readers will be parked in front of the big screen watching the bowl games.
Another thing associated with the New Year is luck. It is the belief of many that what they do or eat on the first day of the year will determine the luck they will have for the coming year. For that reason it has become customary for people to celebrate the New Year with family and friends often parting into the middle of the night. Some say that the first visitor on New Year’s Day will bring either good or bad luck for the remainder of the year. It is believed that it was really lucky if the visitor happened to be a tall dark haired man. I guess that leaves me out – my doctor said I have lost an inch in height and what little hair I have left has turned gray!
Some believe that food can bring good luck and prosperity. Many start the New Year consuming black-eyed peas and pork. Some believe cabbage will bring good luck. Cabbage leaves are said to represent prosperity and are representative of paper currency. Anyone want to try paying for lunch with cabbage leaves? The Dutch are said to believe anything in the shape of a ring is good luck. That is the reason the Dutch starts the New Year eating donuts so they will have good luck for the coming year. See you always wondered why we police officers crave donuts, bet you never realized we all must have some Dutch in our family tree!
I think I will adjourn and go to the new Duncan Donut shop on Rt. 94 and do some additional research on this donut thing.
Till next time take care and stay safe. See you at the retiree meeting Wednesday January 12th.