To the editor:
This past Monday, in a confounding reversal from previous statements, leaders of our community have came forward and timidly admitted that we have a serious crime issue that needs dealt with in a swift and powerful manner. Monday's symposium on crime, presented at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, gave the local electorate an opportunity to finally have that honest open-ended discussion, which it has long requested, to explore ideas on how to resolve our community's crime problems.
Many of the questions and answers were related to how our community stakeholders could come together to eradicate a problem that has steadily increased in recent memory. Instead of taking this opportunity to discuss possible solutions, our democratically selected state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, and state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, used their time to provide half-truths about state funding attributing the area's high crime rates and drug use to a lack of government funding. Without providing any facts or figures, these two gentlemen were attempting to expand a political ideology, rather than providing any substantial means for correcting the issues that are affecting our friends, family and co-workers. This is not the first instance where we have seen Gentile utilize his soapbox to promote his dissolute form of demagoguery. Yet, misleading the general public about the history and uses of Ohio's Local Government Fund and then linking it to a high-rate of crime is belligerent.
Additionally, to blame our area's entire crime situation on a lack of state or federal funding is ridiculous and exacerbates Gentile's naivete as a community leader. On the other hand, Cera should know better - he has spent the better part of two decades in public office. Both of these gentlemen hold political office, representing our perceived best interests in Columbus - I would hope that I am not the only person outraged by this blatant lack of leadership and attempt to turn an apolitical event into a campaign rally for raising taxes.
In our local community many innocent people have been affected by the rise in crime. My prayers go out to them. The need to find solutions to their plight is obligatory, not turning it into a partisan issue.
Daniel Z. Jenkins