A friend of mine, who hasn't lived in Toledo for 35 years, came to visit over the weekend. We did a little riding past some of our old stomping grounds within the City limits. As we drove through our old neighborhood in South Toledo, past Rogers High School, and down Monroe Street from Summit to Secor, my friend was amazed and disturbed by the condition of the downtown, Toledo's neighborhoods, and its empty store fronts.
She asked two questions: What happened? What can be done to improve the City?
We talked at length about what needed to be done if Toledo was ever going to have a chance at a comeback:
SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Toledo can erect all of the new school buildings it wants, but the structures only hide the decay that is happening within. Parents should be able to place their children into a school that has teachers AND students who share their interest in a structured and disciplined education. All students are not alike, and they shouldn't be shoved into schools simply because they are the closest to their homes. Competition encourages excellence. (Of course, this would require a complete deconstruction of the all-powerful teachers' union.)
RIGHT-TO-WORK CITY: Toledo's going to need new businesses bringing in new jobs. No business wants to come to a union-controlled city. It's just not going to happen. The retort to this is, "What good is a company bringing in low-wage jobs?" This City has historically focused on unskilled, blue-collar jobs. It's time to concentrate on white-collar and skilled labor. Any medium-to-large company that comes into Toledo--even if the majority of jobs may be minimum wage--would also require a number of workers in HR, accounting, management, distribution, and sales. Those are the jobs that bring in the type of people that could make a difference in this City.