Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don Gozdowski for Mayor 2013

Toledo Ohio U.S.A — leading the world by example

Re-visit this blog often as I will continually add political musings as the campaign season progresses.  A posting will either be annotate parenthetically as (original posting), or if I clarify or add to a posting I will note its revision date, i.e. (revised 5/27/13)

May 20th, in the year of our Lord Twenty-thirteen.  Earlier today, I once again offered my services to the city of Toledo.  I began the process of securing a position on the November ballot for Mayor of our fine city.
Unlike my previous attempts when I took the traditional campaign approach of shaking hands and kissing babies, I have decided to simply throw my hat into the ring as a write in candidate.  If elected Mayor I would call the city to service and sacrifice, which, when translated, means I haven’t got a snowballs chance in hell of being elected Mayor. That’s the reality I face.  I’ve taken this political journey twice before; therefore see no reason to waste my time collecting signatures from people who don’t want a leader, but rather a clone to do their bidding.  So why then do I even try?  Because I walk with God.
Besides myself, there are seven Candidates running for Mayor: incumbent Michael Bell, Anita Lopez, Joe McNamara, Alan Cox, D. Michael Collins, Michael Konwinski, and Opal Covey.  Most of these names are familiar to Toledoans.  All fine people I’m sure, all capable of being Mayor.  Like everyone, these individuals have strengths and weaknesses.  One may be a gifted accountant, another fluent in legal-speak, still another, a skilled communicator.  Do you think a talented administrator is the only qualification the Mayor of Toledo needs to successfully guide this city into the great unknown and the problems of tomorrow?  If you do than I will see you right back here four years from now, facing the same problems we face today, but problems more entrenched.  Perhaps by then society will be willing to embrace the God ordained adventure to which we have been called, and the glory to which we have been created.  There is an alternative reality besides the one we languish in.  There is truth to be embraced and Christlikeness to be emulated.
It is no secret that I hold strong religious beliefs, as does Opal Covey.  Ms. Covey is the only gospel preacher in all of Toledo, the only lover of Christ—besides myself—with enough testosterone to boldly march into the lion’s den.  I will honor her faith and courage by allowing her to handle God’s light work.  I on the other hand will devote myself to the heavy lifting of world peace, famine eradication, and universal healthcare.
All gospel preachers need to realize there is a two prong approach to evangelism.  First, point people to the Cross of Christ, in addition, lead people away from ritual, tradition, and superstition.  Diligently guard against religious speculation and opinion in themselves and preach against it in others.

Employment: (original posting, 7/14/13)  The auto bailout was successful.  The problem as I see it is that we have once again saddled the economy, especially our local economy, to the back of the auto industry.  You’ve heard the proverb, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” 
Manufacturing jobs are not as abundant as they once were which means society needs to manufacture jobs.  There is a great deal of work that needs to be done.  For example, the 800 plus homes on the city’s demolition list can be knocked down by the city, but instead of removing the wreckage with bulldozers let the debris be removed brick by brick and board by board by men needing employment.  This type of thinking will create jobs for the hard to employ such as ex-cons and men that may not have marketable skills but do have a strong back and willing hands.  Since we know the square footage of the homes under discussion a dollar amount per square foot as well as a time frame for completion can be set.  

Sports Arena: (original posting, 7/14/13) I suggested eight years ago that the area where once stood the Sports Arena be turned into a KOA type campground, complete with a water park.  This would make Toledo a vacation destination, instead of a one night stand.  Families could camp, the kids can spend a day at the Zoo, a day at COSI, catch a ball game.  The parents can relax at the docks, be shuttled to the Casino.  Toledo, the only city that would allow its most valuable waterfront property to be used as a weed garden.

Gangs:  (revised, 7/14/13) I suggest we establish a city ordinance that would forbid adolescents from joining gangs.  Yes, of course I know they will congregate anyway.  My point is, society, and especially the media, needs to stop allowing these problem children to romanticize the notion of being in a gang.  What do we call them instead?  Call them what they are—delinquent—children in rebellion against God and community. Eagle’s soar alone, turkeys travel in gaggles.  So, instead of saying a gang of youth, perhaps we should be saying a gaggle of delinquent youth.  

 Litter: (original posting) Litter is an ugly thing that should outrage every citizen.  Littering is a classless, senseless act showing a complete disregard for civilized behavior.  If I’m allowed a pet peeve as Mayor, litter would be it.  As Mayor I would direct the police to never overlook this offense.  Fines collected would be placed into a fund used to hire the youth of our city to clean up litter infested areas.  Job creation.

Election reform: (revised 7/14/13) Campaigning for an elected office is a learning experience like no other. Citizens should nominate someone who they believe would be a good servant.  This is how it should play out.  Inform someone you admire that, “I think you’d make a good Mayor, I’d like to nominate you—would you accept.”  Then that person or group proceeds to beat the drum for its candidate.  As it stands now a candidate essentially nominates him or herself and then tries to secure the needed signatures.  Politicians then proceed to annoy people with their clipboards at street fairs and other public venues.  Some public venues forbid soliciting for signatures, that’s why you will see politicians hover near the entrance.  We need to take a more voter friendly approach.  This is what I suggest for street fairs and such.  Set up a politician’s tent, a place people can go at their leisure to meet the candidates, talk in-depth about issues, pick up some political swag, and, if they choose, sign a nominating petition—legibly at a table.  Hey, it’s a start.

Toledo Ohio U.S.A — leading the world by example

Without exception all Americans; everyone from the most liberal democrat to the ultra-conservative republican, citizens from coast to coast, taxpayers from sea to shining sea expressed irritation with the unceasing barrage of political advertisement during the presidential campaign.  The sheer volume–six billion dollars’ worth according to the New York Times– as annoying as it was is incidental compared to the negative tone our leaders rely on. Instead of ideas and plans they vilify their opponent’s character.  We don’t like it, but politicians ignore us and do it anyway.  The world’s problems are so dire; life so fleeting and precious that political discourse better suited for the elementary school playground is egregious.  Humanity's mission if we should decide to accept it is this: eradicate famine, cure sickness, combat disease, and alleviate pain.
Therefore, driven by this extreme challenge, we need mature leadership and a steady hand at the helm.  Let us embrace this succinct mission statement, “Toledo, Ohio U.S.A — leading the world by example, alleviating pain and suffering; offering hope to the world.”  We begin our journey by electing humble servants with insight and uncommon wisdom, who possess an all-encompassing world view, and by turning a deaf ear to uncivil discourse.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Before Toledo can lead the world by example we must first become an exemplary city.  Toledo can reasonably be considered a microcosm of universal problems; unemployment, poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care concerns, crime.  We truly have our fair share of problems.  America has what is often referred to as social “safety nets,” whether tax funded welfare agencies, or benevolent charities with or without a church affiliation.  No one starves to death in the United States. There are roughly 400 churches in the Toledo area that list themselves as Christian; that is virtually a small army of social workers who claim—like Blues Brother’s, Jake and Elwood—they are on a mission from God.  With hundreds of churches within our borders, coupled with numerous homeless shelters and “soup-kitchens” how is it possible people still panhandle on the street with signs that read, “Hungry and homeless, please help”?  Something is seriously wrong with that picture.  To outlaw panhandling is not the solution.  Accountability and personal responsibility is—from the Christian as well as the client.  Toledo needs a transient social worker, a kind of “man on the street” assessing why a person is begging on the streets of Toledo.  Where has the system failed?  Are they members of a church?  If not, why not?  We need to implement some well thought out administrative oversight ensuring those in need are aware of the help available to them. On an organizational level churches need to step up and “sponsor” a transient.  Giving money directly to the lone-wolf does not help reintegrate him or her back into society.  “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” set forth by the United Nations in 1948 was not an attempt to create nirvana but rather determine the least common denominator for the survival of a man.  The preamble to the Human Rights Declaration begins, “Recognition of the inherit dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” (UDHR).  Commenting on this document Hernan Santa Cruz of Chile, and member of the drafting sub-Committee, wrote: “I perceive clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one’s personality.  In the Great Hall…there was an atmosphere of genuine solidity and brotherhood among men and women from all latitudes, the like of which I have not seen again in any international setting” (UDHR).  Our needs, our true needs, are modest; “if you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your stomach, with these things be content” (1 Tim. 6:8*).  Let us fight the good fight as the family of man, first locally, then nationally, and finally internationally.  A homeless shelter is not a home.  People need a place to call their own, a place to safely store a few meager possessions and some basic creature comforts.  Picture a transient farm worker sort of campsite that would replace the dormitory style homeless shelter.  The camp would still be funded and supervised by social workers— they are already in place and drawing a salary.  A small building on the compound could house an office area, a community shower, a dining hall and donation drop off and distribution annex, as well as security personnel.  Breaking the bonds of homelessness is nearly impossible under the existing structure; we need to re-think and restructure our benevolent system to better serve and encourage self-determination.
What are the ramifications of our actions against the scourge of homelessness, hunger and inadequate healthcare on a national level?  It is reasonable to consider Toledo a mid-size city; population 317 thousand, a good size city to experiment with.  This grand endeavor may require some trial and error before all the wrinkles are ironed out; but if we can solve these problems here, we can solve them anywhere, even on an international level.  For some reason America has not been able to find the strength of character to get the job done; there’s enough blame to go around.  We have the resources, we have the infrastructure, what we lack is the desire; failure is not an option— whatever the cost.  Consider the American Red Cross, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  Their sole mission is to [“prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found.  Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being.  It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples” (Red Cross).    If fire runs you out of you house in the middle of the night, it’s the Red Cross that will be there to help you, and have been there helping people regardless of race, nationality, or religion, from its inception, May 21, 1881 until now.  Another agency doing magnificent, inspiring work is Doctors Without Borders.  “DWB provides independent, impartial assistance in more than 60 countries, to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from healthcare, or national disasters.  DWB provides independent, impartial assistance to those most in need.  DWB also reserves the right to speak out to bring attention to neglected crises, challenge inadequacies or abuse of the aid system, and to advocate for improved medical treatments and protocols”(Doctors Without Borders).  “The World health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.  It is responsibility for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends” (WHO). These agencies, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and World Health Organization are only three organizations of many like-minded agencies, UNICEF, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity, the list is staggering.  Charity Watch lists over 600 international organizations serving every need you could imagine, from family planning to youth services.  In addition, “the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) initiated Social Workers Across Nations (SWAN) to provide a mechanism for social workers to offer their expertise and skills to serve humanitarian needs with the international community on a voluntary basis and to develop collaborative linkages with other countries around the world” National and international infrastructure exists.  Why can’t the United Nations general assembly muster the leadership, the chutzpah, to stop the downward spiral of mankind when so much goodwill and so many willing hands are at their disposal?  With a well thought out plan and a little gumption we -Toledoans- could soon deliver a proposal to the White House offering a plan for civilization's advancement; a path that leads to peace and enlightenment for all mankind.    
Internationally communication is at its pinnacle.  We know what is happening everywhere in the world in real time.  Let’s not be hypocritical and plead ignorance pretending we don’t hear the cry from the emaciated bellies of starving children around the world; their cry is our condemnation.  50% of the wealth in the United States is held by the top 20% of the population, the bottom 20% of U.S. citizens’ account for a mere 3.5%.  How can we fairly redistribute wealth in this country without taking it from the wealthy by taxation?  The wealthy earned it fair and square; they played by the rules, the problem is they made the rules.  The Lord’s judgment on the greedy and selfish is stark and chilling; Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money” (Mt. 6:24).  “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mk. 8:36).  “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mk. 10:25).  If the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus—communicated to us by Jesus in the gospel of Luke 16:19-31—does not loosen the death grip the wealthy have on their gold nothing will.  We blue-collar working stiffs must first remove 501C tax exempt status from our Churches; shame on Christians for allowing ourselves to be muzzled in the city square by fear of losing our tax exempt status.  Capitalistic Christianity... what a concept. Only in America can you give money to charity and turn around and spend it on yourself. What is it about "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's" that you don't you understand?   Americans must stop living comfortable, with depraved indifference to the millions of children who are starving; trying to survive where food and water are scarce, squalor and unsanitary latrine conditions common.  Peace on earth is on the horizon if we really want it; peace on earth will not just happen, we have to make it happen.   Begin with a tentative little baby step, let us immediately stop converting corn into ethanol, and begin utilizing our military personnel as humanitarian ambassadors.  The opposite of love is not hate but indifference (Elie Wiesel).  How can we sleep peacefully— surrounded by creature comforts King Solomon would envy—with an apathetic yawn from the depths of a sated belly while millions cry to God for deliverance?  “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but with action and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18).  For those of you struggling on the journey of life to make ends meet, take heart and consider these comforting words sung by Blu the Bear in Walt Disney’s “Jungle Book.”  “Just give me those bare necessities those simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and you strife” (youtube -jungle book).  Live simply so that others may simply live.  Can the heart of man lift itself from its self-imposed and well deserved condemnation?  Can we change our philosophy from “whoever dies with the most toys wins,” to “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Psalm 116:15)  Pray that we can for therein lies the hope of man.  Creation is on a collision course with judgment. We are in a fight to the finish, a death match between the forces of good and evil.  There will always be those choosing evil over the good.  Drug and sex-slave traffickers are some of the most hideous, foul, and loathsome souls that seek to destroy lives.  We must accommodate those who would rather be in a prison cell than conduct themselves as civilized.  Once again addressing the United Nations; we must collectively shoulder the burden of peace; the United States can no longer be the policeman to the world.  There are 193 nations represented in the United Nations partnership.  Planet earth should have a peace keeping force second to none.  
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of His Hands” (Psalms 19:1), since this fact is indisputable Toledo accepts the challenge — lead the world by example, alleviate pain and suffering and offer hope to the world.  

Don Gozdowski – 3142 Franklin Ave – Toledo, Ohio 43608