Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Good Organization

I attended an action assembly of Toledoans United for Social Action, on Monday.
In general, I avoid meetings like a plague. That's because meetings ARE a plague. Had my fill of them back in the old days, when I usually had to go to half a dozen a week. In this case, I made an exception, since my presence had been strongly suggested and because the people from my parish who usually go were off listening to Bishop Gregory. Surprisingly, I've no regrets.
TUSA is a useful organization, committed to common sense strategy and firm, yet non-confrontational tactics. That's a good combination, which is sorely lacking in similar groups.

There were three items on the agenda.
First, home forclosures, which are rampant in the area. The suggested solution is a mediation program, which will help homeowners reach an agreement with lenders, who nowadays, might be someone they've never even heard of, given the way mortgages are being sold as commodities. A similar program is showing some success in Summit County.

Second, vacant houses. To a great extent, this is a result of the first item, since 70% of them are owned by mortgage companies, and another 20% are in the foreclosure process. The suggested solution is improving the tracking of vacant homes, so none slip through the cracks and decay beyond hope.

Third, the amazingly high number of suspensions in the public schools. In the 2006-2007 school year, 49,140 days were missed due to suspensions. TUSA is offering to work with TPS to implement the Foundations program, part of the national Safe and Civil Schools initiative, which has a proven track record in reducing discipline problems. I'm not sure of this one. When school administrators ( Who are not the sharpest tools in the shed to begin with ) are fool enough to think a day off qualifies as a punishment, optimism isn't easy.

You can expect to hear more from me about TUSA, in the future. I'm hooked.

Monroe Street United Methodist Church, West Toledo

The windows, with one exception, are fantastic. If I'd had more time, I'd have photographed all of them.

A couple more views of the trompette en chamade.

The big window on the front wall is a bit odd. In fact, it's the one sour note in the whole place.
The problem isn't the fact that there's nowhere to see the whole thing except immediately below it, since it's blocked by the choir loft. The problem is this.....
.... Those eyes. Yes, you can see they're enormous green globs. It's much worse when seen from the loft. There's only one word to describe it. Sick. I could throw in a few other choice words to describe the artist, but I'll pass.