Toledo Humanists Disappointed Gary Johnson Refused To Vote On Six-Week Ban Resolution

Toledo Member of Council at Large Gary Johnson (D)

Toledo City Council passed a resolution on June 26th that condemned passage of the six-week abortion ban by the state legislature back in April. The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie support the passage of the resolution. The issue we have was the refusal of Council member Gary Johnson to vote. He fled the council chambers so he didn’t have to vote on the resolution.

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Toledo And Lucas County Need To Step Up To Save Public Transportation

It was reported in the news this week that the Board of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) voted to cut Sunday and Holiday service due to continuing financial problems. SHoWLE sent an email to the city and county elected officials to step up and save the only public transportation option in Lucas county.

Some background:

The service cut, which, with one exception, will take effect Jan. 6, is expected to cover most of a $3-million-plus budget gap that TARTA leaders had hoped to fill by switching the agency’s local subsidy from property taxes to a sales tax.

But the sales tax failed — for a third time in eight years — to clear a statutory process for getting on last month’s general-election ballot in Lucas County, and the transit authority had no alternative revenue proposal ready to go.

That process required all of TARTA’s current member communities’ legislative bodies to endorse the admission of Lucas County as a new member. Sylvania Township’s trustees, as they had done twice before, voted that resolution down in July, and several TARTA trustees and Mr. Gee on Thursday blamed them for the transit authority’s current situation.

Among board members opposing the service cut was Daniel Woodcock, who said imposing it before seeing how a fare increase might improve the authority’s finances would do a “major disservice” to the community.

But agency administrators said that with each 25 cents of increase generating no more than $250,000 in revenue, and with TARTA already having exhausted its monetary reserves, there was no way to put off the service cut any further.

TARTA board approves service cuts

Here is the email SHoWLE President Douglas Berger sent on behalf of the group:

My name is Douglas Berger and I am President of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE), a chapter of the American Humanist Association. I am contacting you today with our concern about the current struggles of the TARTA system and the announced end to Sunday and Holiday service.

I don’t think I need to say that a strong and vibrant city and county that is able to be inclusive of all socioeconomic strata needs to have a strong public transportation system. Toledo and Lucas county does not have one and the one we do have seems to be getting worse.

Cutting service impacts the people less able to have or afford alternatives. They may have to work on Sunday or they want to attend church services. Cuts in service also impacts local businesses by reducing the ability of some customers to visit their stores.

I watched again as one stakeholder community was able to block a viable plan for TARTA to survive and be the public transportation option we can all be proud of. I’m afraid that the block was due to a lack of compassion and empathy for the workers and others who depend on the service.

We here at SHoWLE would like to know what are you doing or plan to do to fix TARTA for long term success? I know public transportation isn’t as flashy as a new employer or a renovated hotel downtown, but many people who make up the backbone of the city ride the bus and they vote.

One idea I had is to see if TARTA could be dissolved and a new authority agency created to take over the assets and this new authority would start off funded by a sales tax as most modern public transportation systems are in this country.

The county might see if a small percentage of the hotel motel tax could be used to supplement TARTA funding until a better funding source could be used.

The other stakeholders in the TARTA system need to pressure the lone hold out to allow a sales tax measure to take place. A sales tax would be better than a property tax.

SHoWLE really hopes that all members of the TARTA authority can work to solve this issue so Toledo won’t lose out future businesses who see a broken public transportation system as a negative when considering where to locate.

 

Our Pride Booth Introduced The Group To Many New People

Our booth at Toledo Pride festival

SHoWLE had our first informational booth at the Toledo Pride Festival on August 18th. Doug, Shawn, Margarette, and Larry had over 50 people show interest in the group.

It was a beautiful day with a large crowd visiting all the booths in Promenade Park in Downtown Toledo.

“Having a booth takes a lot of time and effort to pull off,” SHoWLE President Doug Berger explained. “For our first time, we did a great job. I have a lot ideas on how to improve our booth for the future.”

If you be interested in helping staff our booth at other events let Doug or Shawn know.

We Are Now Offically A Chapter Of The American Humanist Association!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is now an official chapter of the American Humanist Association

(Toledo, Ohio, June 7, 2018) – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) had their chapter application approved by the American Humanist Association.

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

“This is a major foundational stone we needed for SHoWLE to have a chance at a strong start and become a sustainable long term active group in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan,” SHoWLE President Doug Berger said. “The AHA does a great job supporting their local chapters and it will be a great asset for Humanists in Toledo.”

Media Contacts

Douglas Berger – President
567-302-0209

Shawn Meagley – co-founder
419-266-7945

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Humanists Ask Toledo Officials Not To Insert Themselves In Saving St. Anthony

screenshot of Toledo officials and Rep. Marcy Kaptur at a press conference demanding the Diocese of Toledo save St. Anthony church

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) urge Toledo city officials and US Rep. Marcy Kaptur not to insert themselves in the effort to save St. Anthony Catholic Church on Nebraska Avenue.

Seeing Rep. Kaptur and current and past Toledo elected officials standing at a podium with the city of Toledo seal, demanding the Diocese of Toledo not tear down St. Anthony is troubling,” Doug Berger, President of SHoWLE said.

The separation of church and state not only protects the government from religious intrusion but also protects religion from some intrusion by the government.

“It sets a bad precedent, especially as organized religion continues to lose members,” Berger said. “The City of Toledo can’t save all the old churches in the city and when it chooses not to then that is going to be a no win situation.”

The Diocese of Toledo, in a statement, wondered where the calls to save the building were for the past 13 years after it closed and as the building continued to deteriorate.

“The government officials demanding the building not be torn down will stick the Diocese with the repair bills should they prevail. The only way for tax dollars to be spent on a renovation and/or reuse would require the property be sold to a non-religious entity at a fair market price,” Berger said.

The misleading statement by a community member that demolition would be a health and safety issue is also a problem.

“If the building were kept, it would still need any asbestos and lead paint removed and it would have to meet modern building standards. I don’t think the Diocese hired a fly by night demolition company who wouldn’t take the required precautions in tearing down such an old building.”

The building is historical and significant to many people in the community but there hasn’t been any specific plans from the people wanting to keep it.

SHoWLE believes that Rep. Kaptur and the city of Toledo shouldn’t pick sides in the issue and they should stay neutral as called for in the 1st amendment.

Related story:

Kaptur, Kapszukiewicz call on diocese to halt St. Anthony demolition

Secular Humanists Make The Newspaper

screenshot Front of the Religion section Toledo Blade 06/02/2018

The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie had a nice write up in the religion section of the Toledo Blade. The print version took up nearly half a page and was above the fold. We could never afford advertising that good.

To question whether morals and values can exist apart from theology cuts to the heart of secular humanism. While atheism simply denotes that an individual does not believe in God, secular humanism “kind of takes that a step further,” Ms. Meagley said; it answers the “now what” question that, for some, follows when a person comes to terms with a disbelief in God.

Secular humanism’s affirmation of an ethical life suggests parallels between the ways that a conscientious religious adherent and a conscientious humanist would live. But a humanist, significantly, would do so without tying these views and values to theism or the supernatural.

Good Without God

A New Dawn For Humanism In Toledo

A new day is dawning over Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. From Monroe to Findlay and from Sandusky to Defiance, a new group is forming to give a safe space and community to people who are secular humanists.

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) values people, emphasizes reason, and focuses on this world. Our purpose is educating the public about Humanism and building a Humanist community in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Membership is open to all Humanists in substantial agreement with our principles and values. Our regular meetings and scheduled events will be free and open to the public.

SHoWLE will be having an organizational meeting on May 5th, 2018 at 1 PM in the meeting room at the Washington Branch of the Toledo Public Library 5560 Harvest Lane Toledo OH 43623. The plan is to hold regular monthly meetings and become a chapter of the American Humanist Association.

Humanism is a democratic and ethical lifestance which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human and other natural values in a spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.

For most, humanism is an alternative to religion. In many cases and situations there is a humanist alternative to problems we see in the world. We feel that in the Toledo area, that alternative isn’t being heard. or at least being addressed.

We are looking to build a strong core of individuals who share Humanist values and who want to build a vibrant community for Humanists

If you have any questions, or for media inquiries, feel free to use our contact form.

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