That's not to say that we haven't faced our challenges. Employee safety is a top priority, and we work hard to prevent workplace accidents no matter how minor. With a safety record that is significantly better than our industry's average, we think our performance speaks volumes of our commitments.
And like a growing number of companies today, we face everyday complaints and criticisms from labor unions that are perhaps jealous of our continued success and open partnership with employees. But looking at the whole -- one of the longest-running success records in American business today, with 38 consecutive years of growth; one of America's "Most Admired Companies" year after year; recognition as a top employer-of-choice and one of America's most veteran-friendly employers; honors in environmental performance across the nation; and recognition of our charity and community commitments -- we think our values and performance speak for themselves and are proud to call Cincinnati our home.
-- Pamela Lowe Vice President, Corporate Communications Cintas Corporation
Get Mean With Jean
I concur that U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt will never change her position on the war in Iraq ("Jean Schmidt's War," issue of July 18). Anyone who would call a decorated war hero like John Murtha a coward is clearly delusional.
With her mind set in concrete, the only solution is to reposition her mind out of the House to some place where it can't do as much damage. I have never contributed to a candidate outside of my district before, but in 2008 whoever is running against Mean Jean will be getting some dollars from me.
-- Terry R. Hall, Clifton Heights
Help Me Make the Changes
I want to thank Stephanie Dunlap for her fine column "Exchanging Ideas About Needles" (issue of July 11).
I commented that Cincinnati was not "in my lifetime" to have such a program. That statement is true if I'm fighting the battle as a lone ranger. As the saying goes, "A lone wolf is easy prey."
By the time I left Cincinnati City Council in 1999, a majority of council was prepared to approve of a syringe exchange program, but the issue had cooled and a legislative opportunity did not present itself before I left. Some of the members of council who were prepared to vote favorably were Mayor Roxanne Qualls, Bobbie Sterne, Minette Cooper, Jim Tarbell and Todd Portune. I believe that other members not specifically mentioned here with whom I served would today support a syringe exchange program in Cincinnati.
Syringe Exchange Programs are proven by every major study -- including those of the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences -- to reduce HIV infections and do not promote increased use of drugs in the drug-using and addicted populations.
In 1994, I visited a needle exchange program in Cleveland where, facially illegal, the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Department of Health allowed such a program. I saw with my own eyes the life-saving quality of a medically supervised Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) where SEP volunteers exchanged a clean needle for a dirty or used needle from a program participant. The clean needle cost 12 cents; the care for a person who contracts AIDS with a dirty needle costs over $120,000 in lifetime public care costs.
Since I did the interview with Dunlap, there is good news on the horizon, as the U.S. Congress voted on June 28 to lift the ban on the District of Columbia's use of its local funds in support of D.C. government's Syringe Exchange Programs. The District of Columbia has the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate per capita of any area in the United States.
Inspired by Dunlap's column, on July 12 I introduced an amendment to a National NAACP Resolution on International Affairs (Health and Global AIDS support) more clearly specifying the NAACP's advocacy in supporting medically supervised syringe exchange and condom distribution programs worldwide. The amendment passed the NAACP Convention with a wide vote of the delegates.
Perhaps there's still hope for a Syringe Exchange Program in Cincinnati. But we can't have such a program if I'm a lone ranger. The success of such a program can occur only if you help me and if our medical community, public officials and our HIV/AIDS medical specialists join their voices. We can do it if we are steadfast.
-- Tyrone K. Yates Ohio House of Representatives
Article Was Not Fully Informative
I'm responding to the article, "Good Hair, Bad Air" (issue of July 4), which covers the regulation of a product that has been deemed as a contributor to air pollution.
Let me first state that I fully support the regulations, which value the welfare of the environment over consumerism. It's my personal opinion that the bureaucracies mentioned in this article had been delegated with virtuous intention.
The problem is that the article provides only one scientific statistic that is relative to the issue. While the article is composed of several citations of authoritative information, it lacks enough scientific information to be fully informative.
It's difficult to believe that such an easily resolved problem, not having been resolved yet, could be responsible for so much air pollution.
-- Chris Hamberg, Fort Thomas