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Letter to the Editor Last update on April 13, 2017

Editorials from other years 2016, 2015, and 2014

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Ralphie in Wonderland, he’s late, he’s late…, for a very important date…
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to “Maria” for taking the time to express her concerns about Geauga County government. While we cannot confirm her presence at cited public meetings, we appreciate her candor for communicating succinctly and passionately. Maria certainly takes no prisoners.
Published April 13, 2017

I recently retired after working for 38 years and I am so looking forward to having the time to become involved in my community. My taxes are higher than my mortgage and I plan to attend meetings and observe my township trustees, our Geauga County Commissioners, the local zoning committee and the planning commission.

I see the Department of Aging is always willy nilly spending our tax dollars and I don’t know a single senior citizen who is begging for a free lunch or wasting our money playing checkers at the expensive rented space in Chesterland Township. They spend almost a million dollars a year on lunches? Can that be right?

The Geauga County Administrator is paid more than $80,000 a year and nobody can tell me if he is working a 40-hour workweek. Is it not the duty of Frank Gliha the Geauga County Auditor to document pay roll information? I thought it was the law in Ohio. It is a law I followed when I worked.

There are many homes for sale and vacant building in Chardon. Has anyone noticed?

This county is spending too much. Our commissioners are not invested in this county. Directors have been appointed who spend like drunken pirates. That salt storage building looks like Trump Tower. The nepotism in this county is contemptible.

I have read all of the Geauga County Commissioners meeting minutes and see that Ralphie is absent, a lot. And when he is not absent, he seems to be running late, like the bunny in Alice in Wonderland.

Didn’t the commissioners establish a 7:30 a.m. meeting time for the planning commission? (A time that will be too early for this retiree.) Then why is our bunny commissioner late?

Ralph is late, he’s late, for a very important date. No time to say “Hello” “Goodbye” he’s late, he’s late, he’s late….

It’s time for a change.

Maria Yannesejvic
Chardon, Ohio

READER'S RESPONSE TO COMMENTARY “THE END OF A TWENTY-YEAR- RELATIONSHIP.”
Published March 28, 2017

Well stated indeed. When I canceled my subscription, the woman said, "May I ask why?" I said, "Certainly . I have gotten too old to go fishing and have no need of the CVT in which to wrap the fish entrails."
Denver Sallee

Well said, Diane. I am so upset with the left wing bent of the paper. They publish all the garbage from Protect our Parks, but when there are several letters with a conservative bent, they say they can only publish one or two because they are too much alike.
Elsie Tarczy


THANK YOU FOR THE KIND WORDS
Published March 27, 2017

Dear Diane:
Thank you for the kind words and for sharing them with me. Despite my retirement -- which is giving me the time to finish my book – I remain connected to the Times as Tony's proofreader. Plus I remain interested in the community where I lived and practiced my craft for so many years. You and I share our strong beliefs in property rights and freedom of speech, and I agree with much of what you have to say. It doesn't bother me to be labeled a Democrat, even though I currently am a registered Republican again. That can change.

Best regards,
Dave

GILLETTE IS GOOD FOR MATHENEY
Published March 21, 2017

Dear Editor,
Brigid Mary Matheney, the Prosecutor from Jim Flaiz's office wasted her money by hiring two attorneys. The Chardon Prosecutor James Gillette is doing a much better job for her than any lawyer ever could.

Sincerely,
Scott


CHINESE PAGODA IN QUAINT AUBURN TOWNSHIP
Published March 18, 2017

Dear Editor:
My husband and I drove through Auburn Township yesterday and saw a building you have referenced in your news reporting web site. The name of the structure is Adam Hall.

What a huge disappointment to see a Chinese pagoda in the middle of what is billed to be a “quaint” township! It’s a really unattractive building.

What are you people thinking? You could have built something architecturally appropriate and inviting, but you built something that looks like a Chinese food drive through.

Anyway, after we saw the building we realized it was dinner time so we decided to order take out from Tai Pan.

We give Tai Pan a five star review for wonderful service and a delicious meal. Adam Hall gets no stars whatsoever, it's a total zero.

Respectfully,
Mrs. Sternower, Middlefield, OH


Dear Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga County,
Published March 14, 2017

Below is a letter I submitted to the Geauga Constitutional Council Website.

Today I read that the lousy, worthless "Prosecutor" James Gillette agreed to suppression of the fact that Matheney refused to take the breathalyzer test after being handcuffed and escorted to Bainbridge Police Station after her Ford SUV was towed.

Can Geauga County become more inbred and corrupt? How many drunk drivers have the privilege of refusing a breathalyzer, then have the PROSECUTOR agree to suppress the fact that they refused the breathalyzer? Whose side is the "Prosecutor" on? Certainly not on the side of the families who have lost someone to drunk driving.

Brigid Matheney was arrested for drunk driving, the next thing you know, she will be the new Geauga Leadership Emerald award winner. They gave the award to weak and pathetic Dan McClelland and now the clown Scott Hildenbrand. I was disgusted when Dan McClelland was given this award, never mind his wife is on the Board. And I will never support that worthless organization again. Why not nominate someone who is arrested for drunk driving? That should make their alumni proud.

And where are those phonies from M.A.D.D.? Mothers Against Drunk Driving is nowhere to be found when a Geauga Leadership graduate is arrested for drunk driving. They are nowhere to be found.

Martin V. Godschwin


WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO KNOW?
Published March 1, 2017

That’s the question that has been asked since well before the last election took place. The President has made the claim that millions of non-citizens, either of the legal or illegal varieties, cast ballots in the 2016 race. That total number remains in dispute for good reason, but the fact that non-citizens have voter registration cards and in some cases are actually showing up to vote has never really been in dispute, despite what you regularly hear. Further proof of this reality comes to us from Ohio this week, where the Secretary of State has concluded an investigation and found that there were indeed such votes cast and that law enforcement has become involved.

The following is from the Ohio Secretary of State web page:


Husted said the actual number could be higher because the state cannot check the status of voters who registered using the last four digits of their social security numbers. Husted's office has asked the federal government to allow states to access information about non-citizens who have received social security numbers.

The analysis conducted by Husted is thus far the largest sample of its kind that has been taken with respect to the 2016 vote. However, it should be noted that the Ohio study did not purport to exhaustively examine other kinds of potentially illegal voting, including votes by felons or votes cast on behalf of deceased individuals.

In conclusion, there are major problems with the election system. Husted’s report is a good start but falls short of exposing the full gravity of the problem or identifying who is and who is not a qualified voter at the polls. This issue needs further investigation.

~Editor


COFFEE WITH THE COMMISSIONER
Published February 27, 2017

In my ongoing effort to connect with Geauga County Citizens I will be offering a Coffee with a Commissioner session in the following location: Panera Bread 8480 Washington St. on March 8th at 9:00 a.m. Join me, for some great conversation and support out Geauga County businesses. Watch the paper next week for a new location. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome by calling the county office.

Skip Claypool – Geauga County Commissioner


INBREEDING IN THE AUBURN POND
Published February 20, 2017

The inbreeding in the Auburn pond is stagnating, at best.

What the hell do they need to enlarge the white elephant for? A kitchen? That's going to be at an extraordinary cost and they better have some documentation to show the recovery of that type of investment over what period of time …

Pathetic, is such an inadequate word for such dismal performance and lack of consideration for the taxpayers ... then again, not new news, eh?

Claudine Steinfurth

LETTER TO EDITOR RE: "SANCTUARY COUNTY"
Published Tuesday February 14, 2017
Updated Wednesday Feburary 15, 2017

Note the newest communication is at top and earlier comunications follow.
 
Shelly,

You are entitled to the opinion you state in the first paragraph. If you are following the nationwide dialogue, you are aware that decisions to create "Sanctuary" are coming from city administrators, not county leaders. We personally do not believe that "immigration" is a states-rights issue, but a national one that certainly involves the issues of safety and welfare for those of us who reside here. Moreover, anyone who feels passionate enough to demand "sanctuary" for immigrants should be willing to personally sponsor them financially, spiritually, and psychologically. After all, many of us do not even make the decision to bring babies into the world without first having a plan about how we nourish them to a productive maturity. Otherwise, the presence of so many individuals may resemble the alleys where unwanted and unloved feral stray cats live out a meager existence.

Thank you for informing us that Matt Lynch is providing a venue next week. Now that we know, we will attend. Why is your word "discuss" in quotes? How is his "discussion" any different from a "discussion" proposed by Mrs. Buckles? From your context, I get the distinct impression that a discussion of Mrs. Buckles' original request smacks of very partisan, i.e., Democratic overtones. From your context, I really have to demand that you abide by the same principles that you demand of others. It was not my intention to conclude that your original communication was politically-oriented, but your current slant makes me cautious of your intentions.

Mr. and Mrs. Buckles attend many public meetings. In fact, Tom and I really enjoyed Geauga Park District meetings, but the group that regularly attended these GPD meetings with the Buckles, along with the Buckles themselves, took over the meetings with such lack of empathy and compassion for the rights of other attendees that the GPD commissioners were forced to eliminate public comment altogether. Tom and I are sorry that Mr. and Mrs. Buckles and members of Protect Geauga Parks were so oblivious to others' First Amendment rights. If these individuals are so dispectful of other Geauga County taxpayers, how can we trust them to understand the responsibilities of admission to the USA? Quite frankly, your message seems to be one of hypocrisy, and I am sorry for you.

As frequent attendees of public meetings, we became aware quite a long time ago at a very local level that any communications we have with public governmental entities are the subject of public information requests. That knowledge is helpful to us when we address public entities. We are surprised that Mrs. Buckles is so sensitive to having her request made known. When time permits, we make public information requests from many township and county-level governmental entities in an effort to be knowledgeable. It is, of course, time-consuming. We also check out new filings in municipal and common pleas courts and study judicial decisions. It is critically important to study and analyze before making decisions.

We thank you for informing us of the upcoming meeting undertaken by Matt Lynch. Because we are busy, we may have not made this meeting without knowing about it. Perhaps if you are open to "discussion," you might find the content helpful in arriving at a final decision regarding your concerns. Quite frankly, I remain surprised that you have chosen to be a liaison for Mrs. Buckles when I know that she is perfectly capable intellectually of solving her own problems.

I believe that I have addressed your concerns. We will continue to investigate and to document our contributions to www.auburntownship.org, We will look forward to seeing you at the February 20 Auburn Township meeting at 6:30 P.M. It is always important to learn. My conversation with you, on the "Sanctuary" matter, however, is at an end.

Kind regards,
Diane Jones

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On 02/15/2017 12:03 AM, Michelle Lewis wrote:
Thanks for your response, Diane.

I am glad to hear you are open to a discussion on this topic. This is a complex issue, worthy of careful consideration of facts and differing perspectives. And the place for that discussion should be during a public meeting of the Geauga County Commissioners, to whom Mrs. Buckles made the original request via email.

Instead of civil public discourse we now have Matt Lynch and his Tea Party faithful gathering next week to "discuss" the issue. People certainly have the right to peacefully gather and share their ideas - I don't object to that. But I object to Mrs. Buckles' request being made widely available without any consideration of the matter by the Commissioners. Per the Commissioners the matter had not been discussed before Mr. Buckles confronted them today.

I have no idea how you came to be aware of Mrs. Buckles' request to create a sanctuary county. I can't imagine you would have made a public request for her email without someone first making you aware she had made the request. Regardless, it is deeply disturbing to me to think that Commissioners are selectively distributing information in a way that they feel will elicit the opposition they desire.

How we conduct public business matters - I'm confident we agree on that.

Regards,
Shelly Lewis
Sent from my iPad

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On Feb 13, 2017, at 8:56 PM, AuburnTownship.org wrote:

Hi, Michelle!

We remember that trustee meeting well. We are very glad that you took the time to share your thoughts with candor. We respect your viewpoint. Interestingly, although Tom traces his own ancestry in America to four signers of the Mayflower Compact, I am only a second-generation American whose first generation parents were enthusiastic about attending public meetings and who encouraged their two children to participate in the civic process. They were very grateful to be U.S. citizens, as are we, and they demanded that we think for ourselves and be willing to take psychological risks by encouraging others to discuss their views. Further, while a high-school student, I was unable to study the German language that was part of my own ancestry because of the outcome of World War II. Thus, as far back as my own youth and as a result of discussions with my parents, I was made very aware of the role of political outcomes. Regardless, I was privileged to teach not only English and German, but also Spanish and Japanese at the high school level. I did not necessarily agree with the political stances taken by any of the leadership of those countries, but I love(d) the languages for themselves and enjoyed my experiences working with young people.

We have undertaken the website www.auburntownship.org for the last six years. I don't know if you are aware, but it grew out of a political stance taken by the three current trustees when they disregarded the fact that our farm of 20 plus years is by virtue of Ohio Revised Code 519.21 exempt from any township zoning. Nevertheless, these same trustees by their unwillingness to discuss any ideas at all with us after initially accepting our dedication to having a farm wind turbine to help defray our electricity costs forced us into a three-year litigation that was resolved by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals in December 2012. In addition, not only did the trustees deny us any conversation, but they also decided to go to newsprint media to label us as dishonorable and unscrupulous individuals who were motivated by "commercial interests" instead of respecting us as genuine farmers/ranchers who have raised horses and grown our own crops for the last 22 years.

The difference between the above-referenced trustees and us is that we welcome dialogue. If you re-read the latest commentary, you will note that we do not object to immigrants with the same dream that my grandparents and Tom's great-great-great-great-great grandparents shared. The concern that we thought we addressed was the financial burden that "sanctuary city" or "sanctuary county" may propose to taxpayers who are supporting other issues, very often at some very exorbitant tax rates. When our family's ancestors arrived here in Ohio, they were faced by overwhelming burdens. In the case of my ancestors, their language skills were minimal or non-existent and they arrived here with not much more than a rickety cardboard chest, the family Bible, and a few pennies. They rose to the challenges, although those took years to address. and even made it through the Depression, narrowly avoiding foreclosure of the family home. Through all of it, no one paid their rent for them, paid their utilities, or gave them food. One winter during the Depression, my grandfather shot a deer when my grandmother, mother, and two aunts, then little children, all were suffering through scarlet fever. Those conditions did not alleviate the penalty to my grandfather of shooting a deer out of season; he lost the food for his family and had to pay a fine to boot at a time when he was not employed.

It is my understanding that there are conditions today whereby immigrants qualify for county assistance. It is my understanding, from listening to recent broadcasts, that "sanctuary cities" are exempt from abiding by any immigration rules. As you are aware, the immigration situation is in great flux and capable of being resolved any number of ways. What we published in the latest commentary asked a number of questions without really affording our own political opinion, except to posit the question whether those who immigrate from foreign countries have the right to expect assistance from residents of the new country. Presenting such a situation is not a reflection of paranoia as much as it is a concern for getting readers to think about the serious questions that confront our republic. Moreover, raising these questions is by no means as paranoid, we believe, as those participants who, of late, have marched in many cities with as much close-mindedness as they claim their opponents to possess.

We are undoubtedly gratified that reading our commentary sparked you to engage in serious thought. In raising such an issue, we are well aware that we cannot please everyone. If you have read our other contributions, you have been aware that we provide original documentation and do not insist on our viewpoint, although we have encountered some one-sided responses provoked by strong feelings. Our own feelings are that we are privileged to be able to keep learning as we present ideas and raise questions. When it is all said and done, we have no objections to gaining perspectives that my differ from our original thoughts. How else can we learn and grow?

We are glad to have met you at the trustee meeting. We are hopeful that you have been keeping up on township affairs. Perhaps you are aware that the trustees are considering approval of a Zoning Amendment known as 16ZC-01; it is a noise amendment in response to a noise amendments on the books since 2014. The latter, it turns out, is non-enforceable, per Geauga Planning Director, David Dietrich. At any rate, the trustees will have the third meeting on this noise amendment on Monday, February 20, at 6:30 P.M. Few Auburn residents have taken the time to hear the issues and explanations, although they could be critically important if this noise issue supplants the 2014 unenforceable noise rule. We hope that we may see you at this meeting. Tom will be videoing as a way of continuing to provide the documentation that you have cited as necessary. We agree.

Thank you for your input. We love meaningful discussion of ideas.

Diane
www.auburntownship.org

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On 02/13/2017 06:19 PM, Michelle Lewis wrote:
Hi Tom and Diane:

We met at least a year ago at an Auburn Township meeting. I was asking the trustees to communicate with Kenston about road conditions and to share concerns they had about the relocated Kenston Bus Garage.

I read your commentary on sanctuary counties with dismay. I fail to see how it harms our county to have an educated discussion about refugees and immigrants. While many are opposed, many others feel a duty to help fellow human beings, regardless of their status. I would hope to have a fact-based discussion with elected leaders. Instead, I’m getting paranoia.

Disappointed.

Michelle Lewis



SHAME ON THE GEAUGA PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
Published February 8, 2017

I want to thank you for your recent postings.

In Geauga County, there is a double standard of reporting news and how people are treated by law enforcement. Brigid M. Matheney refused the breathalyzer test, but still has her driver's license? I thought that if someone refused the breathalyzer, they would have their license automatically suspended for a year. Not when you are protected by the Congressman and the Prosecutor.

The local papers did not cover this. This happened in November and we are just hearing about this?

Drunk driving is drunk driving. Watch and see, they will slap her on the wrist, and this will be a huge slap in the face to the police who made the lawful arrest.

Those police officers saved lives that night. I'm not as confident that Congressman Joyce and Prosecutor Jim Flaiz do the same.

Congressman David Joyce and Prosecutor Jim Flaiz will own the resolution of this situation. Please keep posting, the local papers are failing the community.

Signed,
Martin Victor Godschwin


WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?
Published February 6, 2017

Have you noticed all the attention that the Geauga Prosecutor’s Office has received since January 19, 2017? Starting with Channel 8 and Channel 19, television and print news media have shared with the public a police dash-cam video showing the Bainbridge Police stopping a Geauga County Assistant Prosecutor on November 19, 2016, for weaving across the center line, for driving with an open container of alcohol, and for failing three field sobriety tests. Lady Justice gaged

Does it matter that it took sixty days from the event for the Associated Press wire, print news media, and television stations to share the report with the public? Does it matter that a Geauga County public servant behind the wheel could have injured or maimed other drivers on State Route 306 in Bainbridge near East Washington Street?

I noticed that The Chagrin Valley Times/Geauga Courier this past week printed a detailed account of civil litigation filed just the week before in Geauga Common Pleas Court. On the other hand, both publications have thus far failed to report on the DUI arrest of the public servant documented by police dash-cam video. What kind of gag order must exist when The Chagrin Valley Times/Geauga Courier reports with such bias and selectivity?

Diane Jones
Auburn Township


LETTER TO EDITOR RE: VIDEO TAPE OF COMMISSIONER MEETINGS
Published January 10, 2017

My husband I were disappointed and shocked to read on your site that Commissioner Raffaele Spidalieri ended the taping of the Commissioners meetings.

My husband works second shift, and I work part-time third shift, but we care for my elderly mother in our home so we don't have the luxury of attending meetings. The video of meetings that are posted on the GEauga Park District website and the Commissioners website are really a lifeline of information for us.

Raffaele Spidalieri was callous when he stated, “If they want to see the meeting, they should come…” What an arrogant blowhard he has become. I remember when he first ran, he represented himself as a working class man. He has no concept of what a working family goes through and we are sorry we supported him.

David Lair is paid over $80,000 dollars a year and he is too busy to take five minutes to post the video? How many hours does he work? It was our impression that Lair was only part-time and still making an obscene retire/rehire salary. And now he is overwhelmed and cannot post a video?

Something isn’t rotten in Denmark, something is rotten in Geauga County and I think the source of the smell is coming from blowhard Commissioner Spidalieri.

My neighbors told me I would be sorry if I voted out Mary Samide, and they were right. Today, I am missing Commissioner Mary Samide.

Mr. & Mrs. Sternower, Middlefield, OH