Speak up for science and sanity
The West Geauga School Board meeting held on Aug. 23 was a display of bad manners and threatening behavior. The board indicated that face masks would be worn in school buildings during the first quarter of school, and I support this decision 100 percent. I went to the meeting to show my support of the board for trying to keep our kids safe. I prepared a speech thanking the board for following the recommendations of health officials.
But when I got to the meeting, all the speaking spots were already taken up by anti-maskers. They pushed people aside, ran through the school and filled the speaking spots before anyone else could get there. The first three speakers didn’t even live in the West Geauga Local School District.
The anti-mask crowd cited bad science, they chanted rambling prayers, and overall, made very little sense. They called the school board communists several times, to great applause from half of the audience. One man threatened to call police on any parent who sends their kids to school in face masks. Another man pointed at the board and said, “You are communists, we know who you are, and I can tell you where the next protest will be, in front of your sidewalks.” Another taunted the board, saying he would send his kids to school maskless, daring them to discipline his kids.
Then, after the public speaking time was completed, the anti-science crowd continued to shout and threaten the school board. No one in the audience could hear the remainder of the board’s business because of all the shouting and chanting. It was an obscene display of unhinged behavior.
I beg of the rest of the parents out there – show up to these meetings. The anti-science crowd is small, but they are loud. We need to speak up for science and for sanity.
The smarts and the stupids
Growing up I was taught that the world’s people are divided into “haves” and “have-nots” who struggle against each other. Now I believe people are divided into “smarts” and “stupids.” This morning in our little town of Chagrin Falls, school started with masks required for students in K-6 as well as teachers and staff. We have a “stupid” flying his plane around the town with a long banner trailing it that says “Muzzle our school board not our kids.”
The “smarts” are vaccinated and still wearing masks. The “stupids” are fighting for space in overcrowded hospital ICUs.
Lessons from past
This is in response to the article posted in the Times with regard to DEIJ by Barbara Christian.
I had to smile when I read the article, especially near the end when it mentioned that we showed how bad we are and we were exposed in the media because store owners boarded up their store in preparation for the “peaceful Black Lives Matter protest,” as stated in the column.
Were the protests peaceful in downtown Cleveland? What about in Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other locations around the United States? They were not.
We need to learn from the past and believe that our response to situations needs to be governed by this historical perspective.
We are a nation of rules and laws. Why would the store owners want to take a chance that their stores, their livelihood would be vandalized and looted. Look at the poor woman who owned the cookie store in downtown Cleveland that was vandalized and she was terrorized by an angry mob. Were you there to protect her? Would you have protected her, or would you just feel it was social justice vandalizing her business and threatening her life? One of the only stores that was not damaged or threatened by the mob was Corbo’s. The owners stood outside with guns to protect their investment and to protect their lives. You do not stand there and negotiate with a mob of people that do not have respect for property or human life. You neutralize them any way you can, to protect and defend what is yours, and that you have worked your entire life to have.
I own my own business and I would not hesitate to defend what is mine or defend the people that I know and love. I would not have issues with defending people that I do not even know if they needed help defending themselves or their property or businesses.
Saying that the store owners looked bad is just not true. Saying that they learned from the past and took precautions because of what they saw on the news and how it impacted cities as well as human life is being smart, and being prepared. History taught them to be prepared.
When a hurricane is coming, people prepare by boarding up their homes and businesses. What was on the horizon was a hurricane of an unpredictable nature.
I am one of many Geauga County residents who have been very disappointed with the way Geauga Health Commissioner Tom Quade has conducted himself since the beginning of this pandemic. His sarcasm, snide remarks and condescending tone have proven that he is not fit for this position. I question his ability to advise our school boards, as he appears unable to overcome his disdain for people who disagree with his opinions.
As evidenced by his latest Facebook posts, Tom is unprofessional at best. Lately, it seems he has caused more problems than he has solved for this community through his biased and irresponsible communications. His recommendations for masking and student quarantine are questionable, based on the very low percentage of Geauga County that has tested positive for COVID-19 over the last 18 months. These numbers do not support the panic he has tried to infiltrate within our community, nor the quality of life he has so grossly disrupted. The removal of Tom Quade as Geauga Public Health commissioner seems to be the only sensible solution.
Walter “Skip” Claypool is doing a truly commendable job for Chester Township residents as our liaison to zoning. Trustee Claypool is a very hard-working man, a family man and an ardent supporter of our U.S. Constitution. His first consideration is for our safety, property rights and to make sure we do not get taxed out of homes.
Political supporters of Joe Mazzurco and Craig Richter are attacking Skip over “Henry House” issues. Henry House was purchased under ousted Trustee Judy Caputo’s administration more than ten years before Skip Claypool was ever elected.
Joe Mazzurco, Craig Richter, Ken Radtke and Frank Kolk were never attacked like this or blamed for their failings to deal with Henry House, not one word.
At a recent meeting, there were questions about the website and Trustee Claypool reported that the Geauga County ADP addressed those issues. He also gave an update on the razing of Henry House and the scope of work that has been completed.
All trustee meetings are taped/recorded and if you listen to them you will hear that Skip Claypool has responded to all issues, especially those concerning zoning.
These attacks on Trustee Skip Claypool are political and personal.
Judy K. Zamlen-Spotts
Support Marc Kotora
Marc Kotora has represented Ward 4 as our Solon councilman for eight years.
He is a lifelong resident of Solon and small business owner who has served us with integrity and grit. He has never missed a council meeting.
He has served on the economic development committee for six years which has generated over $4 million in new payroll tax in 2020, even during the pandemic.
He worked diligently to keep Liberty Ford in Solon.
Marc Kotora’s performance has been exemplary.
His experience is irreplaceable.
Understanding critical race theory
I’m writing regarding pushback against the school board DEIJ initiative in Chagrin Falls. One of the fears of those opposing the DEIJ initiative is that somehow, tenets of a 40-year-old legal theory known as critical race theory, or CRT, will be inserted into the school curriculum.
As part of my training for certification as a facilitator in discussions on race and racism, I may be one of the few people who has actually read some of the foundational documents of CRT.
Therefore, I can speak with some authority about what CRT is and what it isn’t. Most of the heated discussion of CRT comes from pundits and ordinary citizens who haven’t read anything by CRT scholars.
CRT is a 40-year-old collection of scholarship which examines U.S. law and history using the lens of race and racism. It is graduate level scholarship taught in law schools, not in secondary schools.
CRT examines systemic racism in law and power structures in society. As such it does not focus on personal racism of individual white people. CRT does not advocate shaming of white school children, rather it seeks to examine how systemic racism is embedded in laws and policies.
Opponents of CRT conflate it with anything having to do with DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).
To understand why we are having this argument now, it is important to understand what and who is behind the furor over CRT.
The pushback against CRT is actually pushback against teaching students to think critically about the legacy of racism in our country.
The fight against including a full accounting of systemic racism in the teaching U.S. history to our students is led by right-wing activists, such as Christopher Rufo, quoted here from the Washington Post:
“We have successfully frozen their brand – ‘critical race theory’– into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category,” Rufo wrote. “The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’ We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”
Thus, the pushback against CRT is not a grassroots phenomenon but an example of astroturfing (the practice of masking the sponsors of a message to make it appear as though it originates from grassroots participants).
It is interesting to note where protests against “Critical Race Theory” are occurring. The protests are predominately at schools in which the students are mostly white, such as Chagrin Falls. Schools with predominately non-white populations have explored systemic racism in our society for a long time.
The pushback against exploring DEIJ in Chagrin schools comes from an unwillingness to even discuss, let alone confront our whole history and give our children critical tools to shape a better, more equitable society.
Chief leaves strong legacy
To be a police officer in today’s world is a difficult and, at times, an unrewarding job. People call the police when something is not as it should be, a deer is found killed on the highway, couple of suspicious guys are hanging around the neighbor’s house, a domestic fight has occurred, a traffic crash has happened and people have been injured or killed.
Officers often have only a split second to respond in some life and death situations. Having a professional, well-trained, service oriented Russell police officer who can provide a human and compassionate response to any situation is what our citizens want and deserve.
Our Russell police officers are fine examples of what many communities across America are trying to achieve. It takes years of establishing a culture of mutual citizen respect and true affection for the community they serve. To gain the type of rapport is the hallmark of our Russell police.
It has been the result of one man’s devotion and guidance that the Russell police are so respected and admired. For 32 years, Tim Carroll has been a patrolman, sergeant, and for the past 15 years, chief of the Russell police. He has carefully created a culture of respect and service with a smile in our township. His philosophy and approach to community policing is in perfect concert with what the people of Russell want for their police.
Chief Carroll orchestrated this philosophy that keeps Russell one of the safest communities in the county. Back in 2014, Russell was named the safest community in Ohio with a population under 10,000 people. Last year, 2020, an organization that rates public safety for the real estate industry rated Russell as the seventh safest community under 10,000 people in the entire United States. As the result of Chief Carroll’s 32 years of conscious effort in knowing what our community needed in law enforcement and tirelessly working to give it to us.
Police, fire, EMTs and the road department all contribute to the overall safety of our community. It is with a great tribute and honor that Chief Carroll has completed his service to our community. His voluntary retirement was not unexpected, but we wish him well, God speed, and as the Irish Blessing says: “May the sun always shine upon your face, and God carry you in the palm of his hand.” You will be missed Tim Carroll, but always loved by the people of Russell.
Facts over fears
I support the Chardon schools Board of Education in their decision to strongly urge mask wearing for staff and students with an option for a parent to opt-out for their individual child/teenager.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been consistent as possible with their recommendations for schools and employers to address COVID-19, its variants, anti-vaxxers and a flood of false rumors about vaccines.
“Mandatory” has become a trigger word for many parents, eliciting fear, the supposed threat of authoritarianism and political manipulation. It also elicits undeserved threats to public servants, like school board members, superintendents, administrators and staff. A pandemic of irrational fear and misinformation regarding COVID-19 elicits in some citizens the need to use threats as their therapeutic.
There are many mandatory rules that parents accept for their children that were at one time not widely acceptable: immunizations prior to entering kindergarten, compulsory education through grade 12, child labor laws, car seat belt restraints, state licensing for educators, designated school personnel reporting neglect/abuse, integration and Title Nine equity for female school athletes. We forget that the U.S. Constitution is also mandatory.
In good times and in crisis, Chardon parents, citizens and educators have come together and have served the next generation well. Why stop now by allowing fear and misinformation to overwhelm facts?