Vote for Ondrey

During the past several weeks I have been reading letters to this newspaper in support of the candidacy of David Ondrey for the Common Pleas Court. I wish to add my own expression of support. I have known David at least 20 years, both professionally in his capacity as an attorney and personally.

He has always conducted himself competently and ethically. As someone who has supported and led many local organizations and boards myself, I am pleased that David has done likewise for years in our county. And, as a local businessman who has employed David and his firm regularly, I appreciate his skills at addressing a variety of legal issues.

He’s both a litigator and trusted business adviser. Of the three candidates, David is going to bring the best background to the widest range of cases facing the court. I urge Geauga County voters to vote for David Ondrey.

Howard W. Bates

Burton

Rambo best candidate

Judges are former attorneys that say they will be impartial if elected. We all know it’s human nature to give the benefit of the doubt to people we know and have relationships with. Especially if those people have been clients that pay legal fees putting food on your table and paying your mortgage. That’s the position Dave Ondrey finds himself in.

The average Joe could never hope to get a fair shot if they are involved in litigation with one of Ondrey’s former clients. If Ondrey becomes judge of the Geauga Common Pleas Court you better watch out. Ondrey has long established business ties with many Geauga clients and even if he actually believes he can be fair to all litigants, he is more than likely to be partial to those former clients he knows and trusts even if his prejudice is subliminal.

Ondrey is the only candidate for judge that has these conflicts. Neither of the other two candidates, Matt Rambo or Bob Umholtz have the conflicts of interest that Ondrey has. Personally, I’m supporting Matt Rambo because he has the interest, knowledge and the energy to start and maintain a drug court in Geauga. Rambo agrees with the Ohio Supreme Court that drug courts work, and he knows that drug courts save taxpayers money. Ondrey is over 65 years old and anyone my age knows that’s not the time in life to start a new career as a judge in a county seeking answers to an addiction crisis.

Ohio is the No. 1 state in the country for overdose deaths and our Geauga County has had more than its share of tragedies. We can do something about the drug problem, right here, right now, by electing Rambo as judge.

Terry Carson

Bainbridge

Leasing park bad idea

I am writing to express my anger that Russell Township Park District is considering a lease agreement with Geauga Park District for township park land. The citizens of Russell (62 percent) voted one year ago to form a new township park district under ORC Article 511 exactly because we wish to have 100 percent local control over our parks. To turn around and threaten to give our parks to an outside entity is a slap in the face of every Russell voter and evidences a cynical disregard for the basic principles of democracy.

Not all that many years ago, the Russell Township Park District was spending about $16,000 a year. It can be done. If the Russell Township Park District has to tighten its belt and cut back on projects for two years, this is preferable to giving our parks over to outsiders.

I hope that both the Russell Township Park District and the Geauga Park District will realize that a lease agreement is not in the best interest of either park district. Russell Township Park District would gain the deep pockets of Geauga Park District, but would lose control over township parks and the respect and support of the Russell community. Geauga Park District would gain nothing of significance, as far as I can see, and I am baffled that the Geauga Park District would even consider such an arrangement.

Please end this crazy idea before both park districts waste yet more taxpayer money on legal fees. I stand ready, willing and able to help the Russell Township Park District find a solution to their financial difficulties that maintains local control over our parks.

Shelley Chernin

Russell

Merging Russell boards best path

I have continually been shocked and dismayed at what the 1545 Russell Township Park Board, appointed by probate Judge Timothy Grendell, has done over the past few years. But I am absolutely horrified at what the park commissioners are now attempting to do with our green space. They have entered into negotiations to lease our parks to the Geauga Park District which will completely remove the parks from the residents who have paid for them with our own local tax dollars and fought to keep them open with minimal development. Russell residents overwhelmingly voted to create a new park district with the hope that both the 1545 and the new 511 could be combined so that Russell Township would have control over their parks instead of a judge who has no vested interest in our community other than to encourage land sales and development.

The reason the 1545 board is citing for turning our parks over is that they do not have enough funds to continue their upkeep. Our pre-Grendell commissioners never spent more than $16,000 a year for the upkeep of our open areas. Since Geauga County Probate Judge Timothy Grendell removed our long-standing commissioners and placed his own very inexperienced commissioners in place, over $75,000 has been wasted on legal fees along with a myriad of other mistakes.

Money that could have been used on maintenance for many years to come. Funds that were meant to be used to maintain our parks and not to be wasted fighting the wishes of the residents of Russell. Even with the continued drain on funds there is enough money left to continue without losing our parks.

Wouldn’t it make a whole lot more sense to do the reasonable thing and combine the new 511 with the old 1545 and let the township have control over how our land is used and how our taxes are spent? It would even be preferable to just shut down all expenditures on our land for the next year or two until the current 1545 can correct their fiscal mistakes and move forward in manner that benefits the residents and not another park district or a judge that has been trying to control our land ever since he has been in office.

If not a single penny was spent on our parks for the next two years there would be minimal changes in the land. The 1545 park board needs to immediately end their negotiations with Geauga Parks and initiate a more well thought out plan for sustainability instead of giving away what we already own. Not one time in 38 years of voting have I ever voted no on a levy for conservation. However, I cannot in good conscience vote on the upcoming levy for the 1545 unless the negotiations cease. Instead, I will be voting yes on the small levy for the new 511 park board and hope that both parks can be combined when Timothy Grendell is out of office in two more years.

Sharmyn Clark

Russell

Village renewal needed

South Russell village residents will be asked to vote to renew the 1993 police levy when they vote at Gurney Elementary School on Nov. 6. This renewal will not raise taxes. It will continue bringing in $134,000 of revenue. The 2019 safety budget of $1.4 million provides for two police officers on duty 24/7 and other services for our residents.

Thanks in advance for your continued support of the South Russell village police department.

Mayor Bill Koons

South Russell

Support Bob Umholtz

If you’re like me, voting for judges has always been a challenging decision. It’s mostly because I really didn’t know much about the candidates running for these important positions. Many times I would skip over voting for a judge altogether or just vote for someone based on their political party.

This Nov. 6 in Geauga County we have a choice of three candidates running for judge of common pleas court. One from each political party and Bob Umholtz, an independent candidate. All three candidates are touting “experience matters” – and it does. However, Bob Umholtz is the only candidate who is in the courtroom on a daily basis. You can check this out for yourself by going to the clerk of courts webpage. You will find that the Democratic candidate has never had a case in a Geauga County courtroom and the Republican candidate only had three cases in the Geauga Court of Common Pleas. Bob Umholtz has handled thousands of cases in the Geauga County courtrooms over his 28 years as Geauga County chief public defender. He knows how a courtroom operates. He’s in the courtroom all the time. Known for being fair minded, Bob has earned the respect of people who work in the courthouse, law enforcement and clients. Bob has also had extensive experience in civil cases; he was working for federal Judge Thomas Lambros prior to becoming chief public defender.

Bob is a lifelong conservative who believes a judge should be free of any political party’s influence. I met Bob almost 40 years ago. He was my neighbor in Chardon Township and working his way through law school as a blacksmith. He trimmed and shod my horses’ hoofs. We became friends. I have never met a more decent and honest person. A judge is called “Your Honor.” This has always applied to Bob Umholtz. It’s how Bob conducts his life – with honor.

This November my vote for judge of Geauga County Common Pleas Court will be easy. Because I know Bob Umholtz. I know his values, his character and his integrity. And he actually has more courtroom experience than both other candidates combined. Please join me in voting for Air Force veteran, blacksmith and attorney Bob Umholtz for judge of Geauga County Common Pleas Court.

Gene DiNardo

Troy Township

Support Jim Dvorak

Jim Dvorak would, in my view, make an outstanding Geauga County commissioner. I’m urging everyone in Geauga County to vote for him this fall.

Township government is as close to the people as it gets in Ohio, and that is where Jim has spent his public service to date. As trustee in Burton Township, Jim has developed a keen sense of how to work purposefully with other local political subdivisions to accomplish the greater good. That is largely what a successful county commissioner needs to do.

Jim has served as a member of the Geauga County Township Trustees Association for many years, which has exposed him to the particular issues each of our 16 townships face; the fact that he has served as president of that organization reflects his unique abilities to lead and the extent to which other Geauga leaders rely upon him to do it well.

Navigating the relationship between the state and a county’s issues is key for any county commissioner. Having worked with Jim on a number of township issues as your state senator, I can personally vouch for his responsible approach to government and his ability to effectively pursue the common good.

Finally, Jim and his family are Geaugans who have lived first-hand what that really means. I want people leading our county whose roots are firmly planted in its soil.

Please join me in voting for Jim Dvorak for Geauga County commissioner this fall.

John Eklund

Munson Township

Park needs new solution

As a Russell resident, I feel compelled to tell you how appalled I am at the very notion that Russell would turn over the administration of its parks to the Geauga Park District. Candidly I must tell you, I smell a rat. And it smells an awful lot like (Geauga Probate Judge Timothy) Grendell.

Unable to squelch voters’ will to apply home rule to our parks (by a 62 percent majority), I believe he’s using this budgetary crisis to further insinuate himself into Russell matters. Furthermore I’m stunned by the apparent lack of creativity in dealing with the matter. It’s my impression that Russell’s parks are mostly passive, so how much operating do they need?

It’s also my understanding that there is $30,000 still in the operating budget. But instead of working out an amended budget that would get us by for two years, your only solution is to spend that money on legal fees to negotiate a handover to county bureaucrats? The parks my tax dollars, your tax dollars, were used to preserve? Honestly? (Seems like all of Geauga’s parks are now merely vehicles to enrich lawyers.) You could probably find volunteers to fill in some gaps temporarily if you’d simply put it out there, ask. The entire episode reeks of a power grab, and I’ll be damned if I don’t at least make some noise before I see that happen.

I implore you to reach out to other Russell entities to find a Russell solution to this problem. I know these positions are voluntary and uncompensated and I thank you for serving in them. But you must understand that Russell residents would see this as nothing short of betrayal if it were to go forward and it would not be soon forgotten. Please understand who it is that you’re serving. I know the relationship is awkward. It’s a little like the president’s relationship to his attorney general. He appoints the AG and can fire him any time he wants, but the AG doesn’t work for the president. He works for us. I hope you’ll similarly see your relationship to Judge Grendell. He can hire and fire but you don’t work for him. You work for us. It’s a pathetic excuse for democracy when all it would take is the votes of two unelected officials to undo the will of voters.

Tony Festa

Russell Township

Support David Ondrey

We are longtime residents of Munson Township. We are urging voters to support Republican candidate David Ondrey for the Court of Common Pleas. David and his wife Ellen have called Geauga County home for nearly 40 years. His commitment to the community and his profession is reflected in his leadership roles as past chair of Geauga Hospital, Geauga United Way and the Geauga Bar Association. He has been law director for three different Geauga County municipalities. He has extensive trial experience, not only in this county, but in the surrounding counties. It is hard to imagine a better combination of experience, skills and personal temperament for this very important job.

We need David Ondrey as our next common pleas judge.

Suzanne and Jeff Fisher

Munson Township

Dvorak right for job

I, like Jim Dvorak, have been a resident of this area my entire life. I know Jim has been here all these years because he believes like me it is the best location in the nation. Jim has a genuine love for the area and the people. I’ve known Jim for years and considered him an acquaintance until I became the mayor of Middlefield Village in 2012.

Over the last six years, I’ve brainstormed with Jim on issues that impacted our area and residents. In all of our discussions, I knew without a doubt that Jim would be honest, transparent and make decisions and provide opinions that were based on what is best for the people and area he was elected to serve. His energy for public service has always amazed me and evident it is driven by a desire to improve the area where he has and plans to spend his entire life. I consider Jim a friend first and colleague second.

I have full confidence that Commissioner Dvorak will work tirelessly for the county he is elected to serve. I will be voting Jim Dvorak for commissioner on Nov. 6 and trust you will vote for Jim as well.

Ben Garlich

Middlefield

Dvorak best for Geauga’s future

Years ago, we met Jim Dvorak; he was running for Burton Township trustee. He told us of his ideas and plans of how he could serve our community. He has done everything he had told us he was going to do and then some. Jim is now running for Geauga County commissioner and we have had many opportunities to meet with Jim face to face, as he is very approachable and listens to concerns we have. We also always want to hear what his plans are for our future. Not only will he discuss the future, but the past as well and all that he has accomplished as a township trustee. As with anyone in office, you would like them to take both a common sense approach with how to handle issues but you want them to be fiscally responsible. We have found that both these qualities are within him. We have not heard Jim bad-mouth his opponents at any time, and in our opinion mudslinging tells us that you don’t have a good record, or ideas for you to sell yourself on, just trashing your opponent. If you would like to see someone who thinks outside of the box and has a proven record of making sound, fiscally responsible decisions that affect all of us as a community, our recommendation would be to vote for Jim Dvorak for Geauga County commissioner. Jim has a proven track record and has trusted leadership and he is the right choice for Geauga County.

Michael and Amy Kalal

Burton

Ondrey has knowledge, skill

David Ondrey is an example of the type of high-quality public servant who serves the residents of Geauga County. He is the past chairman of the Board of UH Geauga Hospital, past chairman of the Board of Geauga United Way, past president of the Geauga Bar Association and past president of Birthright of Lake County.

As the law director of South Russell village for 23 years, he has demonstrated knowledge, skill and common sense. David will bring these traits to the common pleas court. Having represented both civil and criminal clients, he is well-prepared to equally handle both when they appear in his courtroom. Geauga County’s gain will be South Russell village’s loss.

A vote for David Ondrey for judge of the Geauga County Common Pleas Court is a vote for the most qualified candidate.

Mayor Bill Koons

South Russell

Support Matt Rambo

My friend Matt Rambo is running for common pleas judge in Geauga County.

As a rule I never endorse candidates for office because I am a township trustee in Russell, and I feel that people need to make up their own minds based on their knowledge of the candidates.

But Matt is such an outstanding candidate, and unfortunately people often pass over the down ballot candidates such as judges and don’t vote for these lesser known offices because they don’t know about the candidates’ backgrounds.

Matt is the only candidate that is a magistrate now and presides over hundreds of cases a year. He is fair, listens respectfully to both sides and applies the law in a way that seeks justice.

Everybody gets excited about who is on the Ohio Supreme Court, but I doubt anyone in Geauga County will be a direct party to any action before the Supreme Court in the next year. But hundreds of your friends and neighbors may have interaction with the local courts in the years ahead.

Clearly you want fairness for your family and a judge who makes reasonable decisions.

If that is important to you, join me in voting for Matt Rambo. He’s your guy!

James Mueller

Russell Township

David Ondrey for judge

I am writing to express my public support for David Ondrey for Geauga County Common Pleas judge. I have known David Ondrey for more than ten years and in a variety of capacities. He has served as both my personal and business attorney from time to time over the years. I have also served on a board with Mr. Ondrey for several years.

During our diverse discussions on a variety of matters, I find Mr. Ondrey’s thought process to be well-reasoned and objective; characteristics that are important in any judicial position. We don’t pay attorneys to provide us the answer we want to hear, but rather to provide us the advice we need. I am confident David Ondrey will serve the people of Geauga County honorably; respectful of the responsibilities that come with the office of Geauga County Common Pleas judge.

Ken Radtke, Jr.

Chester Township

Loyd for commissioner

As a lifelong registered Republican, I support Candace Loyd for commissioner.

She offers a clear vision of enforcing fiscal accountability and transparency on county departments: requiring departments to publish quality financial data on OhioCheckbook.com or face consequences. In an interview at the county fair, her Democrat-flipped-Republican opponent Dvorak offered this platform: “I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, I just want it to run smoother.” In other words, more of the same. That is literally the exact opposite of what we need after Geauga taxpayers were soaked with a $1.8 million embezzlement scandal. Let’s send a message to those who stand complacent in the face of scandal at your expense. We can’t maintain the status quo. We need radical change. Please join me in rocking the boat with financial transparency and accountability by voting for Candace Loyd.

David Mooter

Parkman Township

Vote for Klammer, Trapp

It’s rare in Geauga County that we have the opportunity to elect not one but two highly qualified women to the 11th District Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is the next step up from the local common pleas court. They hear both criminal and civil cases. It’s an important job that requires extensive knowledge of the law. Everybody wants their decision to be fair and consistent with the law.

Darya Klammer and Mary Jane Trapp are women who will do just that. Together they have years of experience both as trial lawyers, judges and magistrates. Clearly they know the law. Moreover they will apply it fairly. Both received the endorsement of the Plain Dealer on Sept. 16.

It’s important that cases be decided fairly, not on the basis of ideology. Fair decisions which follow the law are exactly the way Klammer and Trapp will make their decisions.

Most of us won’t ever stand before the 11th District bench, but every day, decisions are made there which impact our lives. A vote for Darya Klammer and Mary Jane Trapp is a vote to uphold the law.

Cris Takacs

Chardon

Vote for Matt Lynch

According to her own finance records, candidate Darya Klammer’s campaign for judge has already received over $30,000 from attorneys. That amounts to over 60 percent of all of the money she has raised. You can check it out for yourself at https://www.sos.state.oh.us/campaign-finance/search/.

While I’m sure most judges try to avoid any bias, the appearance of impropriety is hard to ignore.

Her opponent Matt Lynch has refused to accept any financial support from attorneys. Matt has said that if elected, he will propose new rules of ethics that would forbid judges from taking campaign money from lawyers and law firms.

The public deserves judges who avoid even the appearance of favoritism. I’m voting for Matt Lynch who has the integrity to refuse campaign money from attorneys and will be able to stay impartial.

Denver Sallee

Russell

Issue 1 bad for Ohio

If Issue 1 passes it will limit the ability of the State of Ohio to confront very real dangers now and in the future in battling substance abuse – a severe, deadly and seemingly intractable problem. Issue 1 must be defeated.

Issue 1, on its face, appears to be a compassionate approach to reducing jail time for minor offenders reducing the costs to house and feed many allegedly “small time” criminals by a 25 percent reduction in sentences for existing prisoners and elimination of jail time for similar cases in the future. In fact, Issue 1 will increase our substance abuse problems.

Issue 1 requires a judge to sentence an individual convicted of drug possession to probation only, not jail time even if the probation is violated. Drug courts now effectively handle many drug cases because they have the option to place defendants on probation and if probation is violated the court can then impose jail time for the violation. This carrot and stick system has been very effective in moving defendants from drug use to a more productive life. Passage of Issue 1 will emasculate the effectiveness of these drug courts in the future and encourage defendants to ignore any terms of probation.

Issue 1 will create the most lenient drug crime laws in the nation. The state and each of our communities will become a magnet for substance abuse activity (use, possession and sale) because there will be little consequence for engaging in such behavior. It will enlarge not reduce our drug problem.

Under Issue 1, an offender charged with possession of 19 grams of fentanyl (enough to kill 10,000 people!) would automatically receive probation and would be charged only with a misdemeanor. Drug traffickers will flock to Ohio.

Don’t be fooled by the apparent compassionate or faulty economic reasons behind Issue 1. Passage of Issue 1 would be very bad for Ohio. It will only escalate our drug problem. Vote no on Issue 1.

Pat and John Leech

Chester

Country on right track

Many a hard-earned victory has been lost due to complacency. Electing Trump to the White House was a first significant step in the right direction, but we must continue the just and honest fight. Despite the fact that our constitutional republic is much stronger and our conservative ideals and American agenda have been furthered unashamedly buy a forthright man who cannot be bought, there are those radical leftists in this country who actively seek to bring him down – not for betterment of the country, but for personal gain and power.

Make no mistake about it: should the influence of Congress shift left to the anarchical lawless Democrat mob this November, impeachment will be brought forth against President Trump. Chances of success would be slim, but its real intent would be to neutralize his effectiveness.

So, my message to all rational thinking decent law-abiding people: We are on the right track. Press on.

See past the distractions, rhetoric and trickery and vote next month to continue making America even greater.

Benito A. Alvarez

Chester Township

Robinson – change Ohio needs

Phil Robinson embodies public service over self-service and concern for the community over special interests.

Phil is the best candidate for Ohio House District 6. He’s committed to work for Ohioans, not for the political machine that has controlled our state legislature for 14 of the last 17 years. That “leadership” got Ohio the highest opioid and heroin death rate of any U.S. state; a $1 billion budget shortfall; 40th place on America’s Health Ranking; and seventh place for food insecurity.

Phil Robinson is the change Ohio needs. He will “strive for a living wage for anyone that works 40 hours a week, and not let part-time workers be taken advantage of for not having full-time employment.” He will oppose “Right to Work” legislation and work to keep Ohio a free bargaining state. He will “defend Social Security, pensions and savings from being pilfered by Wall Street and Columbus insiders.”

Phil is committed to making sure more Ohioans finish high school, attend college and get job training necessary to help them become contributors to Ohio’s economy.

In contrast, the only interest Phil’s opponent Jim Trakas has in education is using public school funds to enrich himself and his friends through the bogus charter and online education racket that plagues Ohio.

Trakas was CEO of a failing online charter school which was forced to return $800,000 to the State of Ohio for enrollment discrepancies. He was a lobbyist for ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) which received $1 billion from Ohio before closing due to an enrollment scandal. The attorney general is currently attempting to recover $60 million from ECOT.

The choice is clear: Phil Robinson is the leader we need for District 6.

Pamela Conger-Cox

Solon

Rader has answers

Betsy Rader considers improving the environment and developing clean energy to be one of her main priorities. Getting this right has benefits for our country and the rest of humanity. Betsy Rader advocates effective approaches to the problems of environmental degradation.

Much of our air pollution and resulting climate change come from energy production. Wind turbines and solar panels produce electrical energy without pollution and they come with jobs. According to a 2017 article in Forbes magazine, the solar and wind industries employ 475,500 workers while the coal, oil and natural gas industries, combined, employ fewer than half that number, only 187,000. Clean energy employment opportunities are increasing. The same cannot be said of the fossil fuel industries. Clearly, Betsy Rader makes the right choice in backing green energy over fossil sources.

President Trump recently said that there will be a 7-degree rise in global temperature by the end of the century. He tells us that there is nothing we can do about it. So he continues on the path taken in the 20th century to a catastrophic result. A new direction on climate is needed now more than ever. Good news, Mr. Trump, there is a lot that can be done to avoid that seven degree temperature rise. That is what Betsy Rader will press for in Congress. We need people with answers, not people who give up.

Fred Welty

Chardon

Rambo both tough, fair

Your first impression of a guy whose name is Rambo could be a little distorted. Matthew Rambo is not the Rambo of the movies. He’s a 40-year-old dad of two sons, Charlie and James. His wife Stephanie is a part-time prosecutor in Lake County. Together they have set down roots here in Geauga County. Rambo has accomplished a great deal in his life. Not only is he an experienced attorney, he also holds a degree in electrical engineering.

Rambo served as a magistrate for seven years deciding cases at the Court of Claims and then five years in the trenches at the Common Pleas Court. That’s hundreds of cases a year. He is now in private practice. Rambo has a long record of writing court decisions, based on Ohio and U.S. law. It is rare for a person this young to have such extensive and wide ranging experience.

A big concern for Rambo is the duration of cases. Cases should not be long running hurting both sides. Another concern is drug courts. Drug courts give a second chance to those who have a sincere and genuine interest into turning their lives around. Matthew Rambo is a man who has extensive experience in the law. He has new ideas to work on solving the current opioid crisis. No, he is not the Rambo of the movies, but Matthew Rambo is both tough and fair. And that’s what the folks of Geauga County expect.

Patty Varanese

Chester Township

Support Matt Rambo

On various Saturday nights for 30 years I’ve gone to the Geauga County jail and met with inmates about their addictions. We talk about their families, their problems and their progress. During that time, dozens of inmates have overdosed and I end up visiting them in the hospital. I’ve also gone to many of their funerals.

The drug situation in Geauga isn’t getting better. I know we need better tools to successfully combat substance abuse. I know Matt Rambo, and he believes Geauga needs a specialized docket to monitor defendants. I agree. Abusers can change and get clean. We can do this. I did.

Ron Wiech

Middlefield

Betsy Rader for Congress

I am voting for Betsy Rader for U.S. Congress and urge you to consider this extremely qualified and worthy candidate. I have known Betsy for 20 years. We worked together from 1998-2002 at the Geauga Juvenile Court with CASA for KIDS (advocacy for child abuse and neglect cases) and remained good friends. I have always admired Betsy for her supreme intelligence, integrity and compassion. She has been a very successful attorney but chose jobs that offered opportunities to make a difference. She has also volunteered much time to civic causes.

Betsy knows how to work hard to cause change. She put herself through Ohio State and Yale Law School with jobs and scholarships and graduated top in her class. Her desire has always been to empower people by giving them a voice. She has only accepted campaign funds from individuals – no corporation PACs or businesses – and pledges never to do so.

Betsy’s life experiences have provided great preparation for serving the constituents of the 14th Congressional District. She knows business from working in large law firms. She understands healthcare from practicing as senior counsel at the Cleveland Clinic and recently worked in D.C. at Medicare and Medicaid, helping to design cost-effective, high-quality health care. She understands the needs of families and children from her experience as a court appointed advocate. Betsy and her husband Dave have raised three outstanding children who reflect their values and integrity. Now as an employment lawyer she represents the rights of those who face discrimination in the workplace.

All of this has influenced Betsy’s desire and commitment to serve in Congress. She plans to work to get big money out of politics, invest in quality education from early childhood through career transitions and create good-paying jobs through business incentives. Betsy will fight to ensure everyone has access to affordable healthcare – she is not proposing a government healthcare takeover costing trillions, as her opponent accuses. Betsy plans to start with small, incremental changes that would receive bipartisan support and immediately help people. I am confident that her strong, rational approach will be effective and work in the best interest of Northeast Ohio.

Christine Steigerwald

South Russell

Park board works for people

In a recent letter to the editor Shelley Chernin questioned my ability to make “independent decisions” as the chairman of the Russell Township Park District because, as she wrote, I am “an employee of the probate court” and my “livelihood depends upon the will of the probate court.”

I am an employee of the Geauga County Juvenile/Probate Court where I work with families as a case manager. I was offered this position after receiving recognition for strong performance in my volunteer role as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children. As a resident and homeowner in Russell Township, I also serve our community as a mentor, as a Next Step advisory board member, as a member of the West Geauga School District Communications Committee and as the President of the West Geauga Soccer Club.

I’m surprised and disheartened that Ms. Chernin, who clearly has a passion for conservation, immediately assumed I accepted my position because of need and never stopped to consider that I too might be passionate about something, the children and families of our community.

Ms. Chernin, a renter in Russell, was also quoted in an article as saying, “The 1545 park board is controlled by the probate court and they don’t answer to the people of Russell.” This is simply untrue. All three board members are Russell Township residents and we answer to our fellow residents every month at our public meetings, at which Russell Township residents are encouraged to speak and provide their input. I also encourage residents to read Ohio Revised Code 1545 to understand for themselves the limited authority the probate court has with regard to this park board.

Ms. Chernin accuses the Russell Township Park Board of making “rookie mistakes” and writes she has “difficulty trusting” us. I invite you to attend our board meetings and form your own opinion.

Scott Wayt

Russell Township

Support Darya Klammer

Many go to the polls certain as to how they will vote when it comes to well-publicized elections such as governor or Congress. That certainty quickly evaporates when one goes down the ballot to less high profile races, such as elections for judges. Fortunately, for the lower profile but nonetheless important elections for judges, local bar associations survey their members and compile a list of peer recommendations. For judge of the Court of Appeals in the 11th District the Geauga, Lake and Portage County bar associations make a crystal clear recommendation – in fact, they provide a clear mandate to elect the only qualified candidate in the race: Darya Klammer. The Portage County Bar Association “Highly Recommends” Darya Klammer.

The Geauga and Lake county bar associations overwhelmingly endorsed Darya Klammer, whereas her opponent Matt Lynch has received an embarrassingly low number of recommendations. Here are the numbers: for Lake County, Darya Klammer received an 88 percent favorable vote; Matt Lynch received a 25 percent favorable vote.

Some in the Chagrin Valley may rationalize this by thinking, “well, Matt Lynch’s law office is not in Lake or Portage Counties, his law office is in Geauga County – I’m sure that the Geauga County Bar Association’s recommendations will be a more accurate reflection of his competence.” In this case, familiarity has pulled back the curtain: when it comes to “Highly Recommended” votes, Darya Klammer earned 57 votes; Matt Lynch just 3. For “Not Recommended” votes, Darya Klammer received only 8; Matt Lynch was Not Recommended by an astounding 67! Overall, 91 percent of the of the Geauga County Bar Association members who offered an opinion either “Highly Recommended” or “Recommended” Darya Klammer for Judge of the Court of Appeals in the 11th District. Matt Lynch’s total recommendations in those two categories were a paltry 15 percent.

The candidates’ professional peers have given us an indication as to who is clearly the best candidate for Judge of the Court of Appeals in the 11th District: Darya Klammer. It is also clear that Matt Lynch is not even close to being in Darya Klammer’s league when it comes to the respect of peers, as well their respective qualifications, experience and temperament. Darya Klammer has overwhelmingly earned the respect of her colleagues through her advocacy for children and families and her experience as chief assistant prosecutor with the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office. Matt Lynch, in addition to serially running for and losing local elections, maintains a small law practice that specializes in the writing of wills. Our choices in this election are between a respected and experienced public servant vs. a politician with no experience pertinent to being a judge. Politicians are ruining our politics. We do not need them ruining our courts. There is only one qualified and respected candidate for judge of the Court of Appeals in the 11th District: Darya Klammer. Justice deserves to be served. A vote for Darya Klammer is not only a vote for the more qualified candidate; it is a vote for the only qualified candidate.

John Yost

Bainbridge

Trakas – not good for students

Jim Trakas lied to Solon residents once, don’t let him have a second chance to do it again. On the Jim Trakas website he says, “It’s time for our schools to get a better deal from Columbus. Your hard earned tax dollars are shipped to Columbus every year to pay for other children’s education.” Residents of Solon should know that Jim Trakas is directly responsible for the Solon City Schools losing $8.3 million in tax funding. The current system was put in place by Trakas when he was in the state government in 2004.

In 2003/2004 the state put together a plan to transition from a tangible personal property tax to a commercial activity tax (or CAT) system. The Solon schools knew this would have a negative impact on their funding and urged Jim Trakas not to vote for this transition unless the law explicitly stated that the schools would be held harmless. Jim Trakas specifically told Solon school leadership that he would not vote for this change.

However, after telling the Solon schools one thing, Jim went ahead and voted for the tax change anyway without the language to protect the schools included in the legislation. Jim Trakas stabbed the Solon superintendent and Solon students in the back with that vote and chose his party over the residents of Solon. Eventually Jim would continue with votes that would hurt students across the state of Ohio when he voted against funding all day kindergarten and reduced funding for teacher professional development (HB 95).

When you are at the ballot box on Nov. 6 voting for District 6 representative, do not forget that the reason Solon had to pass a school levy in 2017 is because Jim Trakas voted against Solon students the last time he was a state representative. Vote for Phil Robinson, the only candidate who is for Solon students in District 6.

Adam Zelwin

Solon

Vote no on Issue 110 in Solon

Solon Issue 110 isn’t about a winery. It is about rezoning 103 bucolic acres of residential land to a mix of commercial and multi-family structures. At this juncture, there are so many questions but very few specifics available. So it defaults to a matter of trust for some voters.

BNH circumvented customary approval process through city council to force it on the ballot before any environmental, engineering, traffic, infrastructure or feasibility studies were available. What can actually be developed on this property is a complete unknown. They want voters just to trust them to totally transform this property. City hall attempted to allow sufficient time for resident input. BNH thought we should be quiet and trust them. And pay their legal bills too, costing the city $107,000 for trying to protect our best interest. Would you trust a friend who disrespects you, then takes your money?

Their conceptual plan for developing this property keeps changing in an attempt to pander to voters. Will apartments be part of the plan? A nursing home? How about walking and biking trails, since that’s a hot button issue? They can keep changing their sales pitch, but the fact is they can legally execute anything that fits within their new and very broad zoning categories. They are wooing voters with projections of tax revenues including $3.7 million going to schools. Since no one really knows what can realistically be developed, what assumptions and calculations could possibly support that optimistic estimate? Just like their animated video, it is pure fantasy.

BNH’s sales pitch marketing Solon on the Lake to “empty nesters and young professionals” has a familiar ring to it. Just like Fountains two years ago, it didn’t hold water for 80 percent of voters. Would you trust a business partner with a portfolio of pretty pictures but lacking a final plan?

They tout it as the best choice for Solon. Our mayor, all seven city council members, several former council members, and a former mayor have all voiced their opposition to Issue 110. If it was so beneficial for Solon, wouldn’t opinions of some elected officials sway in their favor? Perhaps they don’t trust him either.

Anyone still undecided should consider three important points. First, this zoning is permanent and would set a disastrous precedent that puts all residential properties at risk. Second, it gives this developer final say in everything and he is working in his own best interest, not homeowners. Third, if you vote for it, it’s a vote of blind faith and trust.

Back to that trust issue. A search of public records reveals that Mr. Harris has some tax problems. According to public records, a federal tax lien was filed against him in December of 2016 for $48,665 for income tax years 2013 and 2015, but was settled in 2017. Is that the kind of neighbor you desire?

Voting no on Issue 110 is truly the better choice for Solon.

Jacquelyn Calavitta

Solon

Winery or saloon?

What is a winery? Is it a place where grapes are grown and turned into wine? If so, the proposed winery on Bainbridge Road in Solon is no winery. No grapes; no winery. It’s just a bar, a saloon. Is this what you want in your backyard?

These so-called wineries are blossoming across the region like spring dandelions. When summer comes…poof! Gone. What remains? Abandoned buildings. We have enough of those in Solon.

In addition, we’re potentially allowing a developer to control a plot of land that’s currently zoned residential. There’s a reason for that: houses belong on that property. Not a winery, not whatever this developer chooses to build there.

I urge every Solon citizen to vote no on Issue 110.

Polly Merrill

Solon

Secure future with ‘no’ vote

Voting for Issue 110 on Nov. 6 ballot is analogous to voting for the fox to guard the chicken coop.

An inexperienced developer comes to Solon, buys a 103-acre parcel in an area that is completely zoned residential and decides he wants it to be rezoned to permit mixed-use development, a zoning classification that doesn’t exist in the city of Solon.

This developer then circumvents the long standing Solon procedure for a zoning change and avoids participation by City Council and the Planning Commission. He sues the city to get Issue 110 on the ballot and for $107,000 in legal fees that the High Court says the city must pay. Adversarial all the way.

If Issue 110 passes there is no real assurance of what will be built on the property regardless of the high density project being advertised. The developer and his lawyers have written the new mixed-use zoning language. Obviously, it is written to give them maximum flexibility to do just about anything they might want to do. They have even included language that would favor their position in any disagreement with the city if Issue 110 is approved.

A developer – this one or one in the future – having the ability to write and define their own zoning characteristics is obviously dangerous for Solon and its residents. No neighborhood would be safe. Voting no is very important for Solon’s future.

Please vote no on Issue 110.

Debby Stinehelfer

Solon

Issue 110: developer vs. city

While there are several reasons to vote no on Issue 110, the developer’s consistent lack of transparency is quickly taking a priority. This past May a site plan was presented to the Solon Planning Commission. However the developer quickly resorted to bypassing standard review procedures after the city had questions he was either unwilling or unable to answer.

Through social media, the developer has touted his eagerness to take suggestions from residents. Although positive comments remain on three Facebook pages, posts expressing concerns are quickly deleted and users with negative comments immediately blocked.

Councilman Jeremy Zelwin recently held a town hall to review the rezoning language and respond to questions. All audience questions were answered. Although the developer had been invited to attend, he declined, stating that he would answer questions at his own open house.

The developer’s open house consisted of a 45-minute presentation primarily reviewing one potential site plan already available on the internet followed by answering selected prewritten questions from the audience. No consultant, including the “zoning expert,” reviewed or even mentioned the zoning language we are voting on next month. At that meeting, attempting to ask unwritten and hence unscreened questions resulted in attendees being advised that only written questions would be addressed and only as time permitted. Although, a few spontaneous questions were reluctantly responded to by the panel.

Solon residents are being asked to condone a zoning change that would allow a purported $200 million project managed by a developer clearly unwilling to respond to questions from our elected officials or residents. No collaboration, no communication, no negotiation. Vote no on Issue 110.

Ken Goodman

Solon

No on Issue 110 in Solon

This week I will be receiving my absentee ballot and so will many other residents of Solon. I will be voting no on Issue 110.

Issue 110 is not about a winery but a major zoning change that will affect all of Solon. If Issue 110 passes, then any future developers can come into Solon and build wherever they desire without approval from Solon.

Most Solon residents do not realize that this will also affect them. Even if you live in a quiet residential area, a developer can purchase homes near you, tear them down and build whatever they want. This can be anywhere without restrictions.

I know that our central area, i.e., Sears or McDonald’s properties, need major development and upgrading, but Issue 110 is not about those areas. Issue 110 is a major change in Solon’s Master Plan and zoning. We have no input into future changes in our community if Issue 110 passes.

Please join me in voting no on Issue 110. We don’t need development in the wrong areas. Developers will be chomping at the bit to come into Solon and develop in your neighborhood.

Sheila Adler

Solon

Issue 110 not right for Solon

Having served 12 years on Solon’s Planning Commission and 12 years on Solon Council, (dealing with rezoning issues the entire time as well as in my private law practice), I have dealt with many questionable zoning requests. Numerous letters have already been published outlining the negative impact of Issue 110 on Solon. Therefore, it’s very beneficial to Solon voters to evaluate the candor and transparency of the developer’s campaign methods.

They allege under current zoning 88 houses will be built and “woods and green space will be destroyed.” This is just a scare tactic. Subtracting the 21 acre lake from the total 103 acres, there are only 82 acres of land mass available. They have produced an unrealistic site plan for current 1-acre per unit zoning which would be virtually impossible to build considering engineering, environmental and topography limitations. Their reference to Thornbury to justify their 88 lots is misplaced as different issues and considerations existed that have no relevance to the Kerem Lake property. Having met with our planning director, Rob Frankland, it’s his opinion that 30 homes give or take is all that can be built and certainly, no more than 40.

Next, they prevailed having the ballot language so vague that non-informed voters have no idea what is actually being proposed. The ballot language merely asks if a mixed-use rezoning chapter the developer created without any city input be applied to the Lake Luczek property. It does not specify that if Issue 110 passes, the following uses are permitted: apartments, boutique hotel (up to 50 rooms), all levels of senior living from independent to skilled nursing care, retail, a so called winery (wine bar), spa and single family detached and attached townhouses.

A week before voting began their plan changed to eliminate apartments and senior living. The problem is we’re not voting on a plan. We’re voting on permitted uses. If Issue 110 passes, their recently changed plan doesn’t apply the aforementioned uses allowing 7.5 units per acre. At their Oct. 7 meeting, they said they couldn’t remove any of the permitted uses and blamed it on the city, which in fact had nothing to do with the developer’s rezoning.

They state that all required studies have been completed and submitted to the city. Yet Mr. Frankland told me that few if any studies have been submitted to the city. The developer has none posted on their website but stated they hope to have them by or before the election.

Finally, it should be noted that they stated that the cheapest and smallest single-family residence will start at $625,000.

In more than 22 years of dealing with zoning issues, I agree with my councilman, Mr. Kotora, when he states, “This is the worst developer-initiated rezoning proposal in Solon’s history.”

Therefore, I encourage the voters in all the city wards to send a strong message to this developer and vote no on Issue 110.

Edward K. Suit

Solon

Make developer work with Solon

Advocates for Issue 110 urge its passage because Solon needs redevelopment. Downtown Solon undeniably requires reinvigoration. Issue 110, however, is not the remedy.

Issue 110 is not a vote on a site plan. Issue 110 is instead a vote on a rezoning ordinance, drafted solely by the developer, that would authorize nine different primary uses of the Lake Luczek property – single-family housing, townhouses, apartment buildings, senior living facilities, a hotel, outdoor displays/dining, a wine bar and a spa.

If Issue 110 is approved, the only certainty is that the developer, or anyone to whom he sells the rezoned property, will have authorization to develop 387,420,489 possible combinations of primary uses. Everything else is speculative. The developer is not bound by the first site plan he floated, the one he is now peddling or any other one that springs to his mind.

The developer drafted the broad authorizations afforded by Issue 110 to protect his interests, not those of the community. To ensure the promotion of our interests regarding any mixed-use project, the developer needs to collaborate with our elected officials to produce a site plan and a rezoning that is specific to that plan. The rezoning passed by Solon City Council would then be submitted to the electorate for ultimate approval. This is the only way the voters can know with certainty what it is they are asked to approve.

If you favor the proper redevelopment of Solon, vote No on 110.

Michael Cullers

Solon

4 reason to vote no on Issue 110

Please consider voting no on Issue 110. This issue affects all of Solon, for the following reasons:

1. If Issue 110 passes, the ordinance becomes part of Solon’s ordinances and could potentially allow any developer to build homes or businesses (for example, a gas station) in your backyard.

2. If Issue 110 passes, the developer can build whatever he wants, as long as it’s authorized by the ordinance, without the Solon Planning Commission’s review or approval of the residential aspects of the development.

3. The developer sued the city to change our existing rules to fit his own agenda, and he also sued to have the city pay his legal fees. Do you really trust him to build anything that would be in the best interest of our community?

4. The proposed development is contrary to the Master Plan of Solon, which states that one of its fundamental principles is to “maintain proper balance between residential and non-residential developments while protecting residential boundaries from commercial encroachment.”

There is only one option when it comes to Issue 110. Please join me in voting no!

Carrie Martin

Solon

Robinson for District 6

Are you ready for a new generation of leadership that will fight to restore local funding and improve infrastructure?

Are you ready for a true champion for education in the Statehouse?

Phil Robinson will put families and communities first.

He is a man of honesty, integrity, impeccable work ethic, and dedicated to public education.

If these qualities are important to you, then Phil Robinson is your candidate!

As a senior leader with the education nonprofit City Year, his remarkable work includes doubling their revenue, eliminating debt and increasing education rates.

His opponent Jim Trakas was CEO of a failing online charter school and a lobbyist for the owner of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow which was forced to closed amidst an enrollment scandal and cost us taxpayers millions of dollars.

Phil Robinson will represent us with honor in the Statehouse.

Vote Phil Robinson for Ohio House District 6.

Eva Webster

Solon

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