As a resident of Chagrin Falls, I have had my name spelled incorrectly in print and read information taken from Facebook pages in this publication. And while I have never countered such information publicly, when a writer who hasn’t attended a playground meeting in more than six months offers Mitch Albom-style inaccuracies – such as those presented in Barbara Christian’s “Window on Main Street” column published Sept. 16 – something needs to be said.
From 2021 to present day, I never had a single conversation with designer Mark Reigelman, who was chosen by members of council, the Parks Committee, the Connor Foundation and council-appointed residents such as myself. Other than two public meetings during which he presented his designs, I have never even heard his voice. When I was asked last June to help narrow down the batch from six designers to two, the budget proposed to those volunteering was 250k. Village Council chose Reigelman. From that point, all conversations with Reigelman concerning budget, the structure’s size and timing were carried out by Village Council President Erinn Grube. When the budget grew, so did our concerns. But not being a part of substantial conversations meant not being able to discuss any of these matters.
At each juncture, Council President Grube would ask us about fundraising while simultaneously asking us pull in supporters for the Reigelman plan. The assertion that this group was established organically and was not under the direction of the president of Village Council is ludicrous and frankly, bizarre.
And when a new council person began suggesting that this effort couldn’t coincide with an effort to raise money for the film fest, we never imagined he’d begin going door-to-door with a hand drawn rendering to crush this wonderful project we’d been working on for nearly two years. Well-intentioned, yes, and ultimately, misled. We were asked to rally this village’s support for what could have been an amazing thing for this town. Egos and interests in shutting it down for the sake of benefitting another cause ultimately killed it. Video really did kill the “radio star,” folks.
And frankly, while the budget was larger than we had ever expected, this town deserves a structure befitting of how unique our village is. Playground materials aren’t cheap right now and sadly, Council has cut off its own nose and will hand this town a generic play space in that beautiful park.
We don’t need Sarah Fowler-Athur
The eighth grade English class at the school where I taught was studying ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’ The English teacher invited a guest speaker, who she hoped would help provide some insight into the topic.
For those who haven’t read the book, it describes a young girl who is hiding from the Nazis in Hungary during the Second World War.
The book has no ending, and the reader is left to speculate about whether Anne Frank was captured and sent to a death camp.
The guest speaker who came was about five feet tall, had gray hair, and came carrying a folder of papers yellowed with age. She spoke with a distinctive Hungarian accent.
During the class period, she described how a housekeeper hid her away, from the Nazis until she and her mother were able to escape.
The gray-haired lady who spoke to the class was five years old at that time.
She handed around those yellowed documents that described the fact that she was a Jew and where she had lived. This little lady held that class of eighth graders spellbound for nearly 40 minutes. I suspect they will remember this for a long time. Now comes Sarah Fowler-Arthur, our newly gerrymandered representative of the 99th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Fowler wants to pass a bill that restricts what can be taught in schools. She indicated that we would need to teach both sides of the Holocaust, perhaps from the viewpoint of the German soldier.
Are we to consider the values and the viewpoint that an entire race should be annihilated, and that 6 million people should be murdered at the hands of the Nazis simply because they were Jews?
That’s a pretty tough viewpoint to swallow. But Fowler-Arthur and House Bill 327 co-sponsor Diane Grendell seem oblivious to what the Holocaust really was.
Do we really want Fowler-Arthur in the Statehouse legislating this kind of bizarre thinking? I wonder what that class of eighth graders would think?
Suggestions for Chardon’s now-censored school board member
I have a few suggestions for censored Chardon Board of Education member Todd Albright: resign. Or perhaps he should run for a seat on the State Board of Education.
Sarah Fowler-Author may have some power and influence and might even help you get appointed.
It reminds me about what Mark Twain once said: “In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards.”
I recall what Mark Twain said:
Another thought for Mr. Albright is to go to Iran and assist the morality police there enforce proper dress in public for women.
Or perhaps help deliver Trump paper towels to Puerto Rico.
I can’t help but wonder what your nine children think of your megalomania?
What’s next for the Chardon community? Authoritarianism? Thought and language police? Halloween ghosts?
The ‘MAGA morality police’ awaken Chardon residents
It seems that ogling young women in the name of dress code enforcement has finally awakened our community.
The polite torpor that has allowed the “MAGA Taliban” to gain a strong foothold in Geauga County is falling away.
We are opening our eyes and seeing that the far right, often unqualified folk that are being elected to so many positions in local and county government do not represent the majority. It is up to all of us now to stay awake and examine the motives of those who run for office touting “Christian” values but then use the power of the office to restrict the rights of anyone who disagrees with their narrow views.
We need to demand that the light of public scrutiny be shone on all of our public boards.
We need to vote.
There is absolutely no proper substitute for public commentary
The point of a public board meeting is accountability to the public.The point of public comment at a public board meeting is to get questions and comments about the handling of the public’s business read into the public record.
The point of making these questions and comments part of the public record is to hold the public board accountable for answers to questions and responses to comments.
If questions and comments from the public are not made a part of the public record the public never knows what questions have been asked.
The public never knows if a response to that question or comment was ever addressed. The public never gets to think about whether the response was appropriate and if it adequately addressed the issue. Rules limiting the time allowed for each comment or question and setting reasonable limits to time allowed for all public comments for each meeting are wise but must be clearly stated and uniformly applied.
Private communications between parties, however well meaning, are simply not a substitute for public comment at a public board meeting.
Bravo to Bill Franz for hitting the nail on the head with his letter
I am writing to congratulate my new hero, Bill Franz for his wonderful letter to the editor published in the Sept. 22 edition of the Chagrin Valley Times which proclaimed: “history will not treat kindly those who continue to turn their heads.”
His comments were spot on. It was the letter I have been composing in my mind for months. Mr. Franz is much more articulate than this independent grandmother and I can only hope he sent his reflections to numerous larger newspapers.
Growing up in “the Heights,” my father was very involved in the Republican Party.
Politics and current events were often talked about during dinner.
When I was finally old enough to vote, my father gave me a card with all the candidates I should vote for.
I quickly reminded him how he always encouraged us to be informed, read the newspaper, and to know each candidate’s stand on various issues. And then I politely gave him the card back. I had my own, thanks.
He said I was right. I think this was the first time I realized the power of just one vote.
I have never felt my vote didn’t matter. I wish everyone would the importance of their vote. Win or lose, at least you took a stand.
If you don’t vote, you do not have the right to complain.
Zayas for State Supreme Court
Marilyn Zayas is running against Patrick DeWine for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.
She is rated excellent by Judge4Yourself, which is a higher rating than received by DeWine. She is highly regarded and has a reputation for fairness.
DeWine’s record on the Ohio Supreme Court demonstrates anti-abortion support, hostility to fair elections, broad disfavor for defendant rights, and extremist support for gun rights.
Abortion: In the only two recent abortion-related OSC decisions, DeWine voted to approve the revocation of a license for a healthcare facility that provided abortions, and not to allow a challenge to an anti-abortion law by applying a higher standing requirement.
Redistricting: DeWine dissented in a series of decisions concluding that extremely gerrymandered legislative redistricting maps, which
Redistricting Commission and General Assembly were unconstitutional.
Instead of supporting fair elections, he would permit extreme gerrymandering. DeWine’s father was a party to the litigation, DeWine refused to recuse himself, and DeWine’s dissent agreed with his father’s side.
Defendants’ Rights: DeWine has repeatedly devalued individual defendant rights, including:
Bail: DeWine refused to require adherence to statutory requirements for holding defendants without bail, which are designed to protect individual freedoms and allow community safety to be considered.
Court Costs: DeWine opined that a court does not need to consider a defendant’s ability to pay when assessing court costs.
Sentencing: DeWine disagreed with the decision that a trial judge could not sentence defendant to an additional 6 years in prison due to defendant’s profanity-laced outburst when the judge imposed a 22-year prison sentence. Anger at judge is not indicative of lack of remorse and not a lawful sentencing consideration.
Tolerance of Judicial Bias: DeWine voted to affirm a 12-year prison sentence of a defendant who claimed he was entitled to a new trial because the judge showed bias by questioning him on the witness stand.
Stop and Search: DeWine agreed to lower the standards needed to satisfy the requirement of reasonable suspicion to stop and search a citizen.
Gun violence: DeWine opined that the reasoning of the court opinion was insufficiently protective of gun rights. He preferred the reasoning that fails to consider general purpose, consequences and intent. The same type of reasoning promoted by the Federalist Society and other right-wing extremists that led to the over-ruling of Rowe V. Wade.
This is the record of a state supreme court justice who is out of touch with the values of most Ohioans.
Please do right for Ohio and vote for Marilyn Zayas on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Reader has learned a thing or two in his 98 years of living
This letter is directed to the readers who support Trump and the Republicans.
I am 98 years old. In 1943, I volunteered for the Army Air Corps and became a navigator on a B-17 bomber flying out of Italy.
We were shot down on our 25th mission and I joined the Polish underground Army.
I enlisted to destroy Hitler and his Nazi army.
Now I see Trump and his supporters using the same tactics that Hitler used to come to power. Known as “Brown Shirts,” the Nazi Party militia (SAS), helped Adolf Hitler rise to power in Germany. The SA’s supposed purpose was to guard Nazi Party meetings.
Hitler formed the SA in Munich in 1921, drawing membership from violent anti-leftist and anti-democratic former soldiers to lend muscle to the young Nazi Party, using them like a private army to intimidate opponents.
Just like Hitler, Trump has his Proud Boys and his Oath Keepers. They are violent anti-leftist and anti-democratic and lend muscle to the Republican Party, using them like a private army to intimidate opponents. They hate Jews and Muslims. They led the attack on the Capital in the Jan. 6 attempted coup, just like Hitler’s Brown Shirts did in his attempted coup.
Trump has hand-picked judges who think like him and packed the courts with them – just like Hitler did in the 1930s. They overturned Roe vs. Wade and now a 10-year-old child who became pregnant can’t get an abortion in Ohio. They are doing everything they can to keep black and brawn people from voting.
If you value your freedom, and love that we live in a democracy, please do not vote for the Republican candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Richard L. Hansler