No doubt about dysfunction
If any of you folks had any doubt about the dysfunction and wrong direction of our Geauga parks since Judge Timothy J. Grendell's takeover began, you only had to attend the last park commissioners meeting and observe what went on.
The meeting started off with Director John Oros introducing the two new park commissioners. I asked about any experience in their background that might be an asset and indicate a positive direction, as opposed to the direction the park has been heading since Director Tom Curtin was fired. Neither commissioner mentioned any past interest in parks, natural area protection, involvement in any park systems or background in conservation. Folks, the new commissioners may be very fine people, but give me a break!
One commissioner's sole knowledge of any park seems to be that he played baseball in a "ball park." The other seems to have had questionable experience as a school board member with some of her financial activity there under serious question.
New park commissioners should be able to hit the ground running, and many of the highly qualified people who have been interested in being appointed are vary capable of doing just that. It's not a place for beginners to spend years learning the ropes and being pulled around by the nose by a director who's being pulled around by the nose by some probate judge.
Prior to the very limited public comment period, Director Oros again stated that questions would not be allowed. Is he for real? Should not the park administration and commissioners welcome questions and be more than happy for the opportunity to communicate in a public forum? Apparently not.
Beginning to look more and more like our parks are part of the Russian oligarchy. Perhaps they should change the name of the park newsletter to "Geauga Parks Pravda."
Folks, we can do better, and we must do better. If not, we will continue to degrade and eventually destroy a park system built up over more than 50 years by the hard work of fine professionals, many of whom still work for the parks under very stressful conditions.
It's time for our political profession at the Statehouse to do their job and give us a probate judge that the late Judge Charles "Chip" Henry would be pleased to see filling his shoes.
John G. Augustine, Parkman
It is time for some change
I read with interest the honorable Judge Timothy J. Grendell's justification for not renewing a longstanding, well-respected, highly qualified local park board member and replacing him with one of the judge's political proteges. It seems the judge believes that change is better than experience, that new faces are better than institutional memory, that people who will owe him something are better than people with knowledge.
Now I must give the judge credit for showing some political courage. Like many, I received a robo call from him endorsing the Sandy Hook Promise. His call focused on bullying and its prevention, but we all know that Sandy Hook's primary focus is on gun regulation. One has to admire him for endorsing this group's goals, some of which may be held in disfavor by many in the county.
However, that said, I have witnessed firsthand the disruptions caused by the judge's constant changes at the Geauga Park District Board. Board members do not know the history of issues and that matters have been previously decided and now are being re-discussed, because the judge was unhappy with the first outcome; they do not understand the difficult budgeting process; they cannot make and implement long-term plans.
The result is that there is no true oversight by the board, and the judge's hand-picked director leads the board down the judge's predetermined path.
If the judge truly believes that random change is good and that, to quote him, "there are no lifetime appointments," then he should resign his position. To quote a letter my wife wrote when the judge manipulated the Ohio House and Senate elections in order to avoid being disqualified by term-limit laws, "It's time for the Grendells to stop feeding at the public trough."
Ed Buckles, Troy
Vote for improved county
As a member of the Geauga County Republican Party Central Committee I have had the pleasure of working with Blake Rear for a number of years. Blake has served the county as a Republican central committeeman since 2004 and continues in that position today.
Blake is a lifelong resident of Geauga who graduated from West Geauga High School and attended Kent State University.
He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. During his Army tenure, Blake was in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.
Over the years, Blake has found time to support numerous civic organizations such as the Chardon Community Action Team, coach for the Lions Club and Little League football and baseball teams and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and National Rifle Association.
He was on the Chardon Board of Education for eight years. As a member of the Geauga County GOP, Blake has always been Johnny on the spot to assist in any way the development of the party and the growth of Geauga County.
Blake has served on numerous community activities such as the Geauga Growth Partnership as a member of the board, the opiate task force and the vice president of the planning commission board.
Blake has been a Geauga County commissioner since 2013 and is running in this year's election for that position. The commission position is a part-time position. However, he does not view it as such. He wants Geauga County residents to be aware and participate in how our tax dollars are spent.
I would ask for your support of Blake Rear and consider a vote for him a vote for an improved Geauga County.
Charles E. "Skip" Lyle, South Russell
Time to elect real local folk
"Not so easily will the lights of freedom die." That was Winston Churchill, the "Last Lion" of the British Empire, who saw England through its darkest hours of World War II.
And I wonder, "Are we past the point of no return? Is America in an inexorable decline?" Probably. Does that mean I give up fighting for her? Absolutely not. I refuse to relinquish the republic to those who would contort and corrupt her for personal gain. We, indeed, have a choice. Sit back, complain and let our country slip away; or defiantly shrug off the hopeless desperation.
It's time to send real local folk to Washington, D.C. Neighbors we know. People of integrity and principle.
I recently met with Matt Lynch, who's running for the House seat for District 14. I looked him in the eye as he spoke about his beliefs. Beliefs that founded this country. Beliefs that celebrate the limitless possibilities of hardworking men and women. Beliefs that recognize the true nature of man, not imaginary portrayals of how man should be.
So I'm endorsing Mr. Lynch. That's right, I'm a special-interest group all my own. My interest is in the preservation of our God-given rights as Americans as clearly stated in the Bill of Rights. He's got my vote.
Benito Alvarez, Chester
Track record of excellence
As a careful observer of Geauga County politics and candidates, I want to share my opinion regarding one particular race, namely for the Republican primary for Common Pleas Court.
The past year has taught us just how important it is to thoughtfully select our judges. Fortunately, I believe there is an outstanding candidate in this year's primary, namely David M. Ondrey. When you compare his long track record of excellent legal work, repeated selection as solicitor for several Geauga County communities, leadership positions on the hospital, United Way, Ravenswood and Bar Association boards, among others, he emerges as someone this county can count upon to serve as a fair, impartial and knowledgeable jurist.
No other candidate approaches David's 35 years in trial work and other types of litigation. Let's get someone seasoned and capable to handle this critical post of being a trial-court judge.
Bill Miller, Russell
A little help for his friends
Some people have responded to my recent letter defending Judge Tim Grendell for hiring his campaign manager as his Juvenile and Probate Court constable and the no-bid contract he awarded to tea-party candidate Linda O'Brien. They ask why I didn't mention Kim Laurie, like I was trying to hide that one.
It is true that the judge fired some employees, created a new position of budget coordinator and liaison for the Juvenile and Probate Court and then gave failed Lake County Tea Party candidate Kimberly Laurie the job.
As I see it, that's only three examples of when Judge Grendell used the power and the budget of his office to help out loyal friends and political allies. That doesn't mean that it's cronyism. He's simply helping friends have good jobs until their next opportunity comes along.
Yes, I know Ms. Laurie is running for Lake County commissioner again. But if that doesn't work out for her, she'll still have her Geauga County job. What's so wrong about that?
Todd Ray, Munson