Base vote on facts

I was recently made aware that a mailer was sent out to a small group of Bainbridge residents that made claims about Jeff Markley that are intended to paint an unflattering picture of Mr. Markley and his intentions regarding his candidacy for trustee.

First, I want to state that I did not authorize the contents of the letter, nor was I aware that it had been sent. I have not vetted the claims in the letter, though I assume that they are a mixture of facts and conjecture designed to appeal to the emotions of voters. These kinds of tactics are well beneath the person that I am and would never be used by me in a campaign for a local office. I did not enter the race for trustee to win at all costs and would never disparage the name of a fellow candidate for my own personal or political gain.

I entered this race in order to provide my own fresh ideas and perspective to the board without judging past actions of the current team of trustees, hoping to improve an already wonderful community with my input. I chose to run alongside AJ Khoury because I feel that he is highly qualified and passionate about the community. That said, I have nothing but respect for the work that Mr. Markley has done to make Bainbridge a great place to live, work and raise a family. I have never questioned his good intentions or his desire to do the will of the citizens of the township.

There are three very capable candidates asking for your vote on Nov. 2. All three of us love this community and want to make it better. Please make your choice based on facts, not fear, and on who you feel will make the best team for the future of the township.

Michael D. Bates

Bainbridge

Support for candidates

We write in support of Mark Porter, Ruth Cavanagh, Christopher Bell and Greg Heilman for South Russell Village Council.

U.S. Naval Academy and Rutgers Law School graduate Mark Porter has 15 years of experience as a member of South Russell council. During his tenure in office, Mark has chaired safety, streets and building committees and presently, is President Pro Tem of council. Mark played a key role in the village’s purchase of the Muggleton Farm thus establishing our village park; led council in developing our village cemetery; has promoted prudent fiscal policies for every department; and has strongly supported legislation and action to correct storm water runoff challenges. His continuing leadership on council would greatly benefit our community.

Ruth Cavanagh has long demonstrated her commitment to South Russell Village. As a member of village council during the William Young administration, Ruth served on the building, property, safety and public utility committees and as a member of the planning commission.

Ruth’s community involvement includes serving as a nurse at both Cleveland Local and Newbury Local Schools; Chagrin Falls Alumni Association member and current trustee; life member of the Chagrin Falls Historical Society; and three terms as a Paw Paw Lake Community trustee.

Ruth sees stormwater runoff as a challenge to our village that must be met and is an enthusiastic supporter of our safety, service and building departments following a fiscally responsible plan.

Christopher Bell is seeking a first term on South Russell Village Council. A Chagrin Falls High School, University of Akron and Kent State University graduate, Chris is a marketing communications executive for a Cleveland based manufacturing company. Chris’ community involvement includes coaching youth sports and serving as the president of Kensington Green Homeowners Association. Recently, he was appointed to the South Russell Village Board of Zoning Appeals.

Chris supports finding solutions to the stormwater issues that challenge all our residents. Chris also supports continued responsible village fiscal management that promotes an active public safety force, a responsive and engaged service department, and building and zoning plan that works to ensure a well maintained yet diverse community of homes and businesses within a framework that is both accountable to the residents and civil in approach.

As a 45-year member of the South Russell community, Greg Heilman welcomes the opportunity to serve as a member of our South Russell council. Greg is a retired Cuyahoga County law enforcement investigator. Greg also has served as the director of security at Thistledown Racetrack. Greg’s experience would be valuable to our community for both safety and service departments. Greg has attended virtually all council meetings and most committee meetings for the past year, accumulating a great understanding of our village processes. His goals for the village are to address storm water issues, keeping our village safe and rural, and the continuation of road improvement projects.

In closing, we wholeheartedly support candidates Mark Porter, Ruth Cavanagh, Christopher Bell and Greg Heilman for your consideration and thank you for your past and future support.

Christopher J. Berger

Gerald J. Canton

South Russell Village Council

Natural gas? Yikes

When you were last heating your home on Jan. 1, 2021, the price of natural gas was $2.54 per standard measure BTU (British Thermal Unit). On Sept. 30, 2021, the price of natural gas was $5.87, an increase of 131 percent, more than double.

Thank you Mr. Biden for closing the Keystone Pipeline, eliminating drilling on federal lands and for increased regulation.

The oil drillers took notice and reacted accordingly.

I wonder if voters who put you in office will thank you this winter when their home heating bills at least double.

Sheila Collins

Solon

Vaccines save lives

It is depressing to continue hearing the opposition to the vaccine mandate, as seen in a letter to the editor last week (“Health board deserves support”). The U.S. has now reported nearly 100,000 new COVID-19 fatalities since the summer surge started and hospitalizations are still at levels not seen since last winter. Scientists tell us that many of those deaths and hospitalizations might have been avoided if we had reached the targeted 65 percent vaccination rate before the delta variant emerged.

One thing we never hear is an alternative plan for bringing the COVID-19 virus under control. That is because there isn’t one.The only path is to reach herd immunity, and the only way to get there is through vaccinations.

What we do hear a lot about from mandate opponents is how their Constitutional liberties are being trampled. In fact, you don’t have to read beyond the first sentence of the Constitution to find clear justification for the mandate in these words : “…[to] provide for the common defence” and “promote the general welfare….”

Before you scoff that no one back then was thinking about vaccines, in 1777, Gen. George Washington initiated a mandatory military vaccination to protect his troops fighting in the American Revolution against a smallpox epidemic that was raging.

Finally, contrary to the letter writer’s claim, surveys show that nearly two-thirds of U.S. business leaders support the mandate, including at such major corporations as CVS, Humana, Kraft Heinz, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, AT&T and Walmart.

Republican leaders in the Ohio House last week pulled their anti-vaccine-mandate bill just ahead of a floor vote in the face of opposition from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Vaccine Coalition of businesses, healthcare organizations and children’s hospitals.

Please get vaccinated. Listen to UC San Diego Health intensive-care physician Venktesh Ramnath, who wrote this recently: “Vaccines succeed not because they are 100 percent risk-free to the individual but because collective efforts focus on achieving the common good.”

Patrick Gallagher

Bainbridge Township

Kan clear primary victor

For two consecutive weeks the Times has displayed a pro-incumbent bias in reporting on the Ward 4 City Council race in Solon. For some reason, it seems they have a level of contempt for the challenger.

The commentary, “Cast a ballot,” on Sept. 23 called the primary election a “competitive race.” But according to the voting results, this was a landslide in favor of Michael Kan. The final tally of this primary election revealed 62.7 percent for Mr. Kan and 34.7 percent for Mr. Kotora. A nearly 30-point advantage can hardly be described as “competitive.” This type of spin is both deceptive and unfair.

Under the Sept. 30 headline, “Ward 4 campaign fund report draws reaction,” the reporter finds nothing improper regarding any funds. However, she gives ample space to Mr. Kotora to complain and gripe about Mr. Kan’s campaign. Mr. Kotora is also allowed to repeat a fabricated and unsupported claim that Mr. Kan is seeking some unknown “judgeship.” This is a rather desperate attempt to smear his opponent. The reporter also states that a contribution for the Kan campaign came from Taiwan, but she conveniently fails to mention that it came from an American citizen living there. This is clearly indicated on Mr. Kan’s campaign finance report.

The voters of Solon can do without media reporting that is bent on aiding the incumbent in any race. They simply deserve fair and unbiased coverage of the candidates. If this were the case, the editorial would have clearly reflected an election that was far more one-sided than anything else.

Michael Kolat

Solon

Experience matters

My name is Jeff Markley and I am once again running for township trustee, a position I have enjoyed for 16 years. My family and I thank you for your past support and again this Nov. 2.

As I look back on my growth as trustee there are several things about which I can feel a sense of pride, beginning with the hirings of our outstanding employees in the fire, police, service and zoning departments. These employees provide the day-to-day service to you, our “customers,” and whom I believe understand the values of public service and do their best to answer questions, provide solutions and be there to help.

I’m proud of the projects which have had my individualized attention as landscape architect and land planner, especially the development of our parks and cemeteries. River Road, Heritage, and Centerville Mills Parks and Restland Cemetery were planned and built or expanded and improved and I’m happy to have been a part of that legacy.

I worked very hard to integrate our Road Department and Parks Department into a unified, efficient, and highly functional Service Department, and am proud of how it functions today. These men and women provide us with road, park, and public facilities maintenance and offer residents services like Clean Up Week, the Recycling Center, and the special seasonal events with which they partner with the Bainbridge Civic Club.

Combining the efforts of past and present trustees, the fiscal office staff and fiscal officer, dedicated residents, and department employees, the township is fiscally sound. It takes a lot of work and critical dialog on expenditures and I’m proud of this achievement.

I’m saddened that Lorrie Sass Benza, whom I’ve known for many years, has chosen to retire from this office. Her knowledge of township law and her uncanny memory will be deeply missed by the township, and I wish her the very best and will support her in whatever she chooses to pursue!

You are being asked to elect two trustees and there are three candidates. If I was fortunate to continue as your trustee for the next four years, I would continue to build on these previous achievements. I would also continue to work on those projects and problems whose solutions are much more difficult to fully achieve, including flooding, traffic management, and consistently reliable power. Responsible economic development and redevelopment that supports, not threatens, the Bainbridge semi-rural lifestyle benefits all of us as taxpayers and residents, including and especially the Kenston School District, and will be encouraged.

The township will have at least one new trustee next year and the learning curve is steep; fortunately, with outstanding department heads and experienced elected officials, the transition can be made smoother. Please pay attention to the character and morals of the candidate(s) you choose; if you don’t know, ask and become educated…I know I am as this campaign unfolds.

Remember that experience matters and I represent that experience in this race.

Jeff Markley

Bainbridge

Respect the facts

Several school districts in Geauga County have recently been roiled by debates over two issues—the implementation of mask mandates and the teaching of Critical Race Theory — in elementary and secondary schools. These debates are now spilling over into the election of school board officials. Any candidate running for a local school board ought to be serious about an education for our children that fosters robust debate on a range of issues based on valid evidence. To that end, any candidate for a seat on a school board ought to grasp basic facts in such subjects as science, history, education and the law.

In the current heated climate surrounding school board elections, however, some candidates have shown an alarming ignorance of or disrespect for such facts, especially when they concern mask mandates and CRT. Some candidates argue that mask mandates are unconstitutional, a violation of individual freedoms. This simply isn’t true. Since Jacobson v Massachusetts (1905), the Supreme Court has consistently upheld the principle that individual liberties can be limited in the interest of protecting public health. Moreover, there is ample medical and scientific proof that mask mandates decrease the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and safeguard people against illness and death.

Why wouldn’t we want a mask mandate in our schools? Some candidates also decry the teaching of CRT in secondary school classrooms. But CRT isn’t taught in these classrooms; it’s taught mainly in law schools. These same candidates sometimes claim that CRT is Marxist, but Marxism is primarily about class, not race. Concepts derived from CRT—for example, the idea of institutional racism—are sometimes taught in secondary schools, but why shouldn’t they be? Why shouldn’t they be part of that healthy debate that is central to a good education?

Our students aren’t “snowflakes.” I know this from having been an educator for my entire career. They want to be challenged with fresh, contending views so that they can prepare themselves for life in our increasingly diverse, complex nation and world. Sometimes, these challenges can create anxiety, but over the long term, students are better for their emotional, intellectual and moral struggle. Our society is better—more tough-minded, more compassionate, more resilient and better informed—for it, too.

School board candidates who are either ignorant of or willfully distort basic facts on the issues of mask mandates and CRT have already proven themselves, by their very ignorance or lies, dangerous to safe and sound education and, therefore, unfit for office. Do we really want to entrust persons who play fast and loose with the facts with making policy decisions affecting our children? Vote for those candidates who respect the facts and value classroom debates founded on valid evidence.

John McBratney

Munson

Care about road safety

Residents on all township and county roads have no say concerning safety issues on their roads.  Newbury Township trustees passed the responsibilities to the county engineers who tossed it to the state then back again to the county and township.  Finally, all suggested that we should contact our state senator and a representative to help us. 

The senator finally replied that this problem  should be taken up with the trustees and county engineers and the representative stated that there is something in the works for this problem.

In conclusion, safety on our residential streets is of no concern to township, county or state leaders. Numerous accidents (signs damaged, utility poles broken in half, vehicles coming through side lawns that finally come to a rest far onto an adjacent field) are OK.

“It’s not our responsibility so why should we try to solve the problem?” With all the safety laws put into effect by all our governments, the taxes on gasoline, license, IFTA and other commercial highway use taxes

should cover the expense of our roads. With our inadequate ability to protect the safety of our township residents, why should we be responsible for local road taxes whether it be old, new, or a renewal?

Jeff Munn

Newbury

Public dollars, but no voice?

I recently learned that the Geauga County Park Board at their Sept. 13 meeting voted on a motion to allow limited pre-screened public input during their meetings. Sadly, the result of that vote was a 2-2 tie, meaning the motion failed and the public is yet again silenced.

I would ask the two gentleman who voted no to explain to the public at their next board meeting their reasoning. You owe that much to “We the People.”

As a township trustee and a member of the public who has attended Chester Township Board of Trustee meetings for more than 30 years, I find the silencing of the public by the County Park Board to be at the very least disrespectful and evasive.

Is the refusal by the Geauga Park District board to receive public input at public meetings because meetings will take longer or might be more emotional or uncomfortable when the public challenges the board with questions that are deserving of answers? I really would like to know.

As a trustee for the township of Chester the past 10 years and as a resident attending meetings for 20 years prior to that, we have always permitted citizens to speak at our meetings. It is incumbent on the chair to skillfully balance the right of the people to be heard and the need to efficiently conduct the people’s business. The citizens also have a responsibility to be considerate in their conduct and comments. It is a good thing when people respectfully engage with their government representatives (at all levels).

I have experienced public input in person for more than 30 years at our township meetings. At times, the people offer suggestions or ask questions that impact our decision-making process. That is a good thing, to be encouraged, not silenced. If Chester (and other municipalities) can do it, why can’t (or why won’t) the Geauga County Park Board allow public input? The public deserves a direct answer from those that voted no.

It is true that the law says a public body must only conduct its business in public and the people do not have a right to be heard at these public meetings. However, as Judge Forest Burt once told me, “What the law says and what is right aren’t necessarily the same thing.” I ask our Geauga County Park Board to do the right thing.

Ken Radtke, Jr.

Chester Township

Support science over fear

As a family physician practicing, residing and raising four daughters these past 30-plus years in the Chagrin Falls area, I have been in a unique position to share some of the greatest triumphs and agonizing misfortunes with friends, neighbors and patients. I never, however, imagined having to deal with this seemingly endless global pandemic. But I assure you that I am more confident than ever that the science is and was correct. Vaccinations work. The key is to keep vaccinating the unvaccinated. Until then, wear a mask, social distance and use common sense.

I write now because I grieve for our community. When I read about Chagrin Falls in a recent Plain Dealer story, “School boards facing wrath of parents,” the article referred to boards dealing with parents motivated by misinformation, half-truths, hijacking the orderly operations of highly successful school districts. Their purpose was to steer discussion to combat the phantom menace of critical race theory and an anti-science agenda.

For me the one thing COVID-19 showed us was a global pandemic really does kill the poor, the elderly, the underserved and the unvaccinated, efficiently and without discrimination. The same conservatives who wouldn’t give a single vote to pass the Affordable Care Act, continue to actively protest against masking, social distancing, testing, contact tracing, vaccination safety and, oh yes, ring the critical race theory alarm bells. It’s exhausting and makes the job of educators and physicians so much harder.

I’m exhausted. We’re exhausted. We find ourselves literally back in high school, arguing in a dystopian debate club, where everyone loses. Stop it. Listen to the science from real scientists, not cherry picked to say what we want to hear, like why we shouldn’t have to wear a mask (everyone who can wear one should) or why we shouldn’t support equity, justice and inclusion (in case I need to say this—we should all care about equality, justice and inclusion).

But I don’t expect you to take my word for this. I do ask you to follow the guidance the American Academies of Family Physicians and Pediatrics, who both support the CDC’s guidance relative to universal masking in K-12 schools (age 2 and older) reflecting concern over the widely circulating and highly contagious B.1.617.2 Delta variant.

We have a general election Nov. 2 and many citizens have stepped forward to run for Chagrin Falls School Board. Some are motivated in wanting to challenge the need for masking, the role of science, and fear the very mention of diversity, equity and inclusion in our classroom, seeking instead to allow parents to overrule the board, which ultimately leaves the vulnerable in our entire community at risk.

Instead, we have four candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot who have a record encouraging our kids in a thoughtful and comprehensive manner. Please join me in voting for Chagrin Falls School board candidates Lori Bendall, Lauren Miller, Mary Kay O’Toole and Robert Schleper who support science, integrity and fairness to all.

Mark N. Rood

South Russell

Choose board carefully

I grew up in the Midwest, and then migrated to California in pursuit of the “Golden Dream.” During the last 20 years, though, I personally experienced the result of progressive politics seeping into all aspects of the culture, particularly academics. After seeing the resultant degradation in the community, we simply abandoned the dream and moved to Chagrin Falls.

Our strategy was simple.We wanted to live in a community that was cohesive and caring. We had our fill of divisiveness and conflict, and wanted to get back to living in a manner consistent with our core values and with like-minded neighbors.

Now, we are caught up in conflict over DEIJ, critical race theory, and the equality of outcome vs equality of opportunity.

Is this the curriculum with which we want our children to be instructed? Instead of re-educating us on our differences, I think the time has come to focus on teaching foundational human skills and the values embodied in our nation that makes us uniquely American.

Looking over the candidate list for the Chagrin School Board, I see the group Erin Gooch, Meghan Kuenzig-Mclain and Mandy Hilston, who have rightly come to the conclusion that the time has come to push-back against the divisive conflict sub-culture and reset our educational focus on giving our students life skills.

I think it is time for parents to take back the responsibility of how their children are educated and to choose their school board members carefully.

Robert Schrader

Chagrin Falls

Price goes up

In case people have not noticed yet, natural gas prices for our home heating have more than doubled. My current fixed price for natural gas is $2.35 MCF. That will soon come to pass and if you now want a fixed priced contract you are looking at the $4.97 MCF range, which is my “last chance” fixed price offer from Ohio gas and electric.

This is a consequence of the Biden Administration policies against the energy sector since his first day in office. The damages to the state of Ohio are just beginning. Just look at where your heating bills will be going. Can you easily find propane gas for your grills? How much is your food costing? Do you see the economic damage yet? If not please open your eyes and wake up as the price surges are just beginning for our core basic supplies. Maybe some of you have so much money you don’t care, but for the majority of us, it will be a long, cold winter.

Are we better off from, “Orange man bad?”

Jennifer DeMuth

Pepper Pike

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