Election process wins

I want to express my appreciation to everyone who voted in the Nov. 5 general election – not because of a win or loss but rather for the honor of experiencing the democratic process from the role of a candidate. From the parking lot outside of Gurney Elementary School, I watched all day as a thousand citizens made their way to the polls – some in wheelchairs, some with walkers, some hurrying to get to or return to work and some with children in tow, all determined to do their civic duty and vote.

The race for a council seat in South Russell Village could be viewed as relatively unimportant in the grand scale of elections that day. And yet, those who exercised their right as a citizen and cast a ballot for or against me elevated a council race beyond its importance to me personally. Their expression of faith in a candidate through their vote demonstrated to me the trust each voter places in a public servant to do what is right for everyone.

I have always viewed the election process as a simple win or lose proposition. As a first-time candidate, I was truly humbled as I watched this democratic process from the other side of the voting booth. I now understand that it is the process – not the candidates – that wins because of those who participate in it. And it is the process of election, year after year, that best serves the people.

Thank you to those who voted, to those who worked the polls, and to those who stood as candidates – win or lose. And thank you for allowing me to be a candidate for Council. I will work for the next four years to prove worthy of your trust.

Christopher J. Berger

South Russell

The end of ‘quid pro quo’

In a Letter to the Editor in the Nov. 7 issue of the Times, Sheila Collins writes of President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that there is nothing wrong with “quid pro quo” bargaining between nations. She is right. What is not legitimate, however, and what the founders of our nation clearly intended as grounds for impeachment, is using the office of the president for personal gain as Trump did in attempting to strong-arm the president of Ukraine into smearing a political opponent by withholding congressionally approved military aid.

So yes, we should stop using the term “quid pro quo.” Let’s start calling what Trump did by its proper names:“bribery” and “corruption.” According to federal law, a public official is guilty of bribery if he or she “directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for . . . being influenced in the performance of any official act.”

Patrick Gallagher

Chagrin Falls

A vote of confidence

On behalf of myself, staff, the Board of Park Commissioners and Geauga County Probate Judge Timothy Grendell, thank you, voters of Geauga County, for supporting Geauga Park District at the polls on Nov. 5. Issue 23 was passed by 66 percent of voters in the county. Since our inception in 1961, this is our highest level of voter support ever.

We attribute our success in recent years to our goal to make your park lands and the natural wonders of this great county more accessible to you, our residents. Our leadership has ensured commitment to our mission to preserve and conserve high quality natural areas. With your help, we have protected some of the most important plant and animal species in our area. And we have successfully dovetailed these conservation initiatives with providing new and innovative parks, trails, lodges and recreational amenities. Our naturalist programs and special events are also reaching every age and every ability with new and exciting offerings.

We couldn’t be more proud to serve you, and as a 25-year employee now celebrating 25 parks that are accessible to our residents, I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a resident of Geauga County. We appreciate everything you do to make Geauga Park District successful and look forward to serving you in the future. Get out and enjoy your parks. They are here for you. Thank you for your vote of confidence.

John Oros

Executive Director

Geauga Park District

Moving Chester forward

To the voters of Chester Township, I wish to thank you again for the faith you have in me and for your vote. I am honored to have the privilege of serving all the residents of Chester Township for a third term as your trustee. It is a responsibility I take very seriously.

 I also want to thank Frank Kolk for stepping up and being willing to serve as trustee, and I want to personally and publicly thank Craig Richter for his six years of dedicated service and commitment to Chester Township as our fiscal officer.  Craig is a person of great character and integrity.  His decisions, whether the public sees it or not, have always been in the best interest of the township and not in political self-interests. He is a true servant of the people.

 With a new group of elected officials soon to be taking office, I will share my knowledge and experience to help continue moving Chester Township forward. I would encourage all residents to attend our meetings, reach out to your elected officials and ask questions directly of us. That is the best way to get accurate information.

Ken Radtke, Jr.

Chester Township

Pepper Pike at crossroads

The City of Pepper Pike is currently considering a proposal to fully develop the vast 68-acre mostly wooded property located just off of Lander Circle between Garfield Memorial Church and Orange High School. The developer wants to convert this land into a larger version of the 58-acre Pinecrest development less than 2 miles away.  The new development would be complete with office space, retail space, a parking garage and a whopping 360 new homes. The fact that this redundant monstrosity is even being considered, much less advocated for by city leaders, is very troubling. 

When asked why Pepper Pike needs such a development, we are told it would create a powerful new stream of revenue. This is not a valid argument. Without a showing of genuine financial distress and no other remedies available, this is nothing more than Pepper Pike selling itself to the highest bidder. 

If this proposal becomes reality, there is no question it will negatively impact the residents of Pepper Pike, Orange, Moreland Hills, Woodmere and anyone else who regularly uses the Lander Circle area. The negative impact may even be extreme considering that traffic seems to already be topped out on both Lander Road and Chagrin Boulevard many times during the day. While City Hall is busy adding up its new found tax wealth, expanding its employment roster and doling out significant raises here and there, it is guaranteed most of the rest of us will be asking why and how did we let this happen.  

I have lived most of my life in Pepper Pike, starting in 1959 at 3 years old.  During this time I have seen plenty of changes; most notably beautiful new neighborhoods developed along South Woodland and Shaker Boulevard, the addition of a couple nice looking commercial buildings around Lander Circle and even the paving over of the magnificent yet problematic red brick Lander Road. These developments through the years were pre-destined and did essentially nothing to harm the character and integrity of Pepper Pike. 

But, it was not so long ago that the prior mayor and his City Council approved a massive development plan which ended up permanently disfiguring the entire Brainard Road corridor of Pepper Pike. This new proposal makes that mistake pale in comparison. 

Therefore, we have now come to a crossroads in the history of Pepper Pike. The destiny of our home town is truly in the balance. Is the decision going to be made based upon preserving the character and integrity our beautiful city so that it is recognizable to our children and grandchildren decades from now as I have been blessed to experience, or are we going to revert back to a recent time when decisions like these were motivated primarily by the prospect of increased tax revenues regardless of the consequences?

If you agree, please let the mayor and City Council know your thoughts on this. The next council meeting is Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m.  

Kevin L. String

Pepper Pike

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