Support Betsy Rader

Clearly our backgrounds, careers and life experiences affect our beliefs. My career was child development and welfare, the last 18 years as a court advocate for children of abuse and/or neglect. I believe there are legitimate concerns and lack of substantive information regarding Jerry Cirino’s platform for the 18th District of Ohio Senate.

As the chairman of the Board of Cleveland Right to Life in 2013, Mr. Cirino opposed Medicaid expansion, and still does. Ohio Right to Life supported the expansion for “putting women’s healthcare first and needs of the disabled.” Mr. Cirino stated, “There’s plenty of health care available today without the need to expand Medicaid.” This was and is simply not true. Medicaid in Ohio is based on low-income (COVID-19 has caused that situation for many people and families). Medicaid qualification includes pregnant women, infants, children, older adults and individuals with disabilities. Abortion is complicated by many issues; accessible healthcare is one way to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

As board chairman, Mr. Cirino was instrumental in the Cleveland Right to Life adopting a new mission statement against same-sex marriage and parenting. As a result, they were removed as an affiliate of National Right to Life. Four paragraphs of anti-gay language remain on their website today. I am very concerned about how this impacts the risk to LGBTQ individuals and families.

Mr. Cirino’s ads focus on supporting police and jobs. No one I know, in any political party, supports defunding law enforcement. I have asked many friends; they hear the same.

I support Betsy Rader for Ohio Senate. Her experience and endorsements speak volumes about education, jobs, law enforcement and healthcare: Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters, Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Farmers Union, Laborer’s International Union of North America, Human Rights Campaign, American College of OB/GYN and many more. She has not accepted campaign funds from corporations, PACs or businesses – and pledges never to do so.

Betsy’s experience has been great preparation for serving constituents and causing change. She knows business from working in large law firms. She understands healthcare from practicing as senior counsel at the Cleveland Clinic, and worked in Washington, D.C. at Medicare and Medicaid, helping to design cost-effective, high-quality health care. Now as an employment attorney she represents the rights of those who face discrimination in the workplace. A parent and current juvenile court appointed advocate, Betsy will always support what is best for families and children.

As a senator, Betsy will fight for: campaign finance reform, removal of gerrymandering, gun sense, constitutional funding for schools, affordable healthcare for all (not a single insurance provider), reduction of prescription drug prices, racial and LGBTQ justice.

Christine Steigerwald

Bainbridge

What’s Axiom’s end game?

This is an open letter to Bryan Stone and Jeff Glueck.

You withdrew your purchase option on Beech Brook. I’m sure that the decision was made after the Pepper Pike City Council meeting on Sept. 23 where four of the seven city council members and the mayor voiced their opposition to the project.  

Why haven’t you withdrawn the ballot initiative for Issue 34? The two of you are the only ones who can contact the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections about having this issue withdrawn from the Nov. 3 ballot.  Your names are listed as the initiative authors.  To paraphrase Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent this from being on the ballot” or does Axiom have an ulterior motive?

Lou Ann Graham

Pepper Pike

Appreciate your parks

Many of us, especially families with children, navigated the COVID-19 isolation by exploring local parks. Families with strollers, kids on bikes, babies in backpack carriers and walkers and hikers of all ages headed to Whitesburg Park in Chagrin Falls, South Russell Park, Russell Uplands, Forest Ridge and Founders Field. South Chagrin Reservation made room for the increase in visitors to safely distance by closing part of Hawthorne Parkway. Geauga County Park system and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park were a great escape as well. Thank you to those communities who create and open up their local parks to the public especially this year when being outdoors helped us cope with the pandemic.

Karen Leary

Chagrin Falls

Support Chagrin schools

We are writing to ask for your support of the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District’s 3.85 mill operating levy that is on the Nov. 3 ballot. 

Because of the way our schools are funded in Ohio, the school board must ask the community to approve a tax levy approximately every three to four years. Due to the pandemic, and the uncertain economy, the board, superintendent and treasurer have spent countless hours reviewing the budget and making adjustments where necessary without directly affecting the classroom. 

Asking for only the amount that equals the bond money that rolls off of our taxes in December of 2020 will allow the school to balance the budget for the next three years while being mindful of the community’s own budget constraints. Our children have all graduated, but they benefit greatly from the strong Chagrin Falls schools. We are so impressed with the ability of our school teachers and administrators to react to the pandemic and adjust to the new and different learning environment that we now face. They deserve our thanks. A yes vote for the school levy will be my thank you gesture. We urge you to vote yes too.

Liz and Paul O’Neil

South Russell

Good Deeds Program still available

While the COVID-19 situation has limited the Geauga County Probate Court’s ability to conduct its free Good Deeds Programs in person, individuals can still take advantage of the opportunity provided by Ohio law to set up their assets now, in a way that allows them to avoid the cost and time required to go through the probate process later.

Hopefully, the COVID-19 situation will end soon and the court can once again bring the Good Deeds Program to a venue in your community.

Until then, you can obtain a free Good Deeds Program DVD and/or a free Good Deeds Checklist, by contacting Cheryl at 440-279-1840 or ckoncler@geaugacourts.org.

You can follow the DVD and use the checklist to put your estate in order and save your family time and money.

Stay well.

Judge Timothy J. Grendell

Chester Township

Is Issue 34 on ballot?

Pepper Pike developer Bryan Stone has withdrawn his offer to purchase Beech Brook, where he planned to build a mixed-use property. And yet he has refused to notify the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to remove Issue 34 from the ballot. It’s now too late to be removed, but the board could still not tabulate the results – if Mr. Stone sent a letter to do so. Pepper Pike voters must be aware of this deception and vote no on Issue 34 if they oppose the rezoning plan.  

But even more concerning is the fact that Mayor Richard Bain has refused to notify residents of Stone’s withdrawal of his offer, despite multiple requests to do so. He has refused to remove Stone’s information from the city website. Mayor Bain’s silence gives tacit approval to Bryan Stone’s deception.  

In my opinion, intentionally misleading residents is a poor way for a young developer to introduce himself to a community. It’s an even worse way to act as the mayor.

Cynthia Hazelton

Pepper Pike

Nonpartisan guide has value

I was extremely disappointed and frustrated when I opened the League of Women Voters’ election guide last week and discovered that a significant number of candidates chose not to participate. I find this appalling and highly insulting as a voter. Do these candidates believe they are too important to bother sharing information with voters? Are we not worth 30 minutes of their time? Or are they afraid that we voters might disagree with them if we are exposed to their true thoughts on important issues? I have always relied heavily on nonpartisan voter guides to assist my election decisions and my choices have often been a mix of Republicans, Democrats and Independents. I was raised in a family that thought of voting not so much as a right but as an essential responsibility and was thus taught that being an informed voter is part of my moral and civic duty. Candidates who have so little disdain for voters that they won’t bother to participate in forums for informing voters make a mockery of our great country.

Minna Zelch

South Russell

Vote for Chagrin schools

Vote yes for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District’s operating levy on Nov. 3.

I serve as a lay community member on the Finance and Budget Committee of the Chagrin Falls Board of Education and have observed first-hand how the board and administration have worked tirelessly this year to reduce $1.2 million in planned operating expenditures.

These cost reductions have enabled the board to reduce the proposed operating levy on the Nov. 3 ballot from the original 7.9 mills to 3.85 mills.

Moreover, the 3.85 mill levy from the 1997 bond issue used to construct the middle school will expire this year; accordingly, a vote in favor of the 3.85 mill operating levy will not increase your current level of property taxes.

The Chagrin schools are consistently rated among the highest in Ohio. They have earned and deserve our support. Please vote yes on Issue 67 in Cuyahoga County and Issue 20 in Geauga County.

John O’Brien

Chagrin Falls

Use same timetable

“That you will always keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end, that end is building the kingdom of God. If you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.” 

If these were words of inspiration to seminary students, they would be very appropriate.  

But this advice was given by the current U.S. Supreme Court nominee to graduating law students and are contrary to the principles our founding fathers imbued in the Constitution and Bill of Rights; i.e., the separation of church and state.

 We have the right to practice any religion freely in our country, or no religion, without fear of reprisal, and the state and our courts are prohibited from advocating on behalf of one religion over another or establishing an official religion. Atheists have the same rights as weekly church-goers. This is the core of our democratic society. 

Amy Coney Barrett’s statement above and her past legal writings bring up the legitimate concern that her faith takes precedence over her obligation to the law.

Our country just went through an extremely divisive and wrenching experience in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation.  Coney-Barrett’s 11th hour nomination is poised to do the same. Four years ago, Merrick Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama. Republican Sen. Rob Portman, noting that it had been the Senate practice to stop acting upon lifetime appointments in a president’s final year, said: “During a very partisan year and a presidential election year, that both for the sake of the court and the integrity of the court and the legitimacy of the candidate, it’s better to have this occur after we’re passed this presidential election.” 

 I agree. Unfortunately, Sen. Portman is not taking his own advice this time around.  He is trying to move the Coney-Barrett nomination forward. 

If you have concerns about the accelerated timetable to confirmation, then call Sen. Portman and express your opinion. That right is also guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Jane Birnkrant

Moreland Hills

Beware of Issue 34, and vote no

Every Pepper Pike voter needs to understand that Issue 34, which is the issue to change the zoning ordinance to mixed-use development for the Beech Brook property, will still be on the ballot in spite of recent actions by the Axiom Group. This is potentially confusing because the Axiom Group has notified Beech Brook by letter on Sept. 25 that they have terminated their contract offer to purchase the Beech Brook property and terminated their interest to proceed with the mixed-use development project. On that same date Axiom also issued a press release that confirmed this action on their part.

Bryan Stone and his Axiom Group became frustrated earlier this summer by the growing list of very good questions that they were being asked by Pepper Pike Mayor Richard Bain, members of City Council and City Planner George Smerigan during hearings to try and bring clarity to the project. So, alternatively, Axiom ceased working with the city and decided to do an “end run,” go around the mayor and City Council and start a petition with enough signatures to get the rezoning issue placed on the ballot without having the approval of the mayor and City Council. As a result of this move by Axiom, all discussion between Axiom and City Council ceased and the many open questions remained unanswered. At the Sept. 23 City Council meeting, however, the mayor and four of the seven council members voluntarily spoke out against the Axiom project and said that they were planning to vote no on Issue 34 for mixed-use rezoning of the Beech Brook property if it is still on the ballot. They encouraged residents to vote no as well. A fifth council member has since added his voice to those who oppose Issue 34. Following these strong rebukes, Axiom wisely terminated its purchase offer with Beech Brook.

Here, however, is where the plot thickens. Issue 34 may still appear on the Nov. 3 ballot even though the project to move forward with the sale and property development has been terminated by Axiom, and the mayor and five members of City Council have stated for various specific reasons that they are all opposed to Issue 34. For Issue 34 to be removed from the ballot, Axiom would have to write a letter to Mayor Bain requesting that it be removed and thus negating its earlier petition to have the rezoning issue appear on the ballot. This would be followed up by a letter from Mayor Bain to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections asking for removal of Issue 34 from the ballot. As of the writing of this letter, nothing has been initiated by Axiom to pull Issue 34 off the ballot which is more than a little curious or even suspicious.

This whole process needs to be “reset” and Beech Brook needs to get better advice from its real estate advisers. I have high admiration for Beech Brook and its mission of trying to help families with disadvantaged or mentally challenged children. I understand the reasons behind the Beech Brook board’s decision to close the Lander Road campus and I certainly understand the need to sell the property to raise funds for its endowment. It is my hope that one or more credible and viable real estate developers will come forward and partner with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to work with the Beech Brook Board and the City of Pepper Pike to construct a transaction that can be a win/win for all. The physical property with its watershed and Willey Creek ravine cannot be developed as Axiom proposed, but the southern portion of the property can be very tastefully developed for residential use while the Willey Creek ravine and the northern watershed can remain a green area that can be enjoyed by all.

So, if Issue 34 still appears on your ballot, I urge you to follow the leadership examples of your mayor and five of your City Council members and vote no on Issue 34 to rezone the Beech Brook property.

Bill Calfee

Orange

Letters to the editor

Which is it?

Last week was a packed night for me. My daughter had gymnastics at 7 p.m. The Indians were playing in their first playoff game of the season at 7:05 p.m. The first Presidential debate was at 9 p.m., so they had “pre-game” at 7 p.m. And finally, the weekly Newbury Task Force Meeting was at 7 p.m. What to do? Well, I tried to “do it all” and even if I didn’t get 100-percent participation, I would go down swinging.

The Indians got clobbered by the Yankees, which I listened to on the radio for a few innings, and then, quite frankly, I had to turn them off. How disappointing. Speaking of disappointing, the first presidential debate, in my opinion, was a bust. Hearing two old men argue for a few hours knowing that the outcome didn’t matter because I already knew who I was voting for, was worthless. Anyone who claims they are “undecided” can’t be of sound mind. The entire country made up its mind long before the debate.

Then there was the task force meeting.I can’t determine if those members that were on the previous Newbury School Board are incredibly naïve or profoundly ignorant. It has to be one or the other. When they decided that the parents in the township couldn’t be trusted with their own kids’ education and tax money was more important than community, did they really think they could quickly save face by getting the property back from the folks they just gave it to for nothing? Did they actually believe that the West Geauga Board of Education and superintendent were so interested in the citizens of Newbury that they wouldn’t go out and see if they could make a buck off of property that isn’t even remotely close to their homes? Did they think their board cared so much about a few thousand voters (for their own bond issue/levy) that they would seriously take into consideration a “give it back” plea by a group comprised of former Newbury board members? I guess they did because the task force spokeswoman, Kimya Mathews, said they need to “use their leverage” to get the superintendent to listen to them. Leverage? You do realize, Ms. Mathews, that you gave the property, the kids and millions of dollars to them just to close the school. They own the property. They control the final use of that property. You have no leverage, just a vacant lot to stare at every time you drive to the center of town. I think I’ll go with “profoundly ignorant,” not “incredibly naïve,” in this case.

Finally, my night closed out with gymnastics. What a treat. A shout out to the instructors at Emeth Gymnastics in Burton. They have made my daughter so happy during these uncertain times that I can’t thank them enough for building her character as well as her skills. What a great way to end a crazy day.

Phil Paradise

Newbury

Not a popularity contest

“It is always better to be vulgarly right than politely wrong,” so said statesman and lexicographer Noah Webster. For me, this pithy saying encapsulates our choices in the 2020 presidential election. It shouldn’t be about personality but about policy. Does my candidate promote policies that are good for the country and its citizens even if he is sometimes boorish and brash? Or does my candidate present himself polished and pleasant but lacks wisdom, courage and foresight?

Democrat Joe Biden is a weak candidate. But he is portrayed and seen as having more class and integrity than Donald Trump and many will vote for him based on that alone. Biden’s character, however, hasn’t gotten nearly the scrutiny that Trump’s has. A little digging quickly reveals he’s not the truth-telling paragon of virtue he wants us all to think he is.

The fact is, we have two personally flawed candidates. We can debate who wins the character contest but where does that get us? The classiest, most elegant and empathetic man could also be the weakest, most ineffectual and shortsighted president. So, shouldn’t a candidate’s resume, performance, vision and leadership skills be our primary focus?

A lot of criticism has been leveled against Christians who support President Trump because he doesn’t conform to what a good Christian should be. And after four years of it I just want to say, so what? We’re not selecting a lead pastor. Ideally, our president would be a good man with impeccable manners who is also a wise, capable world leader. But we have to choose between two non-ideal candidates, and since this is a leadership contest and not a popularity one, we should judge their qualifications for the job over their personal qualities and quirks. Or how many friends they have in the media.

Donald Trump says and does a lot of off-putting things, but he has also said and done a lot of good, right and commendable things. Unfortunately, because the mainstream media lean widely left, his accomplishments are downplayed or buried and his personal foibles accentuated and headlined. This is not helpful for our country if, as I have argued, a president’s performance should be prioritized over his personality, and the nation’s success and even survival depend greatly on the policies and vision of our leader.

This upcoming election will be one for the ages and I pray Americans choose wisely. Don’t vote just to satisfy your sensibilities and avoid aligning yourself with a political pariah, as popularly portrayed. Have some courage and foresight yourself and vote to restore common sense and law and order, and to preserve the freedoms our country was founded on. No man’s personal flaws are more important than that.

Caroline Smith

South Russell

Sustain falls schools

As residents of Chagrin Falls with two children in the district, we support and intend to vote for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District levy in the upcoming election.We know that healthy schools are the anchor to the community which keep it strong and a desirable place for families to live. The reason we moved to Chagrin Falls nine years ago was for the schools, and it was our hope that this decision would provide the best opportunity for our children to grow and prosper.

Our children have benefited from the tight knit community support and are learning to be responsible individuals which has been nurtured by the strong instruction they receive from their teachers. The district leadership and board deserve our support as they have thoughtfully orchestrated a plan moving forward and have made sacrifices for the future success of the school and the greater community.

We hope that you join us and vote yes for this 3.85 mill levy, which will not increase what we pay in taxes since this increase is equal to the expiring millage. Residents of this community cannot always agree on everything, but we think this is one area we should all rally together. Please join us in voting yes to sustain Chagrin on Nov. 3.

Dave and Kelly Stukus

Chagrin Falls

Cirino not helping in virus battle

Jerry Cirino is hoping to be elected to the Ohio Senate on Nov. 3. As a physician scientist who has spent more than 40 years caring for people with preventable infectious diseases, I am worried about Mr. Cirino’s suitability for a position of elected leadership in our state. He has maintained an unhealthy skepticism about the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed more than 200,000 Americans and nearly 5,000 Ohioans.

He has disputed publically the thoughtful leadership that Gov. Mike DeWine has shown during this difficult time that has prevented even more Ohio deaths. And by his risky behavior attending close public meetings unmasked, he has served to encourage the risky behavior of others that places all Ohioans at risk. Wearing masks should not be a political issue; I fear that by ignoring the health of his fellow citizens and the recommendations of our governor, Mr. Cirino has made it a political issue and is not a good candidate for election to the Ohio Senate. If everyone wore a mask in public, the epidemic would go away. Stay safe, wear a mask.

Michael M. Lederman MD

Cleveland

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