Letter to the Editor—Chagrin Valley Times, July 7, 2016

Taxpayers promoting judge

Most Geauga County residents have supported the Geauga parks in the past because we believed their goals were primarily to preserve fast-disappearing natural areas and rare and endangered species in our county. Too bad the current park administration seems to have other ideas.

Did you know they have budgeted $130,000 for television commercials this year? No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The figure is indeed $130,000 for television commercials. Have you seen the one with Judge Timothy J. Grendell and his wife? Should be great publicity for his next campaign, paid for by us taxpayers.

So far the majority seems to have been spent with Fox 8, a company that broadcasts throughout Northeast Ohio. Are Mr. Grendell’s minions trying to bring more non-taxpayers in to crowd up our peaceful parks, more traffic jams on the roads, more hunters and trappers in our parks, more snowmobiles for more noise?

Back around 2009 the park district was considering the purchase of the Grandview property just north of Middlefield. My recollection is that Paul Pira, the park biologist, did an inventory of the property at that time and discovered a population of a state endangered animals on the property. Because of this rarity, I was told that Clean Ohio funds were approved by the state, but the sale was not completed, likely because of an inability to reach a sale agreement with the owners at the time.

At the recent auction of the Grandview property, the park district did not even bother to send a representative to offer a bid on the parcel containing the endangered animal population. Could it be they felt the funds could be better used for television commercials?

Last year there was discussion at a park commissioners meeting about state-listed and very rare spotted turtles being run over by automobiles in one of our Geauga parks. Funds were to be budgeted to construct turtle underpasses in a critical area that would hopefully eliminate or drastically reduce the turtle mortality.

However, this budget item seems to have mysteriously disappeared. I asked about this at the May commissioners meeting, but my questioning was met with silence. Once again, did Mr. Grendell’s television commercials take precedence?

The latest insult to our county residents took place at the July park commissioners meeting. Led on by Executive Director John Oros, the commissioners voted to do away with the public-comment period at the commissioners meeting. What comes next—maybe a campaign to abolish the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

The public-comment period has been severely limited progressively since Mr. Grendell’s era began. In the past, it gave residents an opportunity to express their views on park issues and have their statements be a part of the official public meeting record.

Commissioner William Gertz states that the comment period has been abused by those seeking a bully pulpit. My view is that comments have been courteous, informative and delivered in a very professional manner in virtually all cases. Decide for yourself by viewing unedited videos of commissioners meeting at the website of Protect Geauga Parks.

John G. Augustine, Parkman

Categories: News

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