Tin cup is in wrong hands
Many of you folks likely noticed the recent letter to the editor from two Geauga Park District rangers asking for donations for their canine program. They are to be commended for desiring adequate funding to make their canine program as professional as possible.
However, one wonders why they were not provided with necessary funding in their current budget. Should park professionals be forced to hold out a tin cup for the funding they need?
This way of doing business seems particularly strange as the park district has been repeatedly told by the Geauga County budget commission that they have been accumulating too much funds and, in effect, need to spend it or they will have one or more levies suspended. In fact, one park levy was recently suspended for a time by the commission for exactly this reason, costing the park district hundreds of thousands of dollars. What gives?
Well, such actions by the park administration show a pattern.
As an example, a while back one of the park commissioners in a discussion with the park biologist was told of a problem of very rare turtles being run over by vehicles in our parks. A solution was offered, and I was told by one of the commissioners at that time that funds would be budgeted for the solution. However, no corrective project seems to be in the works, and, when questioned about this, the park administration refuses to answer any questions. Could they be waiting for donations to save an endangered-threatened species?
Meanwhile, they have $130,000 budgeted for TV commercials, many starring Judge Timothy J. Grendell and his wife.
In a continuation of this pattern, a number of years ago the park biologist discovered an endangered species of animal on the Grandville Inn property. At the recent auction of this subdivided property, the park district did not even bother to send someone to possibly bid on the parcel sheltering the species with the idea of protection. The pattern continues.
Such a pattern of ineptitude or ignorance indicates an administration that has a distorted notion of why we should be preserving parkland and precious natural areas. Protecting ever-declining biodiversity should be a first priority, not something far less important than publicity for the judge or his friends running for public office.
The overall pattern by the parks administration seems to be to lessen the parks — appoint unqualified commissioners, advocate levy suspensions, look at parkland mainly as a location for amusement, hunting, trapping and other extractive activities and look at land acquisition of precious natural areas as low priority. Seems like a return to the l9th-century robber barons rather than progressive park leadership in the 21st century.
Perhaps the idea of funding park operations with donations should start with he who shall be obeyed, the head of the parks, Judge Grendell. Instead of paying him a salary, he could stand out on the square with a tin cup begging donations. Just think of the tax dollars we could save.
What do you think? Will it work? Fat chance!
John G. Augustine, Parkman