Letter to the editor—Chagrin Valley Times, May 24, 2017

Bill violates free speech

I am both intrigued and fascinated by the efforts of our probate judge to cut short public input and short circuit public opinion. The effort last month to quietly insert language into HC1793 / HB 49 which would have squelched opposing points of view has been eclipsed by new language but the same intent is in a stand-alone proposed amendment  H.B. 218. This is yet another exercise by the (Geauga County Probate Judge Timothy Grendell) to expand his powers over the parks.

The amendment would be an unnecessary expansion of the limited powers given to a probate judge by the legislators who originally drafted this law

Here are the issues at hand:

The amendment would create a chilling effect on public participation and would hinder free speech, contrary to the First Amendment. The amendment would give sole discretion in declaring who is interfering with a county park district to a probate judge, who would also decide the fine and punishment;

It is undemocratic to put such powers in the hands of a single individual, and would compromise separation of powers.

The amendment would create an unfortunate opportunity for exploitation of the expanded authority by a Probate Judge for political or personal reasons.

This amendment, basically being written for one county, would apply to all counties ( for the wrong reasons ).

Please join Protect Geauga Parks in its efforts to ” shine the light of transparency” on the Geauga County probate judge.

~Bill Franz Bainbridge

Categories: Commentary

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