Commentary

Letters to Editor—Geauga Maple Leaf, Feb. 13, 2020

 

Matt Rambo for Honorable Judge

Matt Rambo is opposing Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Tim Grendell in the March 17 primary. I worked at the juvenile court for 18 years. Matt reminds me of Judge Chip Henry. He is humble, compassionate and wants to be a public servant.

Matt Rambo is qualified and understands the difficult challenges of the abuse/neglect cases. I want a judge who puts their focus, energy and the court budget toward the best interest of children and families.

Judge Grendell has spent taxpayer money irresponsibly. Public county records show that $75,000 of probate/juvenile court (taxpayer) funds have been spent in the last eight months to mail five court newsletters to households in Geauga County. Records also show that $7,000 of court (taxpayer) money was spent to have a separate booth at the Geauga County Fair with a blow-up gavel and giveaway items.

In March 2015, Judge Grendell requested $400,000 more than the county commissioners approved in late 2014 — a 72 percent increase over what the court operated on in 2012. The commissioners found that $28,000 could be justified.

In November 2015, the county commissioners agreed to pay $30,327 in legal fees for Judge Grendell to be represented in two cases in which he fought with county officials.

In February 2016, the county commissioners approved an additional $124,743 for the juvenile court’s budget, to avoid the legal cost to fight Grendell’s court order to pay. A local newspaper reported the judge did not provide an explanation for the funds and the commissioners do not have the authority over how the court spends the money.

According to annual court reports available online, expenditures minus revenue in 2018 have increased $245,000 since 2012, while cases have steadily decreased.

Matt Rambo plans to restore integrity to the Probate/Juvenile Court. I believe he is sincere.

Christine Steigerwald, M.Ed
Bainbridge Township


Rambo for Judge

It’s hard to know where to start. I am a trustee of Protect Geauga Parks (PGP). We have been in existence for almost six years. I can tell you that our first and foremost mission is to advocate for maintaining the natural resources of our Geauga parks.

We know that people love the natural beauties of Geauga parks. They have said so repeatedly in surveys and again just last November by voting over 60 percent in favor of a tax levy renewal to support the parks.

What people are not too keen on is the runaway construction costs totaling millions of dollars. Yes, millions of dollars. They do not understand why a survey they filled out years ago was never made public. They question why our Dark Sky park — Observatory Park — is closed to hikers at times so a small number of snowmobilers can have a few more miles of trails added to their network.

They are not happy with the constant appointment of different park commissioners who have no experience in, and do not understand, preservation and conservation of natural resources, land management or other issues and topics important to the stewardship of over 10,000 acres of irreplaceable natural wonder.

We currently have a car dealer and a gravel hauler as commissioners. With all due respect to these gentlemen, neither seems to be a good fit. These are appointed positions — all appointed by Judge Tim Grendell.

And several commissioners have been removed from office for apparently disagreeing with him on something.

The probate judge has the responsibility to appoint the commissioners. Period. The commissioners have the responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations and finances of the park district.

As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, it is entirely appropriate for PGP to endorse and advocate for candidates and issues that coincide with our mission. In addition, we are non-partisan. We are not interested in the candidate’s political party. Our supporters come from both sides of the aisle.

Previous letters have had many erroneous statements regarding our goals. Our mission is simple: It is to encourage good stewardship of the Geauga park’s finances and land.

Matthew Rambo has stated his intent to return to the process that worked so wonderfully for 50 years; namely, appoint Geauga Park District commissioners that are exceptionally well-qualified, leave them alone and focus on the job of probate and juvenile court judge.

Gideon Johnson
Claridon Township


Support Russell Parks, Yes on Issue 3

It’s time for Russell Township voters to come together to take advantage of a very unique and special opportunity on March 17 to vote yes for a 1-mill levy to fund our Russell Township Citizens’ Park District (511).

What makes this levy so unique and special? We know exactly where our money is going. The money generated by the levy will be used to purchase the gorgeous “Gallo Property” – 64 undeveloped acres of land on Music Street that back up to The West Woods.

If we pass this levy, the Citizens’ Park District will purchase the “Gallo Property.” And better yet, the Citizens’ Park District has applied for a Clean Water grant that will pay for three-quarters of the purchase price.

We are so lucky to have this cost-effective opportunity to keep Russell green.

What will happen to the “Gallo Property” if the levy fails and we are not able to purchase it? Most likely, it will be bought by a developer who will divide it into lots and build on it. This outcome would be sad indeed.

Historically, Russell citizens have valued our green space by supporting township parks with a 1-mill levy. The levy on the ballot on March 17 essentially replaces the former levy, which expired two years ago. The current levy will cost $35 annually for each $100,000 in assessed value of our homes.

Park lands purchase by the Citizens’ Park District will remain under local control forever. The Citizens’ Park District answers only to the Russell Township Trustees and the residents of Russell Township.

I love living in Russell Township. It is a rural oasis and I hope it will stay that way for generations to come.

The controversy surrounding our township parks over the last couple of years has been difficult, but the quarrels have ended. Let’s take advantage of this amazing opportunity to keep Russell special and unique. Vote YES for Issue 3.

Shelley Chernin
Russell Township


New Tone Needed: Vote Rambo

I am writing as a concerned citizen who has lived in Geauga County for many years. I am also a former employee of the Geauga Park District. I resigned in protest when three longtime employees were fired in 2014.

In the past six years, the current park district administration has, in my opinion, engaged in intimidation tactics directed toward employees and the public at large. Geauga Park District is the only park district in Ohio that does not allow public comment and input at its meetings. Park employees are forbidden from openly expressing their views on any matters relating to the park district to park visitors, members of the general public and even to park district board members. All of this intimidation and negativity comes from the very top of this organization — Timothy Grendell.

This is why I feel it is time to vote for Matthew Rambo for Probate Judge. It’s time to elect a new judge who will set a new tone for Geauga Park District and for all of the citizens of this county.

Carol Gwirtz
Parkman Township

Categories: Commentary

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