Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To Judge Grendell and the Geauga Park Board--It Ain't Over till It's Over

Site of the October 12, 2014 Meeting

Citizens are really fired up and angry about the way Judge Timothy Grendell has manipulated the Geauga Park system and its governing board. Grendell fired the entire previous board as well as the former acclaimed director Tom Curtin (after they canned Tom Curtin, the Delaware County Preservation Parks system quickly grabbed him up!). The new board, totally inexperienced in parks and park management, fired long-time employees, without cause (in Ohio, if you don't have union protection, you can be fired at will, no reason given). The new board has pulled many shenanigans, some of questionable legality. They rewrote the by-laws, adding a laundry list of "recreational" activities allowed in the park. These included gas and oil drilling (and possibly fracking), gun ranges, timbering, ATV and snowmobiling on trails meant for horses or walking, as well as more traditional park recreational activities. This laundry list has seen been rescinded--the board was essentially forced to do that by the public uproar and protests. The board then replaced that ridiculous by-law language with a generic statement that seems to allow anything not illegal--so much for improvements!
Timothy Grendell

I imagine Judge Grendell and the new board thought that the protest would peter out, that people would just give up and stop coming to protest events and board meetings.

That has not happened.

This past Sunday, about 130 people were shoe-horned into the log cabin on Chardon Square in a meeting of those opposed to Judge Grendell and the direction of the new board. Many brilliant speakers addressed the audience. Chardon and Geauga County is full of well-educated people who believe in democracy, who won't stand for the autocracy and dictatorship of Judge Grendell. Some people who spoke included Jim Mueller of Russell Township, John Augustin, a former board member, Kathryn Hanratty, and others. People enjoyed cider, donuts, and local apples, bought protest shirts, and enjoyed socializing with their friends and neighbors in the crowd. Some of the smartest and bravest people in Geauga County were there. I noticed Deb Reiter, Kathy Flora, Kathleen O'Neill Webb, Rick Webb, Ron Wiech, Catherine and Elbert Whitright, and many more.

After Sunday's meeting, at Big Creek Park.

Linda makes her beliefs clear!

Last night's monthly Geauga Parks board meeting was called off at the last legally possible time, a little over 24 hours before it was scheduled. Undaunted by this, 90 to 100 people still came to protest, many wearing their "Preserve, Conserve, Protect Geauga Parks" shirts, and many holding up signs. For a rainy Tuesday evening, even after the official meeting was cancelled, that is an astonishing show of force, of will, of principle.

Judge Grendell, these folks are not going to be quiet; they are not going away. They will fight to save the Geauga Park system! It ain't over till it's over!

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