Welcome to Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga County Ohio

Commentary for 2023 January thru March

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2024 Jan-March,      


WHY ARE THERE NO EV CHARGING STATIONS AT INTERSTATE REST STOPS? BLAME THE FEDS

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
By Jon Miltimore | Foundation for Economic Education

Joe Biden’s $5 billion funding plan for electric vehicles failed to allow rest stops to offer charging stations, an Atlanta news station discovered.

When Georgia resident Anita Jefferson pulls her Tesla out of her garage each morning, she knows it's fully charged and ready to go. But she told a local reporter her confidence disappears when she hits the interstate. Charging stations seem few and far between, even at places where you’d expect them to be, like rest stops.

“The one place you would want to travel and stop would be a state rest stop,” Jefferson told an Atlanta news station. “I want to get an answer as to why they’re not there.”

Jefferson got her answer from WXIA-TV Atlanta’s Verify team: There are no charging stations at rest stops because they are prohibited under a federal law—one that stretches all the way back to the Eisenhower administration.

YOU WOULD BE PAYING FOR THAT ENERGY’

In 1956, Ike signed into law a bill—the Federal-Aid Highway Act—that paved the way (pun intended) for the interstate highway system, which included rest areas at convenient locations.

While there were numerous problems with the legislation, a relatively minor one was that it created strict limits on what could be sold at these rest stops. Today, federal law limits commercial sales to only a few items (including lottery tickets), the Verify team found. When President Joe Biden rolled out a $5 billion funding plan for states to create EV charging stations, he neglected to carve out a commercial exemption for EVs.

“You would be paying for that energy,” Natalie Dale of the Georgia Department of Transportation told WXIA-TV Atlanta. “That would count as commercialized use of the right-of-way and therefore not allowed under current federal regulations.”

BUREAUCRATS AND NONBUREAUCRATS

If you think this sounds like an inauspicious roll out to the massive federal EV program, you’re not wrong.

Allowing drivers to charge their EVs at convenient, familiar locations that already exist along interstate highways is a no-brainer—yet this simple idea eluded lawmakers in Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, it illustrates a much larger problem with the top-down blueprint central planners are using to create their EV charging station network.

“We have approved plans for all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to help ensure that Americans in every part of the country…can be positioned to unlock the savings and benefits of electric vehicles,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a 2022 statement.

While it’s good the DOT isn’t trying to single-handedly map out the locations of thousands of EV charging stations across the country, there’s little reason to believe that state bureaucrats will be much more efficient. A review of state plans reveals a labyrinth of rules, regulations, and stakeholders dictating everything from the maximum distance of EV stations from highways and interstates to the types of charging equipment stations can use to the types of power capabilities charging stations must have.

The primary reason drivers enjoy the great convenience of gasoline stations across the country—there are some 145,000 of them today—is that they rely on market forces, not central planning. Each year hundreds of new filling stations are created, not because a bureaucrat identified the right location but because an entrepreneur saw an opportunity for profit.

Bureaucracy will never be able to match the efficiency of markets, which use millions of signals to reach decisions, and are constantly being corrected by market changes, all in the pursuit of serving customers and making a profit.

This, the economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out, is precisely the opposite of what bureaucrats do.

“A bureaucrat differs from a nonbureaucrat precisely because he is working in a field in which it is impossible to appraise the result of a man’s effort in terms of money,” Mises wrote in his seminal work Bureaucracy.

INCENTIVES AND KNOWLEDGE

Just how burdensome these regulations will prove remains to be seen.

While some states will develop EV charging plans more amenable to market forces than others, all of them are likely to suffer to some extent because the push toward EVs itself has been top-down, driven by politicians trying to push consumers off of gas-powered vehicles.

What’s clear is that the bureaucratic structure of DOT’s charging station blueprint does not bode well for consumers. Charging technology and transportation are constantly evolving, and politicians and bureaucrats simply can’t respond to these changes as efficiently as markets.

So while there is much talk today that EV charging stations will soon outnumber gas stations, there’s reason to be skeptical of this claim—even with the government’s $5 billion spending spree.

There’s little reason to believe that state planners will create a framework with the proper incentive structure to meet the market's needs. Bureaucrats and politicians lack both the knowledge and proper incentives to create a functional EV market.

If you doubt this, just ask Anita Jefferson, who can’t even charge her Tesla at rest stops—because of a federal law passed in 1956.


MUELLER SPEARHEADING RECALL OF FOUR GPH BOARD MEMBERS

Thursday, March 23, 2023
By Ann Wishart | Reprint from March 23 Geauga County Maple Leaf

Russell Township Trustee Jim Mueller wants to stop the Geauga County Board of Health’s plan to lay off a majority of Geauga Public Health employees after signing a cooperative agreement with the Lake County General Health District.

Russell Township Trustee Jim Mueller wants to stop the Geauga County Board of Health’s plan to lay off a majority of Geauga Public Health employees after signing a cooperative agreement with the Lake County General Health District.

Mueller said in a phone call March 18 he thinks four of the five members of the district’s board of directors should be removed from office.

“I’m going to do more now,” he said. “(Ohio Revised Code) section 3709.35 says we can recall them.”

Mueller represents Russell Township on the Health District Advisory Council, which is made up of one trustee from each township, as well as a representative from each of the county’s five cities or villages and one Geauga County commissioner.

The HDAC elects board members and approves the annual budget for GPH. They meet quarterly and Mueller attended the March 15 meeting.

Under the ORC, a public official can be removed from office for malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance and for failure to do their duties, Mueller said, adding he needs a few more HDAC members to join the movement to recall.

“I’m filing it against four members,” he said. Dr. Mark Hendrickson was not in office when the 27-page contract between GPH and LCGHD (Lake County General Health District) was drawn up to apparently gut the Geauga County office and terminate 17 employees at the end of March, Mueller said.

LCGHD workers would then take on the duties of the former Geauga County employees in a move Geauga’s health board claimed will save GPH from possible fiscal failure. GPH employees would be welcome to apply for any open positions at the LCGHD, but their hiring would not be guaranteed.

The HDAC elected Hendrickson to the health board just hours after the March 15 GPH special board meeting where the contract was unanimously signed. He replaced board President Richard Piraino, who said during the GPH meeting he had only had a short time to review the contract.

“It’s obvious to me the fix was in,” Mueller said. “They had made up their minds.”

The Geauga County Maple Leaf asked the health board to produce the minutes showing the GPH employee layoffs were decided in open session, but Mueller said he believes those decisions were not made in public meetings.

The board’s private counsel, Bryan Kostura, said in an email those deliberations were not subject to Ohio’s open meetings act.

Mueller said he will file a suit against the board for violating the Sunshine Laws that he feels require such actions be taken in open meetings.

“I’ll ask that the contract be null and void until the Sunshine Law violation is adjudicated. That should delay it a couple of months,” he said.

Even the HDAC members who were tentatively in favor of the contract asked the board’s action be delayed long enough for the council members to read and digest the implications, Mueller said.

His fellow Russell Township trustees disagreed with each other during the March 16 regular trustees meeting.

The matter was on the agenda at Mueller’s request. However, Mueller was absent from the March 16 trustees meeting due to a scheduling conflict.

“Jim was alarmed at the situation with the board of health,” said Trustee Matt Rambo, adding Mueller requested a resolution reflecting the trustees’ lack of confidence in the board.

“I don’t necessarily disagree with him,” Rambo said. “The decision was questionable to do what they did.”

However, Rambo said he read through the contract between the two health district boards.

“It doesn’t seem terrible to me,” he said, admitting he was originally unhappy with the elimination of positions previously held in Geauga County, but the agreement is a “simple cost sharing of personnel.”

He noted Mueller objected vocally to the contract during the GPH board meeting.

“Jim was heard. I think that’s where our role stops,” Rambo said.

Trustee Kristina Port disagreed.

“I believe Geauga County should retain a health department as opposed to going with (LCGHD),” she said, noting it will be two years before Geauga County can get out of the contract. “We already have a foundation for a health department. It would be hard to rebuild that.”

Townships and villages could address questions about alleged financial shortfalls by contributing more toward the health department operations, she said, adding the issues may be political as well as financial.

“I think there are factors that aren’t positive in respect to Lake (County),” she said.

Rambo, who is chairman of the board of trustees, stood firm.

“I don’t believe it is the business of township trustees to vote on the competence of the (GPH) board,” he said. “I will not be calling a special meeting to discuss this matter in public forum. We will not be passing a resolution.”

HDAC President Jonathan Tiber had reservations about the contract during a phone interview March 18.

“This agreement might be necessary and wise now, but why didn’t they see it coming two years ago? Why not at least ask the voters to authorize a levy? At least ask?” Tiber said.

He also was concerned about rebuilding a health district once it is dismantled should the GPH board change its mind in two years and not renew the contract.

“If it’s a failure, it’s a long turnaround,” Tiber said. “I want what’s best for the residents. In a perfect world, I don’t want to do this.”


MAJORITY OF GPH EMPLOYEES TERMINATED EFFECTIVE MARCH 31

Thursday, March 23, 2023
By Amy Patterson | reprint from March 23 Geauga County Maple Leaf

All five members of the Geauga Public Health Board approved a Cross Jurisdictional Cooperative Agreement with the Lake County General Health District during a special meeting March 15 — and announced simultaneously the termination of a majority of GPH employees effective March 31.

 

The special meeting, held at 4 p.m. — three hours before the annual meeting of the Health District Advisory Council (HDAC) — was announced March 10. A draft of the agreement first became available to the public March 14, but included neither dates nor a timeline for a shift to a LCGHD-staffed department.

Employees, several of whom lined the back of the meeting room on the third floor of the county administration building, found out their termination date at the same time as the public.

Board members Carolyn Brakey and Lynn Roman took credit for negotiating the deal over the last few months, since LCGHD announced late last year they were no longer willing to share Administrator Adam Litke and Environmental Health Director Dan Lark with GPH.

“Under this agreement, we estimate we will save Geauga residents between $350,000 and $600,000 a year in health services costs,” Brakey said. “We will continue to maintain our vehicles, our office, our website and our identity.”

Since November, Roman and Brakey have provided periodic updates to the board about plans to replace Litke with a new administrator, as well as discussions with LCGHD Commissioner Ron Graham.

“We had another meeting this week, Lynn and I, with Ron Graham. One thing that came up was some discussion regarding programs we may be able to create, additional services to the community, if we partner with Lake that would have no additional cost to (GPH),” Brakey told the board Feb. 2.

However, none of those reports contained details of the agreement, which Roman and Brakey said were being considered by the full board for the first time March 15.

Both Roman and Brakey raised the specter of looming budget shortfalls, although records obtained from the Geauga County Auditor’s Office show GPH had a year-end general fund balance of $2,713,235, with a carryover of $1,824,759 — a budget totaling at $4,537,994.

Another report from the auditor’s office shows a 2022 GPH budget report indicated expenses exceeded revenues by about $44,000 for all funds combined and that GPH projects a shortfall of roughly $450,000 in its 2023 budget.

Questions sent to the GPH board, Interim Administrator Adam Litke and the board’s attorney, Bryan Kostura, were answered by Kostura only, who was hired as outside counsel and whose firm was paid a total of $169,562, spread across 25 payments, between April and December 2022.

In response to a public records request for information related to the GPH budget shortfalls, Kostura provided a chart showing revenues and expenditures for the health district. The chart did not provide dates or indicate whether some funds would be later replenished by grants or other sources of funding.

“At this point, all public statements about the agreement will be limited to the news release, which as you know was previously distributed, the agreement itself and the FAQ, which recently was added to the GPH website,” Kostura answered when asked to clarify further details regarding the financial situation of the health district prior to the agreement.

At the meeting March 15, Brakey said annual deficits are likely to rise, meaning the GPH board has a “fiduciary duty” to address a potential shortfall now. Although the board voted Jan. 19 not to put its levy on the May ballot for renewal, Brakey said the board owes it to residents to explore the most cost-efficient path forward.

“It’s important to emphasize that we are not broke, we maintain a healthy reserve or ‘rainy day fund,’ but we can’t rely on that,” Brakey said.

Roman said one of the biggest difficulties the board faced was finding qualified candidates for the administrator position. Adam Litke was named GPH interim administrator after the August 2021 firing of Health Commissioner Tom Quade over public posts on his personal Facebook page. Litke was handed the official administrator role in March 2022, but LCGHD announced they wanted to end his contract with GPH in December 2022.

“As I stated earlier, the last time we needed to look for a health commissioner, there were no qualified candidates,” Roman told the board. “This time, we had 20-some applicants (and) we only interviewed four people. And … they’re not as skilled as some of the people we have in the workforce right now.”

“We are using Lake County as staffing agency,” Brakey said of the agreement.

All GPH employees not currently working in the Vital Statistics Program will be laid off.

“The reason for this decision was that the Vital Statistics employees have a deep institutional knowledge and are best equipped to handle the tight controls the state places on these confidential records,” the board’s attorney, Bryan Kostura, said in an email to the Geauga Maple Leaf. “Moreover, contracting this department to Lake would not result in cost savings, which is the primary purpose for the institution of the Cross Jurisdictional Agreement.”

The board said except for some roles Lake County will not be duplicating, GPH employees will be allowed to re-apply for their jobs through LCGHD.

“(GPH employees) would be able to apply for employment with Lake to supply those staffing services, but no one’s guaranteed a position,” said Brakey who, along with board member Lynn Roman, worked out the agreement over the past several months. “We have worked diligently to find the best solution, but I’m sure the employees would have preferred a quicker timeline over months of uncertainty.”

The draft agreement states LCGHD reserves the right to review and confirm the eligibility of employees to be hired for equivalent positions at its sole discretion.

“All employees shall be subject to a background check and verification of their licensing and registration credentials as required and defined by the state or federal requirements,” the agreement says.

While presenting details of the agreement early in the meeting, Brakey said the board recommended severance packages, which would be discussed with employees. However, about an hour and 15 minutes into the meeting, Roman said employees would be given two weeks of severance pay, as well as their accumulated vacation time.

HARD QUESTIONS

Before the final vote took place, a crowd made up of several township trustees that serve on the GCHDAC — which, hours later, would move to remove Piraino from his seat on the GPH board — near-unanimously expressed reactions from incredulity to outrage over the plan.

Jim Mueller, Russell Township trustee and former Geauga County commissioner and state representative, told the board Geauga County is one of the healthiest and wealthiest in the state.

“How the hell do you give up having a health district for money,” Mueller asked the board. “We’re wealthy enough to be able to afford this. And we should have our own health district. I think it’s sad that a county like ours has to find ourselves in a situation where we have to crawl on our hands and knees to Lake County. And that’s what I view it as.”

Chardon Township Trustee Mike Brown was vocal in his opposition to the plan. Brown also serves as GCHDAC secretary and said he was surprised to see the special meeting held during the day when most people are not able to come — and with the board’s intent to not only introduce but pass the plan on the same day.

“I don’t understand how you think that that would pass the smell test for anybody in Geauga County. Geauga County citizens respect their sovereignty. They know that they’re from Geauga County, we don’t really have a whole lot in common with Lake County,” Brown said. “The icing on the cake is you’re going to get rid of all of the employees and you speak about it as if it’s already happened. This item is listed in the old business on your agenda. Was it ever in new business? Was it discussed in public meetings?”

Brown said the board never approached townships for a subdivision assessment, which under Ohio law is a mechanism used to fund health districts.

“I mean, try a levy, go to the townships, there’s other options before — this is, you’re going right to the death punch, as far as I’m concerned,” Brown said.

Chris Alusheff, of Aquilla Village, said while there may be some good aspects to the agreement, that does not negate what he called an “unacceptable lack of transparency” by the board, and the lack of self-awareness when confronted with disagreement from the public.

“I suggested forming a committee of community stakeholders to allow input while still having the board retain full control of any final agreement. I saw this reaction from the public coming. For some reason, you guys did not and that troubles me,” he said.

Munson Township Trustee Jim McCaskey said the vote was rushed and should be pushed back a month to allow the public to review it and weigh in.

He is not against shared services, he said, pointing out his township shares some equipment with Chardon Township.

McCaskey said if GPH had approached townships for an assessment to cover the potential $500,000 shortfall Brakey and Roman referenced, that would add up to only $30,000 from each of the county’s 16 townships.

“Would I like to get that bill, no. But would I be willing to pay to keep our personal identity? Yes. I’d find $30,000 somewhere from Munson Township,” he said.

McCaskey also called the board out for its treatment of GPH employees.

“I think that is a total disservice to our employees, to give them a 16-day notice that they’ve got to reapply for a job that some of them have had for I don’t know how many years,” he said.

Catherine Whitright, who served on the GPH board through the COVID pandemic, wondered whether the board realized employees and the public had no idea the extent or timeline of the agreement with LCGHD.

“I’m really proud of the county,” she said. “I was at the (Geauga County) Board of Elections for 27 and a half years and we were considered the best everywhere. Every department was considered the best. Now, all of a sudden, we can’t even pay our bills? And we don’t do what’s available like (ask) the trustees? I hope you guys really think about what you’re doing. It’s very discouraging.”

UNNEEDED BUREAUCRACY’

The GPH board attempted to regain control of the room after the public comments section, but continued to be interrupted as members of the audience reacted emotionally or shouted out questions. Brakey attempted to answer some of the questions that had been raised.

“There was a question about, why didn’t you put a levy on the upcoming ballot or why didn’t you assess the townships. To that I would say, because it was not necessary,” Brakey said. “We have an opportunity to save money without cutting services. It would be breaking our fiduciary duty not to pursue that. And I’m personally not interested in just propping up unneeded bureacracy.”

Brakey reiterated conversations about the plan — which did not include financial details, a timeline or scope of the agreement — were had by the board and reported in local newspapers.

“I understand it may be new to some people in the room, but we’ve been having board meetings with public comment since November. Sometimes, at least monthly, sometimes weekly,” she said “We’ve had extensive discussion already. And in terms of the employees, I think the timeline is probably too long, not too short.”

Laughter spread around the room in response to Brakey’s comments, which came after multiple employees expressed distress over the announcement of their two-week notice of termination.

“Let’s get some self-awareness, people,” Brown said from his seat in the audience.

Piraino, agitated with the response from the audience, said the public has a misunderstanding of the agreement. In response to questions regarding which board would have local authority, Piraino had earlier clarified the GPH board would not disband.

“I don’t know if anybody read the contract, but I can tell you that I counted at least, at least, I believe, 10 times, it clearly states in there, Geauga Public Health makes the decisions,” he said. “(Lake is) offering us contract services for employees.”

Piraino added he has received phone calls from elected officials who said the department has never run as well as it has with Litke and Lark at the helm.

“And some of the staff may not like that and that’s okay, but, you know, that staff, some of them have been there a long time, okay? But, you know, we are dedicated as a board to move this county, to move this department forward,” he said. “We’re not going broke. We have seen the writing on the wall of where the, you know, where the excessive costs are, and in a few years, I mean, we could survive a few years. Sure, we have … money in reserves. We’re trying to be proactive and to stop the bleeding.”

Addressing Brown, Piraino said Chardon Township shares a chip and seal machine with Concord Township, in Lake County.

“Are you correlating a piece of equipment with the human capital that we’ve built up over 150 years?” Brown asked. “Come on, Rich. That’s weak.”

A public records request for all conversations regarding the agreement, including discussion between board members of the March 31 termination date, was sent to the board, Litke and Kostura. Kostura said those communications did not fall under public record laws, citing a 1991 case between Sun Newspapers and the Westlake Board of Education.


WHEN DID THE GEAUGA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS BECOME AN OLIGARCHY? PUT THE PUBLIC BACK INTO PUBLIC MEETINGS

Monday, March 20, 2023
By Cindy Craft | Guest commentary

In a very strange atypical move last week, the Geauga County Commissioners chose to muzzle their community and not allow the public to speak at their Geauga County Commissioners meeting. This is a blatant disregard for the community they serve.

We are all asking a few questions.

1. Why the sudden need to muzzle the citizens in this county at public meetings?

2. What are they afraid of?

3. When was the public participation policy changed?

4. How was this public participation policy changed – no discussion or votes for the change at this or any other public county meeting?

5. Why did Ralph Spidalieri make this apparent unilateral decision and why didn’t the other two elected county representatives speak up to correct the board president when he single handedly muzzled the county citizens waiting to speak? Were the other two in on this change? If so, when was this topic discussed since it was not at a public meeting?

6. Is this a first amendment violation since public participation has always been allowed and the change was done without board consensus or a vote? OR Was this an open meeting violation?

7. How could any elected representative think that muzzling the public at public meetings is acting in the best interest of the community they serve?

8. Just who does the board president think he is?  Does he really believe he is a ruling elite and not a public servant?

9. Once it is proven that he violated our first amendment rights by making the sole decision to stop the public from speaking at a public meeting, Ohio allows for removal actions to proceed.

10. If Commissioners want to lead rather than represent as they were elected to do, they have stepped outside their role and should now step down.


HAS PUBLIC COMMENT BITTEN THE DUST AT GEAUGA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' "PUBLIC" SESSIONS?

Thursday, March 16, 2023

When you watch the video of Geauga County's "public" meeting from Tuesday, March 14, keep in mind that the entire meeting, which Ralph Spidalieri chaired, lasted sixteen minutes to approve ten items unanimously.

The special 38-second clip of citizen-attendees captures the mood of a voter who invested her time and transportation to be present. Fifty-nine seconds after adjournment of a rubber-stamp meeting, citizen-attendee Tiffany Broadbent addressed the Geauga Commissioners with a well-spoken, polite request that the chairman restore public comment to those attending in person, via hard media, and those observing the video. Noting her disappointment that her phone calls to the Commissioners had gone unanswered, listen to the oral approval from other attendees, among them Geauga registered voters. Listen as regular Geauga attendee and registered voter, Newell Howard, approved the citizen request from Ms. Broadbent .

 
Watch Geauga Commissioner Spidalieri's facial and body-language as he rises to leave the meeting. Regular attendees know that Ralph Spidalieri runs a retail business and is known to attend outside conferences in Las Vegas; Mr. Spidalieri is serving his third term as an elected Geauga County Commissioner; Geauga voters pay his $72,000+ salary (source County Commissioners Association of Ohio). Mr. Spidalieri has been the Portage County Chief Deputy since December 2022 as a reward for being the campaign manager of the newly elected Portage County Sheriff. For that quid pro quo, Ralph Spidalieri collects an additional $60,000+ at the expense of Portage County voters.

And yet, Mr. Spidalieri, as the current chairman of the Geauga County Commissioners and well-informed after three-terms on the Geauga payroll, has allowed the "public" comment to fade into the dust. Do taxpayers and the public deserve the "public" in public comment to "silently steal away"?

Thank you, Tiffany Broadbent, for your advocacy! Shame again, Ralph Spidalieri, and to the remaining Commissioners. . .

Stay tuned, voters. . .


FISCAL AND LEGAL COMPLICATIONS HIGHLIGHT MARCH 6 AUBURN TOWNSHIP MEETING

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Remember the heroes of yore? Y’know, like Paul Revere, who was able, according to legend, to saddle up that steed, get his right foot up over his steed without falling over the other side, Mel Brooks fashion? Better yet, how did George Washington and a boat-load of desperate, bloody-footed and under-equipped guerrillas manage to cross the Delaware on Christmas Day and live to tell more stories?

Okay. Back up. . .Take a deep breath. . .Fast forward to Auburn Township, Geauga County, 2022-2023 fiscal complications, a fiscal assistant faced with new challenges willing to work with an outside subcontractor noted for her ability to clean-up local accounting messes in Geauga County, and the February 7, 2007, resignation of an elected Auburn Township Fiscal Officer with over ten years of planning, zoning, legal, and fiscal service dedicated to his township.

Sounds like the beginning of a great novel, in the style of Ken Follette or Phillipa Gregory, to deal with the corruption and errancies dealt out by self-serving monarchs?

Get real, guys. . .

May’s resignation presented Auburn Trustees with a thirty day window to determine a “replacement” or bite the bullet of losing that privilege/responsibility to a current Geauga County Probate Judge, long-to-be remembered for his ability not to sit and fiddle while Rome burns.

In his public monologue, Cavanagh noted that there had been two citizens who had provided trustees interest in being named Mr. May’s successor. Indeed, one of those patriotic Auburn residents, a “well-qualified” “O’Brien,” was in attendance.

And, then the floodgates gave way. Auburn Trustees, it seems from the video clips, may have difficulty paddling upstream, let alone hauling a crew of colonial rebels across the Delaware River.

 

Having publicly-announced why the incumbent Deputy Fiscal Officer, already a veteran member of the Auburn Fire Company, had automatically been the best-and-only candidate of choice when Cavanagh had to deal with the immediate need to appoint a local son, the room was still quiet. . .

As Zoning Inspector Kitko bemoaned the fact that probable future litigation regarding two residents engaged in the currently-illegal action of short-term rentals, apparently following and regardless of the apparent Auburn / County Prosecutor success regarding Marra v. Auburn Township, “Mr. O’Brien”, from his quiet observation in the second row, communicated directly to the trustees how they might more correctly engage the future legal support of the Geauga County Prosecutors Office.

In the next oral segue, trustees recognized that “O’Brien” was really Brian Richter, who communicated his disappointment for being overlooked for trustee-interview for Mr. May’s position. As a former Geauga and Medina County Assistant Prosecutor, he smoothly offered his assistance on how to deal with the short-term residential rental situation.

If Gene McCune had hoped to wiggle around a potential calamity by citing the need for Executive Session in order to engage in any interviews, was he deflated again, when Mr. Richter, as an Assistant Prosecutor with Geauga County experience under David Joyce and a current Assistant Prosecutor in Medina County, calmly announced to the public that McCune’s rationale was totally incorrect.

In the meantime, Trustee Troyan, who may long be remembered for his own inability to even raise his right arm or stand to take an oath of office as an elected servant of the township, managed to offer his own scorn for the complexity of the oral swearing-in of Mr. Matsco, while Mr. McCune can be heard exhaling deeply through open lips during the swearing-in.

The video above is short, succinct, and remarkably character-revealing. With the imminent year-long audit of Auburn Township hanging in the balance? Are we dealing with quid pro quo?

Dan Matsco, and Auburn Township face a State Audit investigation that Mr. Matsco publicly identifies as “routine.” The Geauga County ADP Commission, identifying the Auburn Township IT contract to streamline and upgrade the township into the 21st Century, has allowed the township to eat the $1 shortfall by also eating, according to Mr. McCune, about $55 in penalties.

Do you think a gifted best-selling writer will develop these story-lines and all their characters?

This writer is betting on it.


A MOST UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP. HOW THE WAR IN UKRAINE BROUGHT TWO FAMILIES TOGETHER FROM OPPOSITE SIDES.

Friday, March 3, 2023
By The Foundation for a Better Life

Every Thursday afternoon, the food pantry at the local high school opens up to provide fresh food bags for families who can’t stretch their budgets far enough to get their meals to last through the weekend. Nearly a hundred families rely on the extra food. Some are between jobs, some got hit hard with medical bills for a few months, and some are new to the neighborhood, placed there by refugee services.

On one breezy afternoon, two young mothers walked in together, each with a toddler in tow. There was nothing different about their dress, but their manner revealed a shyness that they struggled to overcome. When they spoke, it was clear why: Their accents were thick, even though they were trying hard to make their English sound American. They were uncertain of being understood. But the pantry is run by grandmothers who are never pressed for time when it comes to conversations. So they sat for a moment and told their story while the little ones were held in arms so very familiar with children.

The two lived in apartments in the basement of the Methodist Church. They had been in the United States for one month. Their husbands were well-educated but working labor jobs to pay for food and save for more typical apartments. And they were out of diapers.

Both had fled the war in Eastern Europe, one family from Ukraine and one from Russia. They ended up in the same church basement and discovered that they needed each other. They became fast friends. Their children played together. They shared meals and navigated their new world together.

There were no bombs or soldiers or rations in their new neighborhood, only a chance to start over. Friendships are sometimes hard to come by, yet matter so much to each of us. A good friend gives us strength, love, laughter and the courage to keep trying.

These two families — worn down by uncertainty and war, thrown together in a new country, a new community with a new language — found so much in common. And isn’t that what we all need? A friend who faces the same life challenges, even if the forces above them have different political views. We are, after all, just mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors.


GEAUGA COMMISSIONERS MUM ABOUT MARCH COURT HEARING UNDER ONDREY

Friday, February 24, 2023

Using discussion of “pending litigation” as the rationale to enter into a discussion with Attorney Stephen Funk, all three Commissioners and County Administrator Gerard Morgan returned to Commissioners’ Chambers at 11:45 am long enough to adjourn with absolutely no comment about imminent court appearances required by Judge Ondrey in regard to 22M000541.

Those who attended public sessions with any regularity during 2022 became familiar quite quickly with obvious signs of political division between at least two factions in county “government” that appeared to explode as brightly as the Big Bang Theory during August and September 2022. Commissioner Spidalieri missed nearly 90 days of his 2022 term with no comment to the public in explanation. In the meantime, Spidalieri and Lennon gravitated together to form a 2-1 majority whenever feasible in a major meltdown of personalities and an obvious sense of failure to respect the county electors.

February 14, 2023, the first meeting that the auburntownship.org team has attended since the meltdown, presented a major opportunity for all three commissioners to backtrack and gather up the broken pieces and the traumas caused by the apparent problem of too much easy federal money. Whoever thought “no strings attached” could be the biggest part of the problem??

Yesterday’s electronic conversation with Attorney Funk permitted all three commissioners and the county “administrator” to feel that they could wiggle out of any demonstration of “loose lips that sink ships” comments.

The special ADP meeting held at 2 pm featured a speaker identified as “Tim”[Lennon?] who expressed confidence that the worst the “current and present” Geauga County crisis is behind everyone capable of resolving the [current and present] IT crisis.

Judge David Ondrey has arranged an attorney conference, at considerable and unnecessary Geauga taxpayer expense to justify in a last-minute effort to keep individual personalities from holding elected officials from being judged “personally” responsible.

Per the September 28, 2022, Judgment Entry, “The Court is hard pressed to distinguish between the requests of the parties; each seems to desire the same result,” implying the frustration that The Court was experiencing when trying to know what to do with a civil litigation, which, as a result of even Supreme Court mediation, has now come to a head for immediate observation by the entire voting public.

During the 2 pm February 23 ADP meeting, there were auditory voice clips from those at the meeting that expressed confidence that the [present] crisis now appeared to be only the latest little storm cloud on the horizon regardless of its original implication of The Big Bang Theory. . .

How many times will the voting public buy into this epithet of the cat chasing its own tail?

The answer is still blowing in the wind. . .

Remember that old quote: “ Fool me once. . .”

 


LENNON AND WALDER REACH OUT FOR UNDERSTANDING ON VALENTINE’S DAY

February 14, 2022

During the last quarter of 2022, clashing personalities at weekly county meetings, in this writer’s opinion, appeared to fall over a “ steep cliff.” Legal “negotiations,” evidenced by high-priced attorneys, whose participation was apparently intended to be as much a demonstration of “power and prestige” as any effort to “reach across the aisle” to other elected county leaders.

Since 2017, Geauga County IT has had its innumerable “growing pains.” Looking backward over the whole fiasco, we must conclude that it was easier for some in a position of elected leadership to deny the extent of fraud, and deception piled on taxpayers.

Imagine, then, the joy at witnessing two elected county leaders reaching out to each other for mutual understanding and dialog. Know, gentlemen, that it took both of you to be this elegant and genuine with each other. As Tim Lennon acknowledged and thanked Chuck Walder for taking the time for earlier conversations this past week, Chuck Walder, accompanied by Frank Antenucci, had all the patience, knowledge, and logic to explain the imperative annual capitalization of about $150,000 or more to replace two existing firewalls for IT security;switches that became obsolete / “end of life” in 2022; and replacement of eight servers now at “end of life.”

 

ADP’s request for” 2023 Budget funds “not yet included by Commissioners in the 2023 permanent appropriations” brought Chuck Walder’s brief statement that he thought concerns/ questions out the ADP’s transition to Cloud and 25-character password had been answered during the first Budget Hearing earlier in the year.

Tuned in to his own initial concerns about “plowing [more/ needless] money into ‘cloud’ servers,” Lennon explained his understanding 60% replacement of servers. Walder explained that the initial $150,000 upgrade is actually an $150,000 investment to cut equipment and labor costs during 2024-2025.

Further, Walder was able to explain why a Spectrum contract renewed at least twice to to keep the Board of Elections at a a temporary location. “How long do we renew the Spectrum contract for the Board of Elections? How do we resolve the need for Cloud server equipment” in the old building now to be occupied by the Maintenance Department under Glenn Verdieck?

Walder referenced the “cyber component” of the old ARPA funds distributed to county departments during Covid Hard Times. “You can use ARPA for safety and salaries with less complication than the vetting required federal procurement.” Better yet, ARPA for Cyber/Cloud investment can result “with no strings attached.”

If Lennon and Walder can engage in meaningful initial dialogues of mutual understanding and cyber security ( including elimination of labor-and-cost intensive back-ups), then we are grateful for the willingness to reach new understandings.

Thanks, gentlemen. We are proud of you for “breaking the ice.” May you both continue to be the role models we need!

Commissioner Dvorak noted potential plans for Sheriff Hildenbrand’s post to hire resource officers for a maximum $150,000 in salary and benefits for 25 hours or $250,000 for 40-50 hours to monitor security cameras in the new county administration building. County Administrator Gerry Morgan noted his intent to complete a Memorandum of Understanding regarding such an arrangement within the new building after Hildenbrand and Commissioners noted the increased opportunities for individuals “on a mission” to get past a central lone security officer in a public building.

Commissioner Dvorak, noting the presence of s 150 security cameras, cited the possibility of a negative outcome from failure to use those 150 cameras to best advantage. Sheriff Hildenbrand noted the “uselessness of [camera] buttons that don’t work immediately.”

Commissioner Spidalieri, having been quiet during the entire discussion about visibility of central “security” now referenced additional “checks and balances to protect three commissioners” because somebody can get past the [exposed] deputy.”

Dvorak spoke his thoughts aloud with the need for a “metal detector at the central check-in point within six months.”

Spidalieri added his additional concerns for that check-in point: 1) “One deputy by himself, (“2) “ a lot of variables,” 3) “experiencing vulnerability. . .checking people in” because “I’m just thinking about it right. . .because I just. . .I know . . . I wouldn’t want the hiring. . .y’know. . .yknow . . .do we have a plan?”

Scott Hildenbrand responded: “Even Courthouse employees will have to through the metal detector; disgruntled employees may be the biggest potential [safety] threat of all. “

Still expressing his desire to “saving money,” Spidalieri went quiet again, as Commissioners adjourned at 10:35.



OPPOSIING OPINIONS COMPETE ON HOW TO SPEND OHIO’S TAX MONEY

Thursday, January 26, 2023
By J.D. Davidson | The Center Square

A week after Ohio announced its largest savings account in state history, a Columbus-based policy group outlined several ways to use that surplus that it says will help both the state’s economy and workforce.

As lawmakers begin a new two-year budget cycle and a new session, a policy brief from The Buckeye Institute outlined two key areas – tax reform and education – where the General Assembly should focus as budget surpluses reach record levels.

“As lawmakers prepare the state’s next biennial budget, they should take advantage of Ohio’s robust surplus to make aggressive tax and education reforms that would help all Ohioans and improve the state’s economy,” said Rea S. Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center and vice president of policy at The Buckeye Institute.

As previously reported by The Center Square, Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week Ohio’s rainy day fund was at the legal limit of $3.5 billion when the Office of Budget and Management transferred $727 million.

The fund is a reserve balance set aside during good economic times to have money available for state programs and departments during downturns. State law caps the fund at 8.5% of general fund revenues.

The brief, Budget Priorities for a More Prosperous Ohio, calls on the state to create a more efficient, pro-labor tax system, eliminate the commercial activity tax and transition away from the current municipal tax system to “a more sustainable, long-term municipal revenue source that protects the core needs of Ohio’s communities without handicapping longer-term economic growth.”

The brief also encourages lawmakers to continue to develop a stronger education savings account for parents to pay for private school tuition or more educational opportunities. It advocates for an increase in the scholarship donation tax credit from $750 to $2,500 and makes inter-district open enrollment mandatory for all districts.

Other groups, like Policy Matters Ohio, want lawmakers to rewrite tax codes to invest more state dollars in affordable child care, enroll more 4-year-olds in preschool and fully fund all K-12 schools across the state.

Policy Matters Ohio’s report also recommends other changes that can be made through the state budget that will support Ohioans’ health and security, such as expanding eligibility for Medicaid and food assistance.

“We have a lot of work to do to make Ohio a place where all families can thrive,” said Will Petrik, lead report author and budget researcher for Policy Matters Ohio. “Through the state budget, we can lay the foundation for economic opportunity and shared prosperity. When we do, Ohio will live up to its promise and truly be the best state in the country for all families, no exceptions.”



FEDS ADAPTING AI USED TO SILENCE ISIS TO COMBAT AMERICAN DISSENT ON VACCINES, ELECTIONS

Thursday, January 26, 2023
By Nick Givas


Editors' Note: The federal government, working hand-in-hand with universities, private companies and Big Tech, is funneling millions of dollars in taxpayer money to fund an AI censorship program to be used on American citizens.

The government's campaign to fight "misinformation" has expanded to adapt military-grade artificial intelligence once used to silence the Islamic State (ISIS) to quickly identify and censor American dissent on issues like vaccine safety and election integrity, according to grant documents and cyber experts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded several million dollars in grants recently to universities and private firms to develop tools eerily similar to those developed in 2011 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program.

DARPA said those tools were used "to help identify misinformation or deception campaigns and counter them with truthful information," beginning with the Arab Spring uprisings in the the Middle East that spawned ISIS over a decade ago.

The initial idea was to track dissidents who were interested in toppling U.S.-friendly regimes or to follow any potentially radical threats by examining political posts on Big Tech platforms.

DARPA set four specific goals for the program:

1. "Detect, classify, measure and track the (a) formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes), and (b) purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation.

2. Recognize persuasion campaign structures and influence operations across social media sites and communities.

3. Identify participants and intent, and measure effects of persuasion campaigns.

4. Counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations."

Mike Benz, executive director of the Foundation for Freedom Online has compiled a report detailing how this technology is being developed to manipulate the speech of Americans via the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other organizations.

"One of the most disturbing aspects of the Convergence Accelerator Track F domestic censorship projects is how similar they are to military-grade social media network censorship and monitoring tools developed by the Pentagon for the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism contexts abroad," reads the report.

"DARPA's been funding an AI network using the science of social media mapping dating back to at least 2011-2012, during the Arab Spring abroad and during the Occupy Wall Street movement here at home," Benz told Just The News. "They then bolstered it during the time of ISIS to identify homegrown ISIS threats in 2014-2015."

The new version of this technology, he added, is openly targeting two groups: Those wary of potential adverse effects from the COVID-19 vaccine and those skeptical of recent U.S. election results.

"The terrifying thing is, as all of this played out, it was redirected inward during 2016 — domestic populism was treated as a foreign national security threat," Benz said.

"What you've seen is a grafting on of these concepts of mis- and disinformation that were escalated to such high intensity levels in the news over the past several years being converted into a tangible, formal government program to fund and accelerate the science of censorship," he said.

"You had this project at the National Science Foundation called the Convergence Accelerator," Benz recounted, "which was created by the Trump administration to tackle grand challenges like quantum technology. When the Biden administration came to power, they basically took this infrastructure for multidisciplinary science work to converge on a common science problem and took the problem of what people say on social media as being on the level of, say, quantum technology.

"And so they created a new track called the track F program ... and it's for 'trust and authenticity,' but what that means is, and what it's a code word for is, if trust in the government or trust in the media cannot be earned, it must be installed. And so they are funding artificial intelligence, censorship capacities, to censor people who distrust government or media."

Benz went on to describe intricate flows of taxpayer cash funding the far-flung, public-private censorship regime. The funds flow from the federal government to universities and NGOs via grant awards to develop censorship technology. The universities or nonprofits then share those tools with news media fact-checkers, who in turn assist private sector tech platforms and tool developers that continue to refine the tools' capabilities to censor online content.

"This is really an embodiment of the whole of society censorship framework that departments like DHS talked about as being their utopian vision for censorship only a few years ago," Benz said. "We see it now truly in fruition."

Members of the media, along with fact-checkers, also serve as arbiters of what is acceptable to post and what isn't, by selectively flagging content for said social media sites and issuing complaints against specific narratives.

There is a push, said Benz during an appearance on "Just The News No Noise" this week, to fold the media into branches of the federal government in an effort to dissolve the Fourth Estate, in favor of an Orwellian and incestuous partnership to destroy the independence of the press.

The advent of COVID led to "normalizing censorship in the name of public health," Benz recounted, "and then in the run to the 2020 election, all manner of political censorship was shoehorned in as being okay to be targetable using AI because of issues around mail-in ballots and early voting drop boxes and issues around January 6th.

"What's happened now is the government says, 'Okay, we've established this normative foothold in it being okay to [censor political speech], now we're going to supercharge you guys with all sorts of DARPA military grade censorship, weaponry, so that you can now take what you've achieved in the censorship space and scale it to the level of a U.S. counterinsurgency operation.'"

One academic institution involved in this tangled web is the University of Wisconsin, which received a $5 million grant in 2022 "for researchers to further develop" its Course Correct program, "a precision tool providing journalists with guidance against misinformation," according to a press release from the university's School of Journalism and Mass Communication."

WiseDex, a private company receiving grants from the Convergence Accelerator Track F, openly acknowledges its mission — building AI tools to enable content moderators at social media sites to more easily regulate speech.

In a promotional video for the company, WiseDex explains how the federal government is subsidizing these efforts to provide Big Tech platforms with "fast, comprehensive and consistent" censorship solutions.

"WiseDex helps by translating abstract policy guidelines into specific claims that are actionable," says a narrator, "for example, the misleading claim that the COVID-19 vaccine supresses a person's immune response. Each claim includes keywords associated with the claim in multiple languages ... The trust and safety team at a platform can use those keywords to automatically flag matching posts for human review. WiseDex harnesses the wisdom of crowds as well as AI techniques to select keywords for each claim and provide other information in the claim profile."

WiseDex, in effect, compiles massive databases of banned keywords and empirical claims they then sell to platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Such banned-claims databases are then integrated "into censorship algorithms, so that 'harmful misinformation stops reaching big audiences,'" according to Benz's report.

Just the News reached out to the University of Wisconsin and WiseDex for comment, but neither had responded by press time.

The NSF is acting, in one sense, as a kind of cutout for the military, Benz explained, allowing the defense establishment to indirectly stifle domestic critics of Pentagon spending without leaving fingerprints. "Why are they targeting right-wing populists?" he asked. "Because they're the only ones challenging budgets for [defense agencies]."

He added: "These agencies know they're not supposed to be doing this. They're not normally this sloppy. But they won't ever say the words 'remove content.'"

The NSF, with an annual budget of around $10 billion, requested an 18.7% increase in appropriations from Congress in its latest budgetary request.

In a statement to Just the News, DARPA said:

"That program ended in March 2017 and was successful in developing a new science of social media analysis to reduce adversaries' ability to manipulate local populations outside the U.S.

"DARPA's role is to establish and advance science, technology, research, and development. In doing so we employ multiple measures to safeguard against the collection of personally identifiable information, in addition to following stringent guidelines for research dealing with human subjects. Given the significance of the threat posed by adversarial activities on social media platforms, we are working to make many of the technologies in development open and available to researchers in this space."

DARPA then followed up with an additional message saying: "As a point of clarification, our response relates only to your questions about the now-complete SMISC program. We are not aware of the NSF research you referenced. If you haven’t already, please contact NSF for any questions related to its research."

Mike Pozmantier and Douglas Maughan, who serve at NSF as Convergence Accelerator program director and office head, respectively, did not respond to requests for comment.



VIDEOS OF ALTERCATION AT REPUBLICAN PARTY SPECIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING OF JANUARY 7TH

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Correction January 15, 2023, 12:05pm

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are two videos worth? Both the official security video and a cell phone video from a bystander. This meeting took place 1 week ago. Read previous story here

Nothing more to say. You be the judge.


Official security video:
 
Cell phone video:
 



OHIO SENATE REPUBLICANS PLAN ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO REMOVE STATE SCHOOL BOARD POWER

Thursday, January 12, 2023
By Tami Kamin Meyer | The Center Square contributor

Ohio Senate Republicans took another swing at stripping power from the state board of education and superintendent by introducing a bill Wednesday afternoon that revisits a plan that failed to pass last month.

The state has not had a permanent superintendent since 2021, using interims to fill the position since then.

If the 2,000-page bill being spearheaded by State Sen. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, passes and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, nearly all the duties of the partially elected Ohio State Board of Education would be transferred to a director of education. That post would occupy a newly created cabinet position under the governor.

By law, the governor appoints eight of the 19 members of the state board. The remaining 11 members are elected by Ohio voters in non- partisan elections. This past November, Democrats picked up three additional seats, two of which had been held by Republican incumbents.

According to Dan Tierney, a DeWine spokesperson, the governor has not initiated any legislation. He maintained that while bills are the work of the Legislature, not the governor, DeWine’s office will monitor the Reineke bill closely.

Under the proposed law, Ohio’s 1.7 million public schoolchildren would be subject to the revamped department, divided into two divisions – primary and secondary education and career technical education.

As previously reported by The Center Square, the Senate passed a similar bill in early December but it failed pass the House before the session ended later last month.

The bill would have the board continue to deal with boundary and transfer issues, along with teacher licensing. It would be allowed to advise on policy issues but have no authority to create education policy in the state.

That bill, which passed 22-7, also added workforce development to the school board’s mission, and Reineke said career paths should be an important part of the education system in the state.

The Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Association of Teachers said they did not had time to review the potential changes, according to Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron.

In 2007, Gov. Ted Strickland issued a directive to revamp Ohio’s public education system. He wanted to streamline coordination between the state’s public schools and post-secondary institutions in the state, including colleges and adult career centers.

Before that in 2015, Gov. John Kasich sought to alter the roles and structure of the board.

Both attempts failed.



FEDERAL AGENCY MAY BAN GAS STOVES ACROSS US OVER HEALTH HAZARDS

By Jack Phillips
Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A federal agency may implement a nationwide ban on natural gas stoves over concerns that they cause health and respiratory problems.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will have public comment about gas stoves in the winter of 2023 and could set standards on emissions—even possibly banning them, CPSC head Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg News. Natural gas stoves are estimated to be used in roughly 40 percent of all U.S. homes.

“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka told the news service in an interview published on Jan. 9. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

The CPSC already issued a request for information seeking data on the alleged hazards associated with gas stoves and input for solutions, but the CPSC hasn’t proposed any regulatory actions yet, a spokesperson told media outlets on Jan. 9.

Such a request for data and input, Trumka told reporters last month, “is the first step in what could be a long journey toward regulating gas stoves.” Trumka, a Biden appointee, is a former congressional Democratic staffer and the son of Richard Trumka, the late former chief of one of the most powerful unions in the United States, the AFL-CIO.

A ban on the manufacture and import of new gas stoves is a “real possibility,” he noted at the time. If there’s enough public pressure, the CPSC “could get a regulation on the books before this time next year,” he said.

Industry groups say that natural gas stoves don’t necessarily emit more harmful emissions than other types of stoves. the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and the American Gas Association both argued against a possible ban.

“Ventilation is really where this discussion should be, rather than banning one particular type of technology,” Jill Notini, a vice president at the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, told Bloomberg. “Banning one type of a cooking appliance is not going to address the concerns about overall indoor air quality. We may need some behavior change, we may need [people] to turn on their hoods when cooking.”

While Karen Harbert, head of the American Gas Association, argued that neither the CPSC nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “present gas ranges as a significant contributor to adverse air quality or health hazard in their technical or public information literature, guidance, or requirements.”

“The most practical, realistic way to achieve a sustainable future where energy is clean, as well as safe, reliable and affordable, is to ensure it includes natural gas and the infrastructure that transports it,” Harbert said.

Reasons

However, the EPA and World Health Organization have said that natural gas stoves emit unsafe levels of air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other particles. Some studies show that natural gas appliances leak methane even when turned off, critics of the stoves have claimed.

A study published in December 2022, found that gas stove pollution is linked to 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases. The study was led by an environmental group, not a health or safety organization.

Several months ago, the California Air Resources Board unanimously voted to ban the sale of natural gas-fired furnaces and water heaters by 2030.

“We need to take every action we can to deliver on our commitments to protect public health from the adverse impacts of air pollution, and this strategy identifies how we can do just that,” California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Liane Randolph said in a Sept. 22 statement after the ban was voted on.

Like other groups, CARB claimed that the move would benefit “many low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

Conservative groups have criticized bans on natural gas-powered appliances and furnaces.

“Banning natural gas would restrict consumers’ ability to choose the energy source they might prefer. A big reason that families like natural gas is because it wins out on cost,” the Heritage Foundation stated in an article in 2020.

The American Gas Association also stated in 2020 that “households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save an average of $879 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications.”



PFIZER BOARD MEMBER PRESSURED TWITTER TO CENSOR POSTS ON NATURAL IMMUNITY, LOW COVID RISK TO CHILDREN

Tuesday, January 10, 2023
By Zachary Stieber

A Pfizer board member who used to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lobbied Twitter to take action against a post accurately pointing out that natural immunity is superior to COVID-19 vaccination, according to an email released on Jan. 9.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote on Aug. 27, 2021, to Twitter executive Todd O’Boyle to request Twitter take action against a post from Dr. Brett Giroir, another former FDA commissioner.

“This is the kind of stuff that’s corrosive. Here he draws a sweeping conclusion off a single retrospective study in Israel that hasn’t been peer reviewed. But this tweet will end up going viral and driving news coverage,” Gottlieb wrote.

Giroir had written that it was clear natural immunity, or post-infection immunity, “is superior to vaccine immunity, by ALOT.” He said there was no scientific justification to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination if a person had natural immunity. “If no previous infection? Get vaccinated!” he also wrote.

Giroir pointed to what was at the time a preprint study from Israeli researchers that found, after analyzing health records, that natural immunity provided better protection than vaccination. The study was later published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases following peer review.

Researchers said the data “demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity.” BNT162b2 is the trade name for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is the main shot used in Israel.

Gottlieb’s email triggered messages on Jira, Twitter’s internal messaging system, according to journalist Alex Berenson, who was granted access to Twitter’s internal files by CEO Elon Musk.

“Please see this report from the former FDA commissioner,” O’Boyle wrote.

A Twitter analyst who reviewed the post determined it did not violate any misinformation rules but Twitter still put a tag on it, claiming to all users who viewed it that it was “misleading” and directing them to a link that would show “why health officials recommend a vaccine for most people.” The tag prevented people from replying to, sharing, or liking Giroir’s post.

Gottlieb, Twitter, and Giroir, now the CEO of Altesa BioSciences, did not respond to requests for comment.

Another Message

Gottlieb later messaged O’Boyle again, flagging a post from Justin Hart, a critic of lockdowns and a skeptic of COVID-19 vaccines, Berenson reported.

Gottlieb took issue with Hart writing that “sticks and stones may break my bones but a viral pathogen with a child mortality rate of <>0% has cost our children nearly three years of schooling.”

COVID-19 poses little mortality risk to young, healthy people, studies and data show.

Gottlieb did not detail why he wanted to censor Hart, but the objection came shortly before the U.S. government authorized and recommended Pfizer’s vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.

O’Boyle sent the request to Twitter analysts, failing for a second time to disclose Gottlieb’s ties to Pfizer. The complaint did not trigger any action.

“Our team of ragtag analysts, activists, moms and dads have been going after Scott since April 2020 when he repeatedly advocated for school closures and lockdowns. He doesn’t like people pushing back on the narrative,” Hart told The Epoch Times in a Twitter message.

Tried to Get Journalist Banned

Gottlieb also tried to get Berenson, a former New York Times reporter who now authors a Substack, banned from Twitter, a message released in 2022 showed.

The message showed that Gottlieb forwarded a blog post from Berenson to a Twitter worker, writing that Berenson calling Dr. Anthony Fauci arrogant was an example of why Fauci, at the time the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, needed a security detail.

Four days later, and a day after Gottlieb met with Twitter workers, Twitter banned Berenson for allegedly violating its rules on COVID-19 misinformation.

Gottlieb defended his actions.

“I’ve raised concerns around social media broadly,” Gottlieb said during an appearance on CNBC. “And I’ve done it around the threats that are being made on these platforms, and the inability of these platforms to police direct threats, physical threats about people, that’s my concerns around social media, and what’s going on in that ecosystem.”

“I am very concerned with physical threats being made against people’s safety and the people who gin up those threats against individuals,” he also said.

Berenson responded that he’d never threatened Fauci or Gottlieb and referred to Gottlieb’s comments.

In the post that triggered Gottlieb’s email, Berenson criticized Fauci for saying that “attacks on me are attacks on science” and how he handled the U.S. pandemic response.

Berenson was reinstated to Twitter in 2022 as part of a settlement of a lawsuit he brought against the company. Berenson obtained Gottlieb’s email about Fauci’s post during discovery. Before the settlement agreement, a judge had concluded that Berenson plausibly alleged Twitter failed to abide by a policy of five strikes before banning the journalist.


GEAUGA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY SPECIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

Saturday, January 7, 2023
By Anonymous

You missed a good one today, although you would not be allowed in.
 
At 9 am, the Central/Executive (called Executive) Committee met to vote on a recommendation to send to the Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, for a replacement for Ed Ryder who resigned from the Geauga Board of Elections on Dec. 7, 2020.

While by code there was supposed to be an appointment for the interim and another election for the term which begins at the end of February, Nancy’s meeting was to elect a replacement for both so that they would not have to have two meetings.

Also, by code that meeting was to be within 14 days of a resignation, but that’s neither here nor there.

The meeting started with the doors opening at 9:00 a.m. to this “Executive Board” ONLY meeting.

Now, I was not there so the following is only hearsay from people who were there and people who talked to people who were there.

Brian Ames tried to get in. The doors would not open so he pushed on them. The Metzenbaum Director told him not to push. Apparently the doors must not have been engaged yet. The doors were to open at 9 and the meeting to start at 9:30.

The doors opened and Brian started to walk in. GOP Chair, Nancy McArthur, attempted to block his way. She then grabbed his jacket in an attempt to make him leave. He tried to get out of her grasp. She called the police. Both parties filed assault charges.

There was a recording of the incident by the cameras at Metzenbaum and the police took the disc.

Brian was escorted out by the police.

The liaison for the SOS office tried to get in and was refused, however, Nancy did clear her and let her in.

The Director of the Board of Elections, Michelle Lane, was not allowed to attend.
Many other people were not allowed into the closed meeting to chose a candidate to be recommended to the Secretary of State.

Skip Claypool made a motion to open the meeting to the public. He mentioned that the Director was waiting out in the parking lot and not allowed in. He thought she could speak to the process or the job. Prosecutor Flaiz said if the public did come in none of them could speak including the Director.

The vote to open the meeting failed.

Then the vote for the appointment was taken and won by something like 42 to 32 or 41 to 30, not quite sure. The difference is accounted for by the select group of people she hand picked and appointed to the Executive Committee.

Each candidate was allowed to give their speech, but no questions were allowed to be asked of them.