Thursday, November 21, 2013

Willis Clay from Rock Creek speaks out

No this a not a play Browns would use on Sunday. It is a sad reflection of the
confidence the voters have in our present form of government in Ashtabula Co.
After 200 years, 66% of the voters did not think it was worth the time to vote to
keep it.

Over the last 4 years millions of dollars in roofing contracts have been awarded
to out of county or out of state companies. An out of county law firm was hired
to sell Nursing home beds. Then we learn it will cost more to replace the roof
than was received from sales of beds. County own property is managed by out
of county firm. Our commissioners gives abatement to out of county business
to move into the county. We trade 20-40 jobs coming into our county and lose
175 jobs not go out of the county.

This could go on for several pages but bottom line is we should look at our people
and business. We would find companies to do quality roof replacement and repair.
We would find attorneys to sell beds and also represent clients best interests in the
oil and gas leases. We would find good people to manage county property.

It is time for commissioners to represent the people who pay taxes and their salaries.
Now for the 34 % who are not the minority. I thank them for taking the time to vote.
Please don’t give up the right to vote. If the voting population continue to shrink, what
minority will rule our future generations. I also want to thank the Star Beacon for the
fairness in covering the two sides of the Charter. (It was a pleasant surprise)

Many of you know that I supported the Charter, You also know it did not pass. But it
did not fail. In the future every decision the commissioner make, they will know 6,000+
voted for the charter and 66% did think it was worth there time to vote against the

In my opinion the Charter committee has 3 options:

1. Regroup and came back as is.
2. Restructure and include the 66%.
3. ( my favorite ) a new party. A party that does not create poverty by out sourcing our jobs, manufacturing, resources and technology. A party that supports opportunity and prosperity.
A party that does not separate society in groups. But provides equal representation for all.
This will never happen, it is the dream of a silly old man of a time and place long gone and will never return.

Willis Clay
Rock Creek

Friday, November 15, 2013

FYI for Dan Claypool regarding public corruption

From: Cornell University Law School

We know Dan will be grateful for this clarification.  

Public corruption

Public corruption involves a breach of public trust and/or abuse of position by federal, state, or local officials and their private sector accomplices. By broad definition, a government official, whether elected, appointed or hired, may violate federal law when he/she asks, demands, solicits, accepts, or agrees to receive anything of value in return for being influenced in the performance of their official duties.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Correspondence from another County about the Charter

   In all my years of advising and dealing with local governments and municipal and county charter proposals, I have never encountered a more devoted and energetic group of citizens than those who of you who have made up New Ashtabula Now.  I admire greatly your public-spiritedness and  the determination that you have demonstrated in working to improve your community and to challenge the status quo.  Whatever the outcome of the election, you have reason to be proud of your efforts.  It is has been an honor for me to have been able to work with all of, and I wish you the best of success in the future, as I know you will continue in whatever ways you find appropriate to make Ashtabula County an even better place in which to live and work and raise families.
                                                                                                                                     Gene Kramer
Eugene L. KramerAttorney at Law1422 Euclid Avenue Suite 706Cleveland, Ohio 44115216-621-7974 Fax 216-937-0103

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beatitude House – Doing More Good With Less Money

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Sarah Masek, Housing Director for Beatitude House, stayed in Ashtabula County after finishing college. She loves her work, assisting disadvantaged women and children, many caught in the seemingly impossible confluence of generational poverty and an economy which has been in a persistent downward spiral since 2008. 

One job benefit, which lights up her eyes, are the hugs she receives from children who live at Beatitude House, located on Lake Avenue. With their mothers, children find stability in the apartments provided. Local organizations sponsor some of these, for instance, St. Peter's Church. 

Sometimes these challenges lead to insights and sharing. Many not-for-profits are reaching now out to work together. Beatitude House ensures their clients know about programs available elsewhere, for instance at the YMCA, just down the street. 

With others in the not-for-profit sector, finding the means to continue helping clients change the future, for themselves and their children, created more cooperation within the community and thinking smarter. 

Sarah's first job, after finishing her Master's Degree, was at United Way. There, Sarah first used a tool she had originated which allows an organization to improve services provided to clients. Called a Logic Model, actions taken are tracked. This reveals how successfully programs are working to deliver the desired impact. Tracking includes resources, activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts for each program. 

One of the lessons those in social work have found is understanding how poverty changes thinking. Those struggling with poverty, domestic violence, and other problems, shorten their horizon for planning. When bare survival is in question long term planning is abandoned. For many clients coming through Beatitude House, planning incremental actions for re-establishing credit, having a driver's license, and keeping a job, were missing steps to success. 

Over the last decades many, now locked in poverty, lost this ability to plan for the future. In part, the need was negated by programs which made it unnecessary. Today, these skills are being relearned. 

The question of how the Logic Model could be applied to County government came up, raised by discussion of unsuccessful County programs. Sarah's method, applied to smaller programs, provides insights needed to reallocate resources, increasing success for larger programs. This way, helping more people, with less money, can be accomplished, keeping expenditures within the budget. 

Thinking smarter and using the right tools make success possible. 

Wouldn't it be nice if Sarah was a County Commissioner?

Who Benefits? From Ancient Rome to Ashtabula, this is the Question.

by Monique Lawalek

In ancient Rome a  there lived a highly regarded consul, Lucius Cassius.  Cassius was held in high regard as a wise and honest judge and was known to repeat the phrase "Cui Bono?" Cui Bono means, As a Benefit to Whom? Cassius, known for his analytical and curious nature was always asking this question.  Whether he was investigating misconduct or exposing political corruption.

This simple concept still applies today especially when it comes to government.  Our government here in Ashtabula County is top heavy.  Taxes are not just going to pay for services for our communities. Our taxes are being used to fund governments bloated infrastructure.  Our taxes are being used to fund empty promises to voters to ensure continued tenure in office.

If Issue #1 YES to Charter prevails, Cui Bono?
Who Benefits?  The citizens of Ashtabula County do.

Day to day very little is likely to change for citizens. Residents will continue to enjoy the services they have but they will have a more accountable government, transparent and responsive to their changing needs. In this way we can enjoy a more sustainable government for ourselves and our children.

With NON PARTISAN ELECTIONS voters will enjoy a more civil discourse in the voting season. Regular people will have a motivation as well as a mechanism to run for office.  Right now we have to settle for the 'next crony in line' rammed down our throat by both political parties. 

By replacing the 3 part time commissioners with 7 PART TIME REPRESENTATIVES we will have more accessibility to those we have elected to represent us.  By voting for a representative who will go to the table to serve us citizens, we will regain a voting power lost in these past years where the commissioners consistently serve the areas where they receive the most votes.

NO MORE TAX INCREASES without a vote from the people. 

Real ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT which will increase the likelihood of children staying and working here in the county.

There are more benefits.  I urge you to read about them at

Now, If we leave the status quo, Cui Bono? Who Benefits? The bureaucrats and political parties do.

The machine will continue to suck money out of the taxpayers for their own benefit.  The bureaucrats will continue to use their positions to create positions paid for by the tax payers but with no benefit to the taxpayer.

The bureaucrats will continue to mortgage the fiscal future of this county for present personal gain.

We all know it is the political cronies who make the rules, not us. They will do what is to their benefit to maintain the status quo, to keep power and prevent the exposure of things they have done.

History is right here in front of us.  This Charter is a threat to the current political Party Rule in this county.  The system is fundamentally broken.  Take the political power and return it to the people. Make government more responsive to the concerns of citizens of Ashtabula County and this will bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

George Distel keeps telling everyone how complicated the Charter is.  He is hoping citizens will believe him and be dissuaded from reading it. Envision George reaching out to you in a big hug saying, "Don't worry guys, you don't have to read that, Uncle George will take care of you." 

The next time you hear someone tell you just vote no on issue #1, ask yourself  CUI BONO?  Who will benefit if the Charter fails?