Blogs > Northern Ohio Local Politics

Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ohio Senate passes Great Lakes Compact enabling legislation

State Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township, and State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, announced the passage of the Great Lakes Compact enabling legislation, which recognizes Northern Ohio’s valuable fresh water as a job creating economic asset, while meeting Ohio’s duty under the Compact to provide for reasonable management of the waters of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin.

As the Ohio Senate Majority appointee to the Compact Advisory Board,  Grendell worked with then Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Sean Logan and the twenty-seven other members of the Board on recommendations for the enabling legislation.

Grendell said this legislation will (1) promote and encourage voluntary water consumption conservation practices; and (2) establish a reasonable regulatory process that recognizes the value of fresh water as an asset to be both promoted and managed.

“Lake Erie is one of Northern Ohio’s greatest assets for attracting jobs and new businesses. Environmental activists have spread much misinformation about this legislation," Grendell said. "This bill still prevents Lake Erie water from being taken out of Ohio.

The bill was passed by The Ohio House on June 22 and now goes to Governor Kasich for his consideration.

-- John Arthur Hutchison | | @newsheraldjah

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Referendum deadline looms

The time is getting close for supporters to turn in signatures for a potential referendum that would allow voters to decide whether to let Ohio Senate Bill 5 remain as a law.

The new collective bargaining law, signed by Gov. John Kasich in March, bans public employee strikes and restricts collective bargaining rights for more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees and others.

The coalition We Are Ohio has announced all petition signatures will be delivered to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Wednesday.

State law requires the petitions be delivered on or before Thursday. More than 231,000 valid signatures need to be collected.

Last week, We Are Ohio announced 714,137 total signatures had been collected during a two-month drive and the coalition will continue to collect them until a final signature total is released on Wednesday at a noon news conference to be held in conjunction with the celebration parade in Columbus after the delivery of the petitions.

Meanwhile, The Columbus Dispatch reported last week that Husted’s office issued a statement that the Ohio Ballot Board could not split a referendum into multiple issues, which could throw a wrench into Kasich and his allies’ plans to defend Senate Bill 5.

The Kasich administration and others who support Senate Bill 5 are talking to the ballot board about breaking up the measure into multiple questions when it lands on the ballot via referendum this fall, according to The Dispatch.

Every vote counts

A vote last week on Senate Joint Resolution 1 in the Ohio House of Representatives fell one vote short of passing to put an issue on the statewide ballot to prohibit any law from forcing Ohio residents to participate in a health care system.

The resolution needed 60 votes to pass, but the House voted 59-39 on the measure sponsored by state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township. Will any groups be able to collect enough signatures to place an issue on the ballot?

Painesville Township trustee vacancy

Trustees Jim Falvey and Jeanette Crislip have indicated they are looking to appoint someone to fill the vacancy left by the late Angelo Cicconetti, who died June 11.

The trustees want to appoint someone who has no intention to run for the office in November, so the appointment would be good for the remainder of the year with a new trustee elected Nov. 8. So far, Gabe Cicconetti and Chuck Hillier are the only two candidates running for election in the fall.

So who might be under consideration for the appointment? Perhaps someone who sits on the township’s Board of Zoning Appeals like William Buckman, Thomas Hill, Kenneth Sullivan, David Enzerra or Raymond Profeta? Or the township’s Zoning Commission such as Norman Eagler, Kennedy Fitzsimmons, John Haught or Darrell Webster?

To make the appointment, trustees have until 30 days after the vacancy. The next regularly scheduled trustees meeting is July 5, that is, unless a special meeting is called.

Russell Township trustee

* Marty Winston has filed candidacy petitions with the Geauga County Elections Board to run for Russell Township trustee. In his announcement, Winston said one of his campaign’s goals is to demonstrate that getting information to the township’s residents is something that can be accomplished by someone who tries.

* Justin Madden has announced that he is a candidate for Russell Township trustee. Madden cites that he is a Russell Zoning Commission member and a former member of the Board of Zoning Appeals. He also is chairman of the Geauga County Health District’s Sewage Appeals Board.


* Fundraiser for Madison Township Trustee Pete Wayman: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Madison Township. Special guest, U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette. See Tim Gorka.

* Kirtland Councilman Doug Davidson, who is running for mayor, will host a community hot dog roast from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday from at the Kirtland Kiwanis Pavilion at the City Recreation Park. See Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

* Geauga County Democratic Party annual golf outing is July 10 at Pleasant Hill Golf Course in Chardon. Shotgun starts at noon, dinner at 6 p.m. See Dave Netzband.

* Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, annual golf outing: 8:30 a.m. shotgun start July 15 at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Wickliffe. See Ted or Jason Andrzejewski.

* Desirea Thompson, a candidate for Mentor-on-the-Lake Council, hosts a spaghetti dinner 5 to 9 p.m. July 16 at the Stadium Grill in Mentor. See John Thompson.

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Twitter: newsheraldjah

Friday, June 24, 2011

Painesville Township trustees to appoint new member on Monday

The Painesville Township trustees will have a special meeting Monday at 9:30 a.m. to appoint an interim trustee to replace the late Angelo Cicconetti.

The appointed trustee will serve the unexpired term and is someone who is not currently - nor shall be - a candidate for the Nov. 8 election, according to the meeting notice.

The new trustee will join Trustees Jim Falvey and Jeanett Crislip on the three-member board.

-- John Arthur Hutchison | | @newsheraldjah

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DeWine seeks NRA's help on new gun violence commission

Ohio’s state attorney general is hoping the National Rifle Association will join a newly formed advisory commission designed to offers ideas on how to keep firearms out of felons’ hands.

Mike DeWine says he is pledged to focus on such efforts, using his experience as a former county prosecutor and an U.S. Senator to bolster ways to disarm felons from illegally possessing and using firearms.

“This is especially a problem in Ohio’s big cities,” DeWine said in a prepared statement Monday.

“What we need to do is get these criminals off the streets. They shouldn’t have the weapons in the first place. And we see the same people over and over again committing violent crime.”

The DeWine press release says the Advisory Group/Commission “will convene in the next two weeks.”

Expected to be on the panel are law enforcement officers as prosecutors as well as members of “...gun advocacy groups.”

DeWine's press release then goes on to cite figures from a recent Columbus Dispatch artcile on gun violence that has been generally criticized by the NRA as being biased against Second Amendment rights.

When pressed Today (Tuesday, June 21) for what constitutes a “gun advocacy group,” a DeWine spokesman said that term will include the survivors of firearms-related violent crimes as well as representatives of the “National Rifle Association.”

Asked if anyone has yet to specifically receive the nod the spokesman said “no.”

However, the spokesman did indicate that when panel members are finally selected then DeWine will announce their appointment as well as their group affiliation.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pickleball, anyone?

Mentor is adding pickleball to its wide range of recreational options. At the request of Council President Bob Shiner, the Recreation Dept. has added lines to an existing tennis court at Civic Center Park to accommodate players.

If the game proves to be popular, recreation officials say they plan to add lines to other courts. Shiner brought up the suggestion at the request of some city residents, who will be consulted about scheduling some introductory classes to help the sport grow here. Thus far, Ohio only has organized pickleball clubs in Middleton and Toledo, according to a listing on the USA Pickleball Association website.

Pickleball is played on a badminton court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center, the website says. It is played with a perforated plastic baseball, similar to a whiffle ball, and wood or composite paddles.

"It's like tennis, but you don’t work as hard," said Shiner, who has friends in Florida who play. "It’s huge in all the retirement communities down south. ... It’s a fun little game. I think it will catch on."

He noted that Mentor has a lot of senior citizens and that the Senior Center is heavily used.

The nonprofit USAPA was organized to promote the growth and development of the sport across the globe and has provided players with official rules, tournaments, rankings and promotional materials since 1984. Pickleball is North America's fastest-growing sport, the website says.

The game apparently was named after a family's cocker spaniel, who would chase stray balls and then hide in the bushes. The dog's owner is one of the co-inventors, the USAPA site says.

For more information, visit:

-- Betsy Scott,

Will it be Judge Tim Grendell?

Now that the Geauga County Republican Party has received applications for people interested in a recommendation to Gov. John Kasich to be appointed as the new county Probate/Juvenile Court judge, it will be interesting to see how the chips may fall.

State Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township, who is term-limited from running for re-election is among at least 15 people are interested in the bench spot, which was left vacant following the May 23 death of Judge Charles "Chip" Henry.

Remember, the county GOP was asked to make three recommendations, but Kasich can appoint whomever he wants.

So what if Grendell is appointed? First, there would be a vacancy for Ohio Senate District 18 and someone would need to be appointed to that position to fill the term that expires at the end of this year.

Could that person be former state Rep. Jamie Callender, a Concord Township Republican? Callender announced this past week that he intends to run for Ohio Senate next year for whatever district that includes Lake County, since what the district looks like remains to be determined because of redistricting.

It would give Callender an advantage to run next year as a appointed senator against a Democratic opponent. Perhaps state Rep. Lorraine Fende, D-Willowick?

Fende can’t seek re-election next year to the Ohio House of Representatives due to term limits? We’re still waiting for Fende to decide what she may or may not do.

What about 11th District Court of Appeals Court Judge Diane V. Grendell?
Would she be interested in an Ohio Senate appointment or even appointment by Kasich to the county Probate/Juvenile Court bench? Perhaps her husband Tim gets the appointment, but then declines, and runs for something else? Hey, you never know.

Diane Grendell’s term on the bench expires Feb. 10, 2013, so at some point in the not-to-distant future, she will need to make a decision on her political future whether that’s running for re-election or something else.

Troy honored
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency announced that the 2011 winner of the Walter F. Ehrnfelt, Jr. Award for Outstanding Regional Contribution is Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy.
The Ehrnfelt Award is presented annually to an individual in the public sector who has significantly contributed to the betterment of northeast Ohio. NOACA cited Troy’s work in public service first as a councilman and council president Willowick, then for seven terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, and now as Lake County commissioner.

Candidate filing
Chuck Hillier announced he has filed petitions with the Lake County Elections Board to run for Painesville Township trustee. He is a member of the Painesville Township Zoning Commission and serves as Trustee/President of Lake Erie Shores HOA.
Before he moved to the township in 2005, Hillier was an Eastlake City Council member serving as council president. He also previously served on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Hillier retired from the Navy in February 2010 after 30 years service.

Congressional district director named
John M. Hairston Jr. has been named district director for U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights. Fudge serves the 11th Congressional District, which includes Euclid.
Hairston, is a retired chief of communications for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and retired Director of External Programs at NASA John H. Glenn Research Center.

Ohio political party dinners
Vice President Joe Biden is the special guest for the Ohio Democratic Party’s state dinner June 25 in Columbus.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will headline the Ohio Republican Party’s state dinner July 22 in Cleveland.

* Gabe Cicconetti, a candidate for Painesville Township trustee, will host a fundraiser at Harry Buffalo in Painesville Township from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Special guest, former Cleveland Indian Len Barker. See Thomas Hill.

* Euclid Mayor Bill Cervenik, annual golf classic: Shotgun start at 1 p.m. Friday at Briardale Greens Golf Course in Euclid. See Beth Cervenik.

* Fundraiser for Madison Township Trustee Pete Wayman: 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 27 at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Madison Township. Special guest U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette. See Tim Gorka.

* Kirtland Councilman Doug Davidson, who is running for mayor, will host a community hotdog roast from 6 to 8 p.m. June 28 from at the Kirtland Kiwanis Pavilion at the City Recreation Park. See Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

* Geauga County Democratic Party annual golf outing is July 10 at Pleasant Hill Golf Course in Chardon. Shotgun starts at noon, dinner at 6 p.m. See Dave Netzband.

* Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, annual golf outing: 8:30 a.m. shotgun start July 15 at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Wickliffe. See Ted or Jason Andrzejewski.

* Desirea Thompson, a candidate for Mentor-on-the-Lake Council, hosts a spaghetti dinner 5 to 9 p.m. July 16 at the Stadium Grill in Mentor. See John Thompson.

Friday, June 17, 2011

State Sen. Tim Grendell stands with "Ds" in opposing state park drilling

Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township, stood alone among his Republican colleagues in opposing drilling for oil and gas on state park lands.

The largely party-line vote in the Republican-controlled state Senate did, however, mirror that seen in the also Republican-controlled Ohio House.

In the state Senate, House Bill 133 passed on a 22 to 10 vote with all but one Democratic state senators voting “no.” The House vote was 54 to 41 with two Republicans joining the House Democrats in voting “no” as well.

What the bill will do, says environmentalists, conservationists and sportsmen, is give the Ohio Department of Natural Resources only a minimal voice in how and where drilling will occur on its properties.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s oil and gas industry will get two votes on the bill’s call to establish a five-member Oil and Gas Leasing Commission.

In essence all five of the commission members are political appointees of the governor. In this case that is Ohio Gov. John Kasich who has long sought to open Ohio’s state parks, wildlife areas and forests to fossil fuel extraction.

Exempted, though, are the state’s designated natural areas.

It is believed that Ohio’s oil and gas industry could reap what the environmental community calls “a $3.5 billion jackpot,” returning only one-eighth of one-percent back to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources which is the land’s actual owner in many cases.

Not lost on the conservation-minded community was the legislature’s failure to exclude drilling in Lake Erie. The Republican-controlled Ohio House and Senate said that was not needed because existing federal law prohibits such activity.

However, sportsmen note that federal law can be changed, which would clear the only obstacle in the industry’s way for tapping Lake Erie’s bed for oil and natural gas.

“They have put a for-sale sign in front of our state parks, demonstrating again that the only green things they value are dollar bills,” said a thoroughly disappointed Jack Shaner, Deputy Director of the Ohio Environmental Council.

Others within the pro-sportsmen community called it a “sad day” and that the legislature “...shouldn’t plug a hole in the state budget dam with our children’s assets.”

This blog item also appeared on Frischkorn's News-Herald and Morning Journal Outdoors Blog.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Concealed Carry Reform Bill Goes to Governor in Ohio

On Wednesday the Ohio State House concurred on Senate Bill 17 by a 56 to 39 vote. SB 17 passed in the state Senate by a 25 to 7 vote on April 13. This concealed carry reform bill now goes to Governor John Kasich for approval.

Senate Bill 17, sponsored by state Senator Tim Schaffer (R-31), would eliminate the current confusing standards of carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle.

In addition, this bill would also allow permit holders to carry a firearm for self-defense in a restaurant that serves alcohol, provided the individual is not consuming alcohol, thus eliminating another “victim zone” in Ohio.

While the National Rifle Association is urging gun owners and other to request that Kacish sign the measure, news reports have indicated the governor will do this.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, June 13, 2011

How politicians use Twitter

By now everybody has heard that Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., "accidentally" posted a lewd photograph of himself on the popular social media website Twitter.

It's simply another entry in a saga of Politicians Behaving Badly. Rep. Weiner meant to send the photograph privately, but posted it for the public to see. The congressman originally claimed he had been hacked, but eventually admitted to pursuing Internet relationships with several women via Facebook, Twitter and email. Some of the women have since come forward, and more inappropriate photographs of the congressman have surfaced.

For the latest on the scandal, click here.

Meanwhile, as some of Weiner's colleagues are crying out for his removal in the news, it seems that very few of them are taking to the very medium that caused this whole problem: Political officials have been using Twitter less and less in light of the scandal.

This info graphic from Mashable shows that politicians have been producing 30% fewer tweets since the scandal began.While one might think it should be common sense for a person in power to avoid using social media sites in order to engage in inappropriate relationships, Mashable notes that Weiner's colleagues are instead cutting back on social media altogether.

Last year, News-Herald Staff Writers John Arthur Hutchison and David W. Jones wrote about the ways local politicians used social media and the Internet for their campaigns or to touch base with constituents. It is a national trend that has very local implications.

For example, Chardon Councilwoman Nancy McArthur was quoted in this article as a proponent of social media use.
“I use them somewhat for Council -- mainly promoting local events, restaurants, Chardon Tomorrow and the like,” McArthur said.

She used social media programs during her election campaign, but used her personal website more frequently.

McArthur said elected officials should consider using social media more often as a way to get messages and thoughts out to the public or to find out more about what is happening.

“I follow a lot of different folks -- Democrat, Republican and independents -- because I want to know what they are saying, hearing, and doing,” she explained. “I also can see what's posted on their profile to see if certain articles, websites or other sources may be of interest to me.”
McArthur was not alone. Willoughby Hills Councilman Kevin Malecek said he had been using Facebook and LinkedIn for years, and said he thought social media was "the new frontier of political and campaign outreach."
“It's important for elected officials to become more familiar with it and to embrace the possibilities it provides to outreach to voters and constituents alike about what you are doing."
That is only a small sample of local politicians taking to the Web. In this day and age, it seems that most politicians must use the Internet to stay current and involved. It was interesting to see that a scandal involving a prominent and popular politician has affected officials' Twitter use already.

While I haven't been able to judge how area officials' social media use has changed, it will be interesting to see if or how it does.

What do you think? Should politicians avoid using social media like Twitter altogether in light of Rep. Weiner's scandal? Or is it still a crucial way for them to campaign or reach out to constituents?

--Danielle Capriato

Related: For an interesting piece from Mashable on how politicians use social media, click here.

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