Welcome to Auburn Township in Beautiful Geauga County Ohio

Commentary for 2023 April thru June

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2023 Jan-March,       2023 April-June,       2023 July-Sept,       2023 Oct-Dec,

2024 Jan-March,      


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

This morning’s major online headlines screamed the fact that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded 130 grants to municipal localities eager to take advantage of “free” money in 46 states to abandon gasoline-powered vehicles with new vehicles powered by battery-electric , compressed natural gas, and/or hybrid electric power.

Back in beautiful Geauga County, though, Geauga Commissioners have spent the last few weeks are personally reassuring members of the public that the “Geauga” Transit Garage located on Merritt Road will still be hands-on in maintaining buses with the “Geauga” logo so that Geauga County services and remain unchanged.

At least two separate events during this morning’s public meetings seem to contradict the continued existence of Geauga County’s continued autonomy and independent existence.


First, County Treasurer, Chris Hitchcock, showed up at 9:15 am with his Deputy Treasurer, Carolyn, to crow his office’s overwhelming success in collecting the county’s semi-annual property tax bills-- “just oodles of cash right now.” For the sake of any neophyte taxpayers who find themselves faced with a real-estate tax liability, he Geauga Treasurer must receive your full payment by Wednesday, July 12, 2023, or you pay a late fee. So far. Hitchcock says the County Treasury on Chardon Square is awash in an “inordinate amount of cash” with just under two weeks to go. As usual, Hitchcock says the county is in fantastic financial shape, in fact, never been better as the Treasury is able to collect between 5.26% and 5.40% guaranteed interest on its accounts with local financial institutions.

In conclusion, Hitchcock asserted his promise to provide Geauga County with a minimum of $585,000 as a result of property-tax collections.

Then came Hitchcock’s bombshell at the end:

“Under new business, in discussions with the auditor, we're setting aside a $20,000 fund that will not be interest bearing. . . The purposes for those monies are for the transition for Transit, for the Transit move. . . Some cash is going to be needed for either intended for unintended expenses. So rather than have interest paid on those monies during that time period, because is it Geauga County money or is it Lake County money? We don't want to be paying interest on the monies that aren't ours.”

The $20,000 non-interest-bearing fund, according to Hitchcock, will permit the Auditor to pay any “intended or unintended expenses” as Lake Tran, under the auspices of Lake County Commissioners, spells the potential demise of the “Geauga County” brand in public transportation available to Geauga residents.

Hitchcock had already left the scene before Commissioner Lennon and County Administrator Gerry Morgan arrived at 9:30 am for the Pledge of Allegiance and Commissioner Devorak’s opening prayer.

With no further clarifications, the Commissioners unanimously approved Items 1-4 and slid right into Agenda Item #5:

“The Transit Department is requesting the Board approve and authorize the President of the Board to execute the Lease Agreement between the Geauga County Board of Commissioners and Laketran for the Transit facility, located at 12555 Merritt Road, Chardon which includes driveways, parking areas, landscaped areas, pedestrian ways, stairs, ramps, sidewalks, entrances, lobbies and vestibules for a period of five years commencing July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2028, with automatic renewal for a total of five additional, five year terms in the amount of $1.00.”

Hmmm. . . this latest Deal of the Century sure sounds like Lake Tran has pulled off 30 - years of automatic use of Geauga County assets for a maximum investment of $6 in lease fees.

Then the total irony: a spontaneous Executive Session not even presented in writing on the prepared Agenda was announced by Commissioner Spidalieri at 9:54 am . Commissioners returned to Public Session at 10:45 am to announce “no action.”

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors from the Portage - Geauga Juvenile Detention Center Board of Directors all showed up at 10:45 am in preparation for their big pow-wow with Geauga County.

Should we watch as Geauga trips down the Slippery Slope of Disrule and Anything Goes According to the Chief Bully Commissioner? The Political Funny Season waits in the wings like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who, according to folklore, magically charmed the rats out of Hamelin, Lower Saxony, in about the year 1289. When the town leaders refused to pay the rat-charmer for completing his promised part of the arrangement , he vindictively charmed their children and heirs out of Hamelin altogether.

Although the Pied Piper may be no more than folklore, are we currently witnessing the beginning of the end for Geauga County?


Thursday, June 29, 2023
By Brian Massie | Citizen Journalist, Watchman on the Wall

I attended the Laketran Board Meeting yesterday and was stunned by their financial strength. No wonder the unions were looking for pay increases, and received increases of 7%, 3%, 3% for the next three years. Also, I want the citizens to know that Laketran collects $22.5 million each year in sales tax, and has a stated goal of changing your way of life.

Laketran’s goal is to take as many cars off the street to improve air quality. From attending the NOACA meetings, I can say that this goal is completely bogus, and the Board of Directors should be ashamed of themselves. If we have poor air quality, it is because the prevailing winds send us the polluted air from Cleveland, Detroit, etc. I dare say we could remove every car, and mandate that people ride a bike to work, and our air quality would not change.

Let’s start with their financial strength by looking at their balance sheet as of April 30, 2023 versus April 30, 2022.

Please note that their Unrestricted Net Position (Assets less Liabilities) for April 30, 2023 is $59,136,347 compared to $44,514.401 for April 30, 2022. That is a $14,621,946 (32.8%) increase in one year.

Look at their cash balance for April 30, 2022 – $55,945,414…How is your cash balance lately with the double digit inflation caused by the Democrats’ insane energy policies?

Let’s review Laketran’s Special Transportation Service. It is a charter service for municipal and non-profit organizations to areas throughout Northeast Ohio. Unfortunately, Laketran wants to compete with the privately owned charter buses, who are not subsidized by State and Federal grants, giving Laketran an unfair advantage. I understand that some Lake County municipalities have their own buses and, therefore, have no need for Laketran’s STS Service.

Look what the STS guarantees the citizens of Lake County:

Green Transportation: “Laketran’s goal is to take as many cars off the road to improve Northeast Ohio’s air quality.”

Are you ready to give up your car, and hop on your bike to work?…I didn’t think so…

We are asking again for Laketran to give back the 1/4% sales tax collected in 2019. There is a new jail that needs to be built.

The Lake County political subdivisions are “sucking the lifeblood” out of taxpayers with the excessive taxes in sales, income, and property taxes. Deepwood, Lake Metroparks, Lakeland Community College, ADAMHS Board, Crime Lab, etc. are all accumulating cash because Prosecutor Coulson has neutralized the Budget Commission, who is supposed to be the “watchdog” for the taxpayers on excessive taxation. No one is looking out for the financial well-being of the average Lake County citizen! I ask someone in this County to prove me wrong! Let me know if you have knowledge of a political subdivision reducing taxes.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Agenda Items 8 through 10 involving Geauga Department of Water Resources took fewer than two minutes to read and gain unanimous roll call approval of all three Commissioners.

Although Items 8 and 9 dealt with some of the excitement of “emergency rehabilitation and improvements” . . .”at various wastewater locations” up to $30,000 and “ On-site Tire Repairs as needed” up to $10,000 “ the Commissioners dispensed with the Water Resources Director with no emotion whatsoever.

Item 10 noted, “The Department of Water Resources is requesting the Board accept the resignation of Director, Steven Oluic to be effective July 8, 2023.” Thus, quietly ended, without even a tear of regret or a sign of gratitude, the saga of Dr. Steven Oluic, who, ironically, will continue, as of this writing, in his role on the Mental Health Board, a four-year term renewed by the Geauga Board of Commissioners earlier this month.

Otherwise, there was no sign of either County Administrator Gerry Morgan, former Director of Water Resources, or his successor, himself soon to be yet-another “former” Director of Water Resources.

Who could possibly become the next Director? County Administrator Gerry Morgan served as Director of Water Resources, for many years with much success, but was not present to comment about his willingness or unwillingness to resume his leadership over Auburn and Troy Oaks Wastewater Systems.

Editor’s Note: Did Dr. Oluic ever receive his 14 seconds of fame? Has County Administrator blatantly outlived his? Have we all lived through these recurring cycles of fame and infamy before in Geauga County??


June 16, 2023
By Mario Ariza | Ohio Capital Journal

U.S. power companies have made political donations of at least $215 million to dark money groups in recent years, according to a new analysis of 25 for-profit utilities, amid growing concerns around how they wield influence.

Such secretive donations to barely regulated non-profit groups, have helped utilities increase electricity prices, hinder solar schemes, and helped elect sympathetic legislators in recent years.

While dark money giving to tax exempt groups is legal, a number of utilities have faced criticism for it. In Arizona and Alabama, power companies faced blowback after they used dark money to aid the election of friendly regulators. In Michigan, regulators barred another company from using dark money entirely after it spent $43 million on politics in just three years.

Sometimes, power company dark money giving hides illegality. In 2021 in Ohio, FirstEnergy Corporation pleaded guilty to using dark money groups to bribe politicians in exchange for a billion-dollar bailout.

In another instance of ethically questionable actions, Florida Power and Light used dark money to interfere with ballot initiatives, and the elections of five politicians who in part aimed to tackle the high prices of electric bills and environmental and climate goals.

“We are captive payers. To be funding lobbying against clean energy and climate that customers actually want goes against the public interest,” said Jean Su, a senior attorney at environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.


This was a scenario in Arizona when, in 2014, power company Arizona Public Service gave $10.7 million to dark money groups that donated to key regulatory commission races. The two republican commissioners backed by the groups won. In 2017, they went on to support the power company’s request for a $95 million a year increase in electric bills, which ultimately was passed down to customers.

It took a subpoena from a regulator to finally prove in 2019 that the company had been behind the political spending.

That’s because the groups which receive the donations can be downright mysterious. They often bear generic or patriotic sounding names, rarely disclose their funding sources, and transfer large amounts of money between themselves. Regulations mandating public disclosure of dark money utility political spending are rare at the state level. Federal regulators stopped requiring public, line-by-line accounting of power company political spending in 2002.

Floodlight and The Guardian used public records and self-disclosure data from the Center for Political Accountability (CPA), a non-profit that tracks corporate dark-money, to piece together how much for-profit power companies might be spending. Dark money is difficult to unearth, and the total will be an undercount.

There are 44 regulated for-profit utilities across the US, according to the Edison Electric Institute, their trade association. 24 of them self-disclosed giving nearly $100 million to so-called dark money 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups between 2014-2020.

Some offered more detail than others. Many companies do not report the total amounts they donate, but rather just the amount that cannot be deducted from taxes. Others don’t disclose the dark money giving of their subsidiaries. FirstEnergy in Ohio did not self disclose at all.

Overall, the total amount of dark money uncovered by regulators and the Department of Justice — some $115 million — was greater than the total amount the companies disclosed.

The Edison Electric Institute defended the spending. “Electric companies are subject to the same strict laws and regulations that apply to all businesses,” said Brian Reil, spokesman for the industry group. State regulators add even more scrutiny, he said.

Critics argue the dark money spending is kept private, in part to ensure the disruptive transition to green energy happens on the companies’ terms or not at all, and to hinder oversight.


A rare instance where a utility was held to account for its dark money spending happened this past spring in Ohio.

Back in 2016 two nuclear reactors operated by the FirstEnergy Corporation were hemorrhaging money. The company sought help from Larry Householder, a Republican state politician who had just been re-elected and was eyeing the speaker’s gavel.

Over meetings and private jet flights in 2017, Householder and FirstEnergy made a deal: the company would financially support Householder and his political loyalists in statewide elections, and in return, FirstEnergy would get a bailout for its nuclear plants. The conspirators created dark money groups, among themGeneration Now and Partners for Progress, and started flooding them with cash.


David Devillers, the former US attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said in an interview that dark money groups are “the perfect money laundering animal.” With tens of millions from FirstEnergy, Householder won the speakership in January 2019. He later passed a bill that provided $1.3bn in taxpayer-funded bailouts for FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants.

The bill faced backlash and a ballot initiative to repeal it emerged. But Householder used $38m in dark money to fight it. Racist and misleading television ads warning of a “Chinese takeover of Ohio’s electric grid” saturated the airwaves, telling Ohioans not to sign the ballot petition against the bailout.

In total, FirstEnergy contributed some $60m in dark money to Householder. FirstEnergy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and was forced to pay a $230m fine. Householder was found guilty this March, and could face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in late June.

“FirstEnergy has taken significant steps to put past issues behind us,” said Will Boye, a spokesman for the company.

Several groups are calling on the federal government to look more deeply into how power companies wield dark money. The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how power companies pay for their political activity. Another group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed an FEC complaint last October against half a dozen dark money groups linked to FPL.

During the 2018 and 2020 election cycles in Florida, FPL employed a consulting group that created at least a half dozen dark money organizations that spent tens of millions of dollars on political attack ads, private investigators and spoiler candidates to challenge politicians in important races – according to leaked documents obtained by Floodlight, and reporting in The Orlando Sentinel and The Miami Herald.

South Miami’s former mayor Phil Stoddard witnessed the power of the company’s dark money network first hand. When in office he was critical of FPL’s handling of a nearby nuclear plant and was pushing for more rooftop solar.

During his reelection in 2018, a dark money group called A Better Miami Dade published mailers, robocalls, and ads to discredit him, according to public records and the group’s former president, Stephen Cody.

The group spent over $200,000 trying to defeat Stoddard, public records show.

Even after Stoddard won, another group called the South Florida Anti-Corruption Task Force filed a complaint against Stoddard at his university job, according to Rick Yabor, the groups president. A private investigator paid by the group also began digging into Stoddard’s personal life.

Stoddard spent last year tracing a complex financial web that winds from the utility through dozens of dark money groups, many of which had direct financial ties to A Better Miami Dade.

“I want to shut down this scam,” Stoddard said in an interview. “This is being used to corrupt the political system.”

If the IRS accepts Stoddard’s whistleblower complaint, FPL’s former political consultants could face up to $200m in liabilities and Stoddard could get a share of the recovered back taxes.

While leaked records indicate FPL likely donated tens of millions of dollars to dark money groups between 2014 and 2020, its parent company has only self disclosed some $1.4m in dark money giving.

Through a spokesman, FPL declined to comment for this story.


But despite the recent exposure of dark money’s noxious effects in states like Ohio and Florida, experts caution that these networks are rarely brought to task.

While the Internal Revenue Service is responsible for overseeing non-profit groups, experts uniformly describe dark money as the “wild west.” Between 2015 and 2019, the IRS didn’t revoke any tax-exempt group’s status for violating political spending rules. And the numbers of IRS agents whose job it is to police the groups has dwindled from nearly 1000 to fewer than 600, according to congressional testimony.

“There’s very little revenue for the IRS in regulating charities and there’s enormous political risk that seems to have been damaging to the IRS’s capacity to do other things,” Brian Galle, a law professor at Georgetown University who focuses on taxation and non-profits, said.

He said it’s largely a result of the current tax code, which is written to protect the privacy of individuals filing their taxes.

“When we wrote [the code] it didn’t really occur to us that this was going to create problems for the political system,” Galle said. “It comes from an era where we emphasized individual privacy, maybe more, because we didn’t understand the stakes for politics.”


Friday, June 2, 2023
Anders Edwardsson | Charlemagne Institute

Today, saying that America is exceptional has become a controversial statement. With the claim that America is a deeply racist and terrible country, American exceptionalism is lambasted as a myth.

But few today know the origins of American exceptionalism and its place as the main storyline of U.S. nationalism. And yet, it’s only by examining the history of this idea that we can have an informed opinion on the issue. So, what is the history of American exceptionalism?


While it didn’t cohere until the 1800s, American exceptionalism is the prominent form of U.S. nationalism, so in order to understand American exceptionalism, we have to go back to the origins of nationalism before the New World was even discovered.

At its core, nationalism is simply a bundle of ideas, tales, and symbols that bridge social, economic, and other divides and create feelings of national pride and unity. Modern nationalism didn’t appear until the 18th century. But thousands of years before then, hunter-gatherers told tales about ancestors’ deeds and visions to guide behavior, define everyday duties, and more.

As civilization progressed, kings and other politicians saw that more elaborate national stories were advantageous, and they figured out that these stories could be used to buttress governments robust enough to make larger states and empires possible.


American exceptionalism didn’t fully develop and cohere until later in American history, but aside from its roots in nationalism, it has a foundation that started in 16th-century North America with the settlers from the British Isles. These settlers formed a culture based on English particulars like the common law system, independent courts, and sharing political power. And as a result, in the 13 Colonies, people identified as Englishmen.

Because the settlers were so far from the British Isles, they held tightly to the aspects of their homeland that they could. Thus, the English freedom tradition stemming from the Magna Carta became more pronounced in America than in England. And when the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, most of it became a list of complaints concerning the king and Parliament’s un-English behavior—and the American Revolution that followed aimed to protect the colonists’ rights as free “Englishmen.”

Still, the Founders did not create a European-like country with a king, nobility, and state church. Instead, they combined English freedoms with ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval wisdom, plus contemporary Enlightenment thinking, into a new sociopolitical order. In 1789, the U.S. Constitution created a political system with a small national (federal) government purposely designed to protect a free economy and high levels of personal freedom.

To support independence and merge regional colonial identifications into a national identity, several key questions had to be asked: Why should America be one nation? Why did America deserve freedom? Why was America an excellent place to live?

The answers drew from several sources prominent in England—including Biblical themes, a 12th-century Arthurian tale about Britain as the place Joseph of Arimathea chose to hide the Holy Grail, and rhetoric from the Tudor Era about England being God’s “elect nation.” Americans, therefore, saw their country as a new promised land and believed God had designated the U.S. for higher purposes.

This view combined with a high regard for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to form American exceptionalism. The idea was that America was a unique country that presaged a future where limited governments protected freedom and human rights worldwide.

Moreover, since most endorsed the Founders’ views of the U.S., the political themes of American exceptionalism—small government, low taxes, few regulations, state rights, and a free economy—were supported by nearly everyone. American politicians even competed to live up to the Founders’ ideals and kept the country’s original socioeconomic order untouched.

THE 1800S AND 1900S

For over a century, most saw America’s role as a model, not an implementor, of freedom. Hence, the U.S. did not invade other countries to change them. Or, as future President John Quincy Adams said in 1821, America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

Two things eventually changed this. First, as the size, natural resources, and vibrant economy made the U.S. rich, politicians couldn’t resist turning the country into a world power. Second, at the end of the 19th century, some politicians—inspired by European ideas—argued that government control over economic and social realities could improve people’s lives. Both these developments passed a tipping point soon after 1900 and set the U.S. on track toward today’s dual warfare-welfare state.

All told, American exceptionalism helped drive colonists’ demand for independence from England and developed into the country’s leading national story. And until modern times, it played a double role as a bipartisan policy program and an intellectual blueprint for how people should think and behave as Americans. Despite the contemporary vilification of American exceptionalism, America as we know it today—and the freedoms we have as Americans—are intertwined with this perspective on America and its place in the world.


Thursday, June 1, 2023
By Editorial Board, cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

County officials have fought for years over the Department of Water Resources. Criminal investigators raided the department earlier this month.

In sparsely populated but wealthy Geauga County, the classic New England-style square that dominates the city of Chardon is rarely packed outside of maple syrup season. But don’t be misled by the sleepy, bucolic surface. Factional politics can be brutal and corruption has also reared its head in this county of fewer than 100,000, where the median household income is more than $90,000 a year and only 6.2% of residents live in poverty.

In 2018, a $1.8 million public embezzlement scandal that had allegedly played out over the prior eight years erupted in Geauga County. It led to the appointment of a special county prosecutor and theft indictments against the county’s former chief technology officer and his daughter, plus two Texas officials.

Amid the scandal, the county Republican Party recruited Charles E. “Chuck” Walder, a successful private entrepreneur, to try to clean up the mess as new Geauga County auditor, and to seek the voters’ support for a full term.

At his April 14, 2018, appointment, Walder pledged “new leadership, open and cooperative dialog, and technical understanding of the varied disciplines that make up the auditor’s office. I ask for your support, confidence, and vote. In return, I will honorably represent the Republican Party through action, accountability, and commitment to the people of Geauga County.”

Walder was elected in that 2018 GOP primary and then the general election, and then re-elected last year despite a determined primary challenge from longtime local political figure Diane V. Grendell -- whose husband, County Probate/Juvenile Judge Timothy Grendell, had clashed with Walder over Walder’s efforts to improve accountability for the court’s expenditures. Walder won that May 3 primary with almost twice as many votes as Grendell -- an outcome that spoke to the citizens’ desire for integrity and accountability, above all.

Now, apparent resistance from the Geauga County Department of Water Resources to Walder’s attempts to bring the water department’s information technology under the county’s overall IT department has led to a new donnybrook of accusations and counteraccusations. Not to mention a criminal investigation into possible unlawful interest in a public contract, after federal agents and investigators for the county prosecutor’s office raided the water department earlier this month.

No charges have been filed and maybe none will be. But Walder’s reaction, as reported by cleveland.com’s Adam Ferrise, was telling. “Why would you resist oversight that much?” he asked “Why would you fight it? Because you don’t want someone looking over your shoulder.”

Good government requires solid checks and balances, tamper-resistant IT and public accountability -- goals Walder is properly still pushing in Geauga County.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Commissioners’ Agenda Item #5 quickly glossed over what many observers already knew on May 16: Geauga taxpayers are stuck for another legal bill-- this time $59,612.23 for concerns that the Geauga County Board of Elections initiated in late 2022 over concerns for reduced storage space and inadequate protection of voting equipment in the new Office Building near Geauga Hospital grounds on Ravenna Road. In less than one minute, Commissioners Spidalieri and Dvorak voted aye in Tim Lennon’s absence, and apparently assigned responsibility for payment of any legal frivolities to Geauga taxpayers for 22M000299, filed under Judge Carolyn Pashke, almost exactly one year ago, on May 23, 2022.

The current team of Geauga Commissioners has been involved in multiple cases of litigation during the last 2-3 years. Always passing on the cost of their civil litigation to Geauga County residents. We note that Spidalieri and Lennon have been elected for multiple terms, in spite of increasing evidence that they are unable to be problem solvers without involving substantial legal expenses that they are sticking to the very constituents who made their election possible.

The apparent inability to solve multiple legal complaints within county departments without sticking more debt to county voters has apparently brought attention to the apparent county turf-wars and failure to find more cooperative solutions at the county level. Apparently, several other individuals who have taken out petitions from the current Board of Elections office at 470 Center Street also are prepared to challenge the current lack of leadership they have observed among the two commissioners contemplating re-election in November.

Ralph Spidalieri is seeking a fourth term after stating to many publicly that he would not even try for a third term; Tim Lennon is seeking his third term. We believe that the number of individuals who have chosen to come forward to challenge the current lack of leadership demonstrated by apparent lack of commissioner leadership and too much dependence on high-priced attorneys to restore public trust.

Obviously, there is a demand for new talent and new blood. How many financial blunders will Geauga voters tolerate?


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Verified computer breaches, ransomware attacks linked to Russian hackers, data breaches linked to Mainland China sources, and finally, FBI/Department of Homeland Security raids during the morning of May 5 at the County Administration Building have put the Department of Water Resources under federal investigations that could take a year or more to complete.

Geauga Commissioners were quick to inform the public at their Tuesday, May 9, meeting that they were trying to restore public confidence by offering Cost of Living raises [COLA] for 2023, 2024, and 2025, in apparent response to Prosecutor Jim Flaiz’s plea for more stable fiscal planning. These benefits, per Agenda Item #2, identifying the 2023 raises are retroactive to the first January pay date. The 3% COLA increase slated to take effect the first January pay date in 2024 appears, unless otherwise specified, to be an accumulative raise based on the last paycheck of 2024. The final 3% COLA increase for the duration of 2025, again, without further details, appears to be an accumulative raise.

In any event, Commissioners have received information from Department heads during past public sessions that they have had difficulties attracting enough employees for enough time to hang on to qualified and well-motivated individuals.

The Commissioners rubber-stamped the next thirteen items with little or need of explanation and little concern about whether public attendees’ concerns. Department of Water Resources, represented by Director Steven Oluic and his Sanitary Engineer, Nicholas J. Gorris, actively applauded additional financial assistance available to Berkshire Heights Sewer District property owners under Resolution #23-062 and the American Rescue Plan of 2021in Item #11.

Agenda Item #16 for the “placement of Mike Kurzinger, Network Administrator (#2315) [Water Resources] on Paid Administrative Leave beginning Friday, May 5, 2023, at 12:00 noon until further notice” Item *16 stopped short of any mention of Joe Camino, owner/operator/vendor aka CSJ Technologies. More impactful were Commissioner Dvorak’s comments about “pulled credentials for Kurzinger and CSJ.” When this writer asked for clarification of ‘pulled credentials,” Mr. Dvorak noted only that these two data network sources affiliated with Water Resources were being denied further access. When asked if “pulled credentials” could result in termination of employment or equipment sales opportunities to either or both within the county, Mr. Dvorak responded, “That’s a great question.”

We expect the FBI investigation to result in formal charges of negligence or conflict of interest against several scapegoats within Geauga County.

This is a breaking story …


Tuesday, May 2, 2023


We were saddened and shocked to learn of the April 23, 2023, passing of the scion of an original pioneer farming family. We did not always agree with his interpretations of O.R.C. 519.21, we will not ever forget his willingness to personally acknowledge a shortcoming or a judgmental error as an opportunity to learn and find understanding from God. We have known Fred since our own Board of Zoning Appeals encounter that resulted in his own demonstration of special worth and individualism.

Through some formidable personal challenges, he remained resilient and unwilling to demonstrate rage and frustration.

We are grateful for having known Fred as an Auburnite with mutually long-reaching connections to the agricultural beginnings of Auburn Township.

Thank you, Fred’s family, for sharing Fred’s uniquely-God-given talents with his community. A final commemoration at Adam Hall, under the auspices of St. John Funeral Hone, will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, during visitation hours of 12-2:30 pm. Funeral to follow.


Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Ralph Spidalieri, just moments before ending the Geauga Commissioners’ Meeting of April 11, 2023, back-pedaled on a previous unilateral decision preventing public comment. This time, he justified his latest unilateral decisions, without seeking a roll-call from Commissioners Dvorak and Lennon, to keep public comment from becoming a “bashing session” against unspecified victims. In conclusion, he will not tolerate “personal attacks” but failed to state publicly the identity of the intended victims of such attacks.

We the editors of wiwfarm.com have attended and accurately recorded public meetings, including Geauga County public meetings, since July 2011. We invite anyone who values government transparency and respect for Ohio Sunshine Laws/Open Meeting Acts to view these archives 24/7. From our seats in the front row with our video equipment, we have observed Mr. Spidalieri himself, insulated behind his Commissioner perch, launch into “personal attacks” in bashing sessions against registered voters and taxpayers of Geauga County. We have witnessed taxpayer objection to county assessments based on valid research and documentation, but we are unaware of the “personal attacks” that unsettle Mr. Spidalieri. Watching any and all videos of public meetings should erase Mr. Spidalieri’s misgivings.

Again, we urge voters anywhere to view the video archives at wiwfarm.com anytime day or night. We urge the State Legislature to impose term limits on all local, county, and state elected offices to end governmental incompetence.


Friday, April 7, 2023
By Jim VandeHei | co-founder and CEO of Axios

You've heard the binary, change-the-world debate over generative AI: It'll either destroy us — or transform us into a happier, more hyper-creative and productive species.

Why it matters: After spending a month talking confidentially to a dozen or so experts behind the technology, I'm convinced we should choose a third way. Be a deeply curious — and clear-eyed critical — AI realist.

Here's the blunt reality:

There's a simple law of business and technology: If it can be built, it will be built. The idea that countries, companies or individuals will simply pause their work seems silly. They won't.

There's a simple rule of modern governance: Technology always outruns regulation. The idea of a divided government locking arms to smartly regulate this AI seems silly. No chance.

So be a realist: This technology is coming at a velocity almost no one outside AI companies fully realizes. We're talking months — not years — before impact.

And it will rock your world. At first, gradually. Then, suddenly.

First to get hit: Basically any job that involves writing or coding; creativity; information synthesis; or sifting through large sets of data or info (lawyers, researchers, etc.).

Soon, the AI machines will do a lot of this better than 99% of humans — because they ate the totality of human information on the internet to predict your next thought, word or move.

So take the time to understand the technology through a realist's lens:

1. Don't be blindsided. Rarely do you get a quick heads-up your world will soon be upended. There's terrific coverage of this on Axios, on, podcastsand in specialty newsletters like Casey Newton's Platformer.

2. Try it. Rarely do tech-impaired dopes like me get to play with a new technology before it's fully formed. Hop on here ... or here ... or here ... and give it a try.

3. Think bigger. Don't get tricked into believing that today's limitations and glitches will last long. When Google and Microsoft each throw tens — and ultimately hundreds — of billions of dollars at something, it gets a lot better, fast. Focus on what it can be, not what it is.

4. Don't buy the utopian view. Read and listen to optimists like Reid Hoffman and Sam Altman. But realize they're very purposely trying to combat the dystopian critiques and show people sunnier possibilities. They understand the dangers — but want to focus your mind on healthy and happy uses.

5. Don't buy the dystopian view, either. These machines will undoubtedly spread more misinformation, more mindless distraction, and more job-killing. Sorry, this is what mass-distribution tech unleashes. But doom-thinking blinds us to seeing more clearly how to use AI for good.

6. Appreciate America's edge over China. We have a big lead in what many consider the most important advancement since the internet — a chip shortage has put China as many as two years behind us. Would you rather be at the mercy of autocrats hellbent on displacing America as the dominant superpower?

7. Be curious and critical. This more powerful AI will spawn thousands of new companies and products — and will have some not-zero possibility of doing catastrophic harm.

8. Ponder the debate, try the tools, make up your mind.

We're on the doorstep of a new age — don't be a bystander.


Thursday, April 6, 2023
Casey Harper | The Center Square

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal and science technology office, has made race and gender speech codes for its scientists a top priority.

The guidance, for example, tells federal employees not to use the words "blacklist" or "whitelist" because of the racial connotations and also cautions against "using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors."

The NIST is a little-known government agency tasked with helping the U.S., among other things, stay technologically ahead of rivals like China. Congress appropriated about $1.65 billion for the group for 2023.

Lawmakers recently hammered the Pentagon for investing heavily in critical race theory and gender ideology. The National Institutes of Health has done so as well, along with other agencies.

The NIST is one of many federal agencies putting its attention and taxpayer funds into these efforts as it struggles to keep pace with its key mission. The NIST sparked controversy for its "Inclusive Language Guidance," which tells scientists which words or phrases they can or cannot use in reports.

From the document:

- Consider that biased terms, such as blacklist/whitelist, also may introduce comprehension issues.

- Avoid terms such as master/slave that perpetuate negative stereotypes or unequal power relationships.

- Avoid identifying an individual’s gender unless necessary for comprehension, or using terms that assign a gender to inanimate objects, such as male/female connectors.

- Avoid descriptive terms that are condescending or reductive in favor of language that the groups being described would prefer.

Steven Lipner, chair of the Congressionally authorized Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, sent a letter to NIST in 2020 recommending the whitelist and blacklist changes as well as the changes for master and slave usage.

"Many technology and security standards contain racially insensitive language that is both offensive to many of our colleagues and is also, in many respects, ambiguous – technically and culturally," the letter said. "Examples of such language include using the terms blacklist and whitelist instead of block-list and allow-list and using the terms master and slave."

Jennifer Huergo, a spokesperson for NIST, told The Center Square the guidance "was created primarily for the benefit of NIST staff experts who participate in the development of documentary standards as expert collaborators and leaders."

"Use of inclusive language helps to avoid potential gaps in understanding that could arise from the use of colloquial or idiomatic expressions that are rooted in particular historical events or regional dialects," she said.

The NIST’s DEI office also promotes liberal ideas around gender and sexuality. The DEI staff page features the preferred pronouns of its employees as the first priority in the bios.

The issue has regularly been thrust into the forefront because while Americans are largely split on the debate over gender identity and critical race theory, federal agencies have largely embraced it and put millions of taxpayer dollars behind it.

A Pew Research report released last summer found that while most Americans say there is discrimination against transgender people, "60% say a person’s gender is determined by their sex assigned at birth, up from 56% in 2021 and 54% in 2017."

The NIST speech code also links to the American Psychological Association’s webpage on "biased language," which goes on at length about the myriad of possible genders, and the need to cater to them.

"Transgender is used as an adjective to refer to persons whose gender identity, expression, and/or role does not conform to what is culturally associated with their sex assigned at birth," APA says. "Some transgender people hold a binary gender, such as man or woman, but others have a gender outside of this binary, such as gender-fluid or nonbinary. Individuals whose gender varies from presumptions based on their sex assigned at birth may use terms other than 'transgender' to describe their gender, including 'gender-nonconforming,' 'genderqueer,' 'gender-nonbinary,' 'gender-creative,' 'agender,' or 'two-spirit,' to name a few."

The taxpayer-funded speech guidelines also quote racial theory from a book written by Tukufu Zuberi, a professor of Race Relations and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania steeped in critical race theory. The book is titled "White Logic, White Methods." Zuberi also penned an article titled, "Critical Race Theory: A Commemoration."

While the U.S. is a world-leader in developing intellectual property, it lags behind in the ability to manufacture it. For example, the source of electric batteries, seen as the future of the green energy movement, is largely overseas. In fact, China made about three quarters of the world's lithium ion batteries in 2021, while the U.S. made only 7%.