Tag Archives: athens county

NO NOISE? NO VOTES!

Athens Democrats are at it again. Mayor Paul Wiehl has made his animosity toward students very clear time and time again. Recently, he proposed that students should pay a fee to buy the city a new fire truck — all this while Athens City Council plans to spend $1.75 million to purchase the University Estates property. This purchase will bring what could have been a flourishing private sector project into the public sector, costing taxpayers, depriving residents of jobs, and costing schools badly needed revenue. But while Paul Wiehl and his Democrats on City Council spend frivolously, he wants students — the lifeblood of the Athens economy — to foot the bill for a new fire truck.

Wiehl’s most recent public policy assault on students involves a noise ordinance under consideration by the Athens City Council. Under the proposed ordinance, the Athens Police Department would be granted virtually unlimited power to shut down parties (presumably, in nearly all cases, student parties). This ordinance would represent the greatest expansion of police power in the City of Athens’ history.

According to the Athens NEWS, the ordinance will enable police to shut down parties deemed too noisy without resident complaint. According to The Post, Ohio University’s student-run newspaper, the ordinance will allow police to shut down parties regardless of noise level, time of day, or (if there even is a complaintant) proximity of complaintant to the party. In supporting this ordinance, Wiehl has revealed the magnum opus of his contempt for students. By even considering the ordinance, the Athens City Council joins him as students’ antagonists. Wiehl and his Democrats on Athens City Council will not recognize and will not respect the contribution that students make to this city.

Well, students aren’t just going to sit back and take it. We have a message for Mayor Paul Wiehl and the Athens City Council: NO NOISE? NO VOTES!

Athens Democrats know that students represent the most reliable bloc of voters for the Democrat Party. We know it, too. And we are promising Wiehl and the Democrats on City Council that if they pass the noise ordinance, we will pass them all pink slips. We will vote for any of their political opponents who oppose the noise ordinance. If no such candidates exist, we will run ourselves — as Democrat primary opponents, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, and independents — and we will take their City Council seats. We will dump more proverbial tea in the Hocking River than the Boston Tea Party dumped in the harbor, and we will dump their political careers, too.

To show that we mean business, we have launched a multi-partisan Facebook page called NO NOISE? NO VOTES! As of this writing, we are 468 students strong and growing rapidly, after less than 24 hours. We are sending a clear message to Athens Democrats that if they support or vote for the noise ordinance, their individual political careers and the political future of the Athens County Democratic Party will be in jeopardy. We will not vote for supporters of the noise ordinance just because the letter D follows their names.

If you are an Ohio University student or a supportive Athens resident, we encourage you to become a fan of our Facebook page — and to invite other OU students and Athens residents to do the same. Together we can defeat this noise ordinance. City Council will vote down this ordinance if councilmembers believe that we will vote them their pink slips.

A Statement on State Sen. Jimmy Stewart

When I wrote my previous post, I knew that it would ruffle some feathers and I knew exactly why it would ruffle some feathers. What I did not count on was a complete plucking of those feathers so that I could subsequently be tarred and feathered with them.

The controversy surrounds my inclusion of State Sen. Jimmy Stewart, who represents Athens County (my home county), in my post. I knew that including Stewart in the post would be controversial, but I also knew that excluding him while going after the other nine state senators with questionable voting records would be playing favorites. In hindsight, I should have come up with a better choice of words for the title of the post since I do not believe Sen. Stewart is a RINO. Let me say that again: I do not believe Sen. Stewart is a RINO.

As anyone can see from reading my previous post, Sen. Stewart received some of the mildest criticism. I mentioned that he has not taken a position on Third Frontier (he hasn’t), and I mentioned that he is cosponsoring a childhood obesity bill with goals that would be better left to parental and personal responsibility (and, well, he is). But these are not exactly capital offenses. They’re certainly no reason to vote Sen. Stewart out of office, nor are they reason to label him a RINO.

Still, all of this has created some controversy here in Athens County. I think a lot of it has to do with the strong loyalty that many Republicans here feel toward Sen. Stewart, which I share. But I think it also has to do with what this blog has been doing over the past several weeks. I have been an outspoken supporter of Seth Morgan’s candidacy for Auditor of State and a vocal critic of Dave Yost. Meanwhile, many of those who are so outraged over my purported “attack” on Sen. Stewart were overheard just a few weeks ago complaining about anyone who would dare circulate petitions for “non-ORP endorsed candidates.” I think you can connect the dots.

But since so much controversy has been created, let me clear up a few things. I’ll say again that I don’t think Sen. Stewart is a RINO, and using that term in the title of my post to apply to all of the state senators I would subsequently talk about was a poor choice. I regret it and I apologize for it. Given the district that he represents, where elected Republicans are almost as rare as unicorns, Sen. Stewart is as conservative as he can possibly be.

When it counts, when it really counts, Sen. Stewart stands against the intrusion of big government into the lives of his constituents. Yes, maybe he is cosponsoring a childhood obesity bill that I believe is unnecessary; but more importantly, he stood against Gov. Strickland’s $900 million tax increase. For this vote against Strickland’s tax increase, the liberal media of Athens County heaped scorn upon him. He knew that would happen, but he did what was best for his constituents anyway. When it comes right down to it, that is conservative enough for me.

Taking things a step further, were Sen. Stewart to ever receive a primary challenge from his right I would support Sen. Stewart. For one thing, anyone to Sen. Stewart’s right would be a loser in Athens County. But for another thing, I like Sen. Stewart and I believe that, far more often than not, he is looking out for his constituents and adhering to the core values that should guide the Republican Party. Anyone who ever challenged him from his right, anyone who ever called him a RINO, would be persona non grata to me. I sincerely regret the appearance of doing that myself, because I truly do not believe that Sen. Stewart is a RINO. I believe that he is as conservative as he can be in this district and that, somewhat akin to Scott Brown in Massachusetts, he is doing what he feels is best for his constituents.

That’s the kind of leeway that one can afford Republicans who are representing liberal districts or liberal states. In fact, that’s the kind of leeway that we must afford Republicans in liberal districts and liberal states if we want to be competitive in every district and every state.

Republicans who are insufficiently conservative in states that are friendly to conservatives are another matter. Sen. Stewart can be granted some leeway, given that he represents Athens County. As a statewide candidate in a state that is friendly to conservatives, with a political environment in which people are craving conservatism, Dave Yost deserves no such leeway. Dave Yost is the candidate of the Ohio Republican Party establishment, which has been notoriously hostile to conservatives. Unlike Sen. Stewart, Dave Yost does not deserve the support of conservatives.

That was the point I was trying to make in my previous post. Instead, that post has been construed by some of my fellow Republicans in Athens County as an attack on State Sen. Jimmy Stewart. No such attack was intended, and I apologize for offending any of my fellow Athens County Republicans, for offending Sen. Stewart, or for creating unnecessary division within the party.

Gwinn Threatens OU Student With Libel Suit

According to The Post, former Athens County Democratic Party chairwoman Susan Gwinn has threatened an Ohio University student with the possibility of a libel lawsuit. Her beef? A letter to the editor published in the Athens NEWS on Jan. 18, in which that student wrote the following:

Certainly the cleanup has begun with Gwinn, but Susan Gwinn has been mucking up the Athens County government and spreading the corruption around for a long time.

In her letter demanding a notarized correction, Gwinn declares that the above statement is “untrue and libelous.” For those who are not familiar with the back story, Gwinn was recently convicted of two misdemeanor charges related to falsifying campaign finance reports in her failed 2008 bid for Athens County prosecutor. Gwinn subsequently resigned as chairwoman of the Athens County Democratic Party, but is now seeking reelection to the county party’s central committee.

Now that the back story’s out of the way, here’s the upshot: I am the student that Gwinn has threatened with a libel lawsuit.

As I told The Post, I have absolutely no intention of retracting or “correcting” anything I said in my Jan. 18 letter to the editor published in the Athens NEWS. I don’t know why Susan Gwinn has chosen to single me out, of all the many people who have written and spoken about her. What I can tell you is that she picked the wrong person.

I believe that I have a First Amendment right to speak my mind about the job that my supposed public servants are doing. As a former county party chairwoman and current announced candidate for the county party’s central committee, Gwinn certainly falls into that category. I will not be silenced by her or any other politician because they don’t like what I have to say. If Gwinn didn’t know that about me before she sent me a letter demanding a notarized correction, she should have done her Google homework a little better. This blog would have been a good start.

I write because I believe that the written word makes a difference. I believe that it can change minds, move hearts, and, when necessary, cause the political equivalent of earthquakes and tsunamis to bring change to our government for the sake of the people of this country and, in this case, the people of this county. I believe I have a talent for this, however small compared to that of others, and I will never stop writing to take back this country — from an obscure, heavily Democrat county in Southeastern Ohio all the way up to the White House.

I will fight for my First Amendment right to use my God-given talent for the written word to make a difference in the world. Although I would prefer not to, I will take that fight to court if Ms. Gwinn decides that’s necessary. But I will not retract, I will not “correct,” and I will not be intimidated into silence. I will not back down.

But I do think I touched a nerve. Don’t you?

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