Saturday, November 12, 2016

A retrospective on the election (kind of)

I decided to let the dust settle a little bit before I wrote anything about the election.

I am elated about the approval of a new Dover High School by voters in the Dover City School District. And I’m not so elated about the results of the presidential election, although I think the Republic somehow will survive if Donald Trump’s family takes away his Twitter account (watch those servers, Donald) and hides the nuclear codes from him.

But first, Dover…

Dover voters may not realize it but they just made their community much more attractive to families relocating to the area. With a new high school coming on line, families will look for homes within the district rather than buying a home in Jackson Township or North Canton, which have far superior educational facilities for their children.

Let Dover’s vote also be a wake-up call for New Philadelphia and Garaway. It’s time, folks, that you took a good look at your educational facilities and start to get serious about the future. Or Strasburg and now Dover are going to eat your lunch.

Let me also again address the letters of support from Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen and City Councilman Don Maurer.

Before he got into the endorsement part of his letter – for which I am forever grateful -- the mayor schooled us citizens on why council didn’t endorse the high school project during one or more of its monthly caucus meetings.

“…It was a Committee Meeting of the Whole, and as such it was just what the name implies it was a ‘committee meeting.’ Committee meetings are where items are discussed, the pros and the cons of any issue, and not always is there concurrence reached among the wide and varied opinions.”

Let’s get this straight. If Council wanted to endorse the high school project it could have done so at a caucus meeting (or committee meeting of the whole) because there is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code to preclude that.

Meanwhile, I was told by a couple of readers that Maurer actually didn’t endorse the high school project in his letter. So, I went back and read it again.

Yep, they were right. Maurer stated only that Council had supported the schools. I don’t know how I misread that. So, I apologize to voters who might have been swayed by Maurer’s non-endorsement and, of course, to Maurer for getting his intentions wrong.

Let the record show that Maurer never supported the high school project, at least not that I know of.

Now that Dover is getting a new high school I can get behind other Dover projects, including downtown revitalization, traffic light synchronization, the riverside park, and a potential ice rink. Did I forget anything? Heck, I’m almost giddy.

I panned the riverside park project in my last offering because of the presence of those giant utility poles and maybe because I have this vision of glow-in-the-dark fish coming out of our river.

But a friend and an expert in the field of lakes, streams and rivers told me that a boat ramp, which was to be dedicated Nov. 12, is a wonderful thing for the Dover community and will allow our citizens to launch and float all kinds of boats. So, I also stand corrected on that issue. You know, mea culpa.

Plus, I’m in a better mood now that we’re finally replacing the decrepit high school.

In retrospect, Donald Trump ran a masterful campaign. He knew what would get his base fired into a frenzy. He told them anything – we’re going to build a wall; we’re going to stop Muslims from coming; we’re going to do away with Obamacare; we’re bringing back coal; we’re going to make America great again because, you know, it stinks, and on and on and on.

His tone, remarkably, has changed since last Tuesday when the weight of the world fell onto his shoulders.


It’s a given that Trump doesn’t read much. The reality star watches a lot of TV, we’re told, and that got me thinking.

I came up with a list of films and TV series he ought to watch before he takes office in January:

--“John Adams,” the acclaimed HBO series that should give Trump a pretty good idea about the formation of this country and its constitution. How great was America back then? Slaves helped build the White House, so it wasn’t so great just yet. And Adams was oblivious to that inhumanity, or at least accepted it, all the while he was ironing out the details of a democracy with his good friend (not) Thomas Jefferson.

--“Lincoln,” which underscores the enormous – I mean huge -- responsibility of trying to put a divided country back together. Americans were killing each other – not a great period in our history but we learned a great deal about how we need to treat each other. At least I thought we did.

--“All the President’s Men,” which should point out for Trump the role of the press in a free society and how an abuse of power can bring down a president. Be careful out there, Mr. Trump. Reporters everywhere are watching. As well they should be.

--“Saving Private Ryan,” which should offer him a dose of humility as he assumes the role of commander-in-chief. There certainly was greatness in the generation of Americans who rushed ashore on D-Day. (Historical note: Back in the homeland we were interning Japanese-Americans, or prior to that chasing German-Americans from their neighborhoods. See Columbus, Ohio’s GermanVillage. Do we have to mention the widespread segregation that was still prevalent during the period? That wasn't so great.)

--All of the episodes in “The West Wing,” which aired from 1999 to 2006. It’s a fictional account of the well-managed presidency of Democrat Josiah "Jed" Bartlet.  He even hired a Republican wonk for his staff who would remind you of Kellyanne Conway. We’re looking for tone and demeanor here, Mr. Trump. By the way, enlist Aaron Sorkin – the series’ creator – to write your speeches, although he doesn’t much care for you right now.

In the meantime, God help us.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wait until next year. Seriously.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs.

Now that I have that off my chest, I have a couple of observations.

--I’m not sure Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was the greatest baseball game ever played as subjective pundits are saying repeatedly. If you’re an Indians fan, maybe the best game was Game 6 of the 1948 World Series, which the Indians won 4-3 over the Boston Braves, capturing its first championship since 1920. (Incidentally, the game’s duration was two hours and 16 minutes. 
Remember those days? Maybe if we could shorten the length of the games, the kids could watch.)

--If I were the owner of the Chicago White Sox, who won the World Series in 2005, I might ponder moving the team to Nashville. No one in Chicago seems to care about the White Sox with the exception of its South Side neighbors.

--How did all those darn Cubs fans get tickets to Game 7 in Cleveland? I don’t mind a couple of visiting fans but filling half the stadium with the enemy doesn’t bode well for the good guys.

--LeBron James really has become the king of Cleveland sports. When he talks, people listen. He provided the Indians words of encouragement after the game. Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen (“Wild Thing”) was a bust. Did anyone even notice him?

--The Indians won the “Best National Anthem” award. I mean the Cleveland Orchestra playing and the fans singing? How cool is that?

--If the Tribe can get Michael Brantley back and hold on to most of the players in 2017, I think they’ll be back. I really believe that. Really. (And Dover’s own Perci Garner needs to be on the active roster, too.)

When I first drafted this post, I discussed the nuances of letters to the editor by Dover Mayor Rick Homrighausen and City Councilman DonMaurer.

After reconsidering, I decided to thank both public officials for their support of the very important Dover High project proposal and move on to other things. I’m glad – the community is glad – to have their “yes” votes.

Also writing a letter to the editor – this is the season, you know – was April Angel-Yoder of Dover, whose family owns the Dairy Queen in the footprint of the Dover High project.

Angel-Yoder’s point was the school district under Ohio Facilities Commission rules could opt for renovation rather than new construction.

“I’m not ashamed to voice my opinion that demolishing our historic high school is not the best option for our community,” she wrote.

It’s true that the current facility could be renovated, but the taxpayers would be responsible for any costs above and beyond what the commission is willing to pay for new construction. In other words, renovation would cost taxpayers more money. Most, if not all, contractors do a lot of head shaking when asked the renovation question. I know. I’ve asked them.

In addition, I would debate Angel-Yoder that Dover High is somehow worth keeping because of its aesthetics. It looks like every other Ohio school building built shortly after the automobile was invented. It’s decrepit.

And one more point: Sources tell me that the Dover Board of Education has never discussed using its power of eminent domain to acquire Angel-Yoder’s Dairy Queen property. I’d be surprised if its owners weren’t fairly compensated.

Ever hear of ECOT?

ECOT is the state’s largest online charter school that siphons millions of taxpayer money from our public schools into the pockets of its for-profit owners.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the school handed diplomas to 2,374 students last spring.
“The one thing we do at ECOT is we graduate kids,” the Dispatch quoted Superintendent Rick Teeters as saying.

Yeah, right.

One out of every six high school dropouts in Ohio attended ECOT, or 3,252 students.

Our ruling political class in Columbus needs to be held accountable for the laughable performance of many of the state’s charter schools, including ECOT.

Next time you see Republicans state Rep. Al Landis and/or state Sen. Jay Hottinger ask them how they plan on solving this mess.

To all my New Philadelphia friends, it is not my fault the traffic lights in Dover still are not synchronized, to wit: “Your city sucks to drive through.”

I know, I know. It’s slow going out there.

And this week, the street department decided to paint new crosswalk lines on S. Wooster Ave. forcing two lanes of traffic into one. That also is not my fault.

I know it’s been since 1962, but the powers have promised a new traffic light system that eventually will make our lives easier. Patience, fellow motorists. Patience.

OK, I’m all for beautification projects, but I’m thinking our riverfront will never return to those simpler, more elegant times when courted ladies in long dresses would walk by the river with their beaus, using umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun and being coy about their intentions.

Among the aesthetic problems is the presence of 69-kilovolt transmission line poles in the neighborhood. Not sure a Gibson Girl ever came across one of those.

Meanwhile, I’ve been asking people I know if they’ve visited the riverfront since the city cleared the area along Front St.

They look at me like I’m crazy. For the record, I’m not crazy.
Repeat after me…

Just a few more days… Just a few more days … Just a few more days.