Wednesday, December 15, 2010


One of the mantras that politicians frequently mouth when they run for public office is how much they are for local government being empowered to do most of government.  For local government is the most accessible to everyday people and the place that their voices are most likely to be heard.

An example of a citizen plea for local government authority and action took place last night (see video immediately below this paragraph) at a Plain Township regular meeting of trustees.  This was the meeting that was supposed to be a forum on fracking at which fracking experts and Ohio Department of Natural Resources were to be present to answer citizens' questions.  However, due to some political maneuverings (in the opinion of the SCPR), the forum part of last night's meeting was canceled, but the 35 or so in attendance were given space under the "citizen concerns" section of the meeting agenda to speak out on fracking.

Here is the video (Greg Coleridge - the speaker - is director of the Economic Justice and Empowerment Program at the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee):

As we all know, one cannot generally take politicians at their word.  A specific example is action taken by local members of the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) which surely is at odds with their word.  Undoubtedly, they would all say they are about empowering local government.  But do their legislative actions match their political word?

If one measures performance by their support of authority for local government (township, villages and cities) to have some say in how oil and natural gas are mined in Stark County, then all of Stark's reps (Snitchler, Oleslager, Schiavoni [not pictured above] Slesnick, Okey and Schuring) get an "F" for failure.

Let's start with the most recent bill which is Senate Bill 165.  This is legislation that supplement House Bill 278, which was passed in 2004, which adds to the authority (thereby cementing it) of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to "exclusively" control oil and natural gas drilling operations.

What was the vote of area legislators on this bill?

Here it is.

 As mentioned above, SB 165 was on top of HB 278 passed in 2004.  It was HB 278 which took away the then existing authority for localities to have some say in how oil and natural gas drilling was carried out.

Here is part of a Legislative Service Commission analysis of the impact of HB 278:
Under former law, the Division of Mineral Resources Management in the Department of Natural Resources had a certain amount of concurrent jurisdiction with municipal corporations, counties, and townships to regulate the exploration and operation of oil and gas wells.  An applicant for a state permit to drill a new oil and gas well was required to include in the application to the Division a sworn statement that the applicant would comply with all local requirements related to the drilling or operation of an oil or gas well until the abandonment of the well (sec. 1509.06(I)). (emphasis added).
Now, who - of area OGA members - voted for HB 278 (the original bill which took away a local "say-so" on oil and natural gas drilling)?

What is the point of this blog?

Check the voting record of a legislator before taking his/her "glittering generalities" as the gospel!

More times than not, the rhetoric does not match the conduct.  Go figure.

No wonder the public's confidence (about 20% at all levels) in politicians and government is at an all time low.

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