My notes from last night's (Aug. 6, 2012) committee meetings are posted below:
Gas well -- The public forum is full of misinformation about fracking. A lot of people represent themselves as men and women of scientific and geological knowledge, yet glean their "facts" from the Internet. So yes, I do believe fracking is mostly harmless (depending on the reliability of the driller). But I also realize that peace of mind is priceless. So I did not support the city selling the mineral rights beneath Ritchie Road. I tend to agree with Jim Costello, who said (and I'm paraphrasing), "I support drilling for oil, but a neighborhood is not the right place for it." If the driller gave us a personal guaranty against all harm (environmental and otherwise), and showed personal financial statements to prove the guaranty would be honored, then I might have considered it. The current proposal, however, only serves to unnecessarily worry our residents. It was not in the city's best interests.
Stow Youth Services -- I held a Roads & Safety Committee meeting to discuss legislation to amend our ordinances to come in line with the Ohio Revised Code. According to recent changes in state law, Stow Youth Services can no longer charge its customary $50 fee for sealing a youth's criminal record. The administration has proposed replacing that fee with a $10 fee for simply entering the SYS program. It is anticipated that the new fee will raise slightly more revenue annually than the $1,550 previously raised by the $50 fee. Our ordinance will also need to be changed to reflect the state's quicker sealing of youth records, which I think is a good thing.
Church near City Hall -- Karen Monbeck, owner of the church near city hall, is proposing to lease the building to an Orthodox congregation of about 50 members. There has not been a church at that site since 1999.
Steve LaTourette -- As you have heard, Congressman Steven C. LaTourette is retiring at the end of his current term in the U.S. House of Representatives. I want to personally thank Steve for his tremendous service to Stow. He was responsible for saving the Marhofer Chevrolet dealership and for the renaming of the Stow Post Office in honor of my friend Cpl. Joseph A. Tomci. In 2009, Steve also had the guts to endorse me (then, a law student with no political experience) in my very first race for any office of any kind. Steve was equally respected by members on both sides of the aisle. He refused to play the normal Washington games. People like to say, "All Washington politicians are the same." Not Steve. He has been all substance, and no flash. Our congressional district will suffer without his leadership and service.
Future meetings -- Please join Matt Riehl and me this evening at 5:30 in the second floor conference room at City Hall for our monthly meeting with residents. We would love to meet you, hear your concerns and answer your questions. On Thursday, City Council will meet at 7 p.m. to vote on legislation that was passed through committee last night.