Guest Editorial It was ‘Them,’ not the ‘Dems’ | ParkRecord.com

Guest Editorial It was ‘Them,’ not the ‘Dems’

Shauna Kerr

In recent weeks, we have read in The Park Record, and heard on the radio, reports by some that the Summit County Democratic Party is opposed to the proposal to change the form of governance here in Summit County.

Well, it is time to correct this gross misrepresentation. The County Democratic Party membership has not taken a position on the issue. This public pronouncement comes from some people who are on the executive committee of the party, and they do not speak for the thousands of Democrats who have not voiced their opinion and, for the most part, have only begun to examine the proposal.

I am a Summit County Democrat and I am not opposed to the change of governance and I know that as a member of the Democratic Party I have not been asked to vote on this issue and that there is no "official" Summit County Democratic Party position on this issue.

In this small anti-proposal group are some of the elected department heads in county government, and a few others including the county party chair. The party by-laws automatically make all the elected county officials who are Democrats and the county chair and a few other officers, the executive committee. It is inappropriate for this small group to pretend that they speak for all Summit County Democrats who, along with most other citizens, have not had an opportunity to consider and speak to the final report that will appear on the November ballot.

As a former county commissioner, I worked with the department heads that have voiced their opposition to this proposal and their opposition comes as no surprise to me because they have consistently opposed a change in the form of governance. It shouldn’t be shocking –it’s not new and it’s OK. What needs to be clarified though, is that they only speak for themselves and like each of us, they only get one vote in November. As for the party chair, he has expressed his personal objections loudly and clearly but again, that is Rob Weyher, not the Summit County Democratic Party speaking.

This is an issue of governance pure and simple and is a non-partisan issue. Party politics have no place in the discussion. It is for this reason that the Republicans wisely decided not to consider it at their recent county convention. It is for each of us as responsible citizens to examine the proposal, decide for ourselves and vote our preference in November.

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Reasonable people are going to disagree on this issue, but fortunately we live in a place where lively disagreements are not only our entertainment, they are our way of life. We need to fill our summer picnics and gatherings with informed discussions and information sharing on this timely and very important issue. We owe ourselves at least that. And those who would choose to cut off discussion, misrepresenting themselves and their authority, undermine the very essence of what democracy and good government are all about.