Response to Terry Rummel

Why has it taken the Williams County Commissioners over a year to get 9 counties to meet this July 30 on the subject of the aquifer?  Was this a reaction to the 2000 plus residents who signed the Charter Petition?  If they “have been working … for many months to develop a board who will monitor the aquifer levels,”  what have they accomplished?

He opposes the Charter because the commissioners could “enact laws and regulations with little or no oversight.”  He has failed to read the Charter Petition which provides for implementation of the charter in the following ways:

County Commissioners are given the power to enact and enforce local laws to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people and nature of Williams County (Section 3.3.3.2)

County Commissioners must take an oath of office promising to protect the rights of the people and nature in Williams County and to enforce the Charter and laws of Williams County (Section 5.2)

The County Commissioners may form “a transition advisory group made up of government officials and residents to develop recommendations for the orderly and efficient transition” to carry out the intent of the Charter (Section 5.1)

The Charter includes a review process that must be implemented within two years of its adoption (Section 5.5) to discuss how the Charter government can be improved and/or altered “to maximally serve the interests of county residents.”

If the County Commissioners overstep their authority, the people can take action:

The Charter gives initiative, referendum, and recall to the people of the County on all matters affecting the inalienable rights to health, safety, and quality of life of the people and nature in Williams County.  If Williams County Commissioners do not act in accordance with this, they can be recalled and their laws are subject to referendum (Section 4.4).

Without the Charter, the people of Williams County cannot alter the decisions made by our elected representatives who get elected by the money paid to their campaigns and the promises that money demands.

Terry Rummel states the Charter will not stop pumping water from a well in Fulton County.  He has not read the proposed Charter.  The Fulton County well is above the Michindoh Aquifer, to which the Charter gives the right “to exist, flourish, evolve, and regenerate (Section 1.9)   The people of Williams County may bring an action to enforce the rights of the Michindoh Aquifer (Section 1.1).

Terry Rummel cites an article against CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) published on a website, Naturalgasnow, which is a front group for the natural gas/fracking industry.  Apparently his “research” stopped at this one article.  The article is written by Tom Shepstone, owner and manager of Shepstone Management Company, which is well-known for its efforts to debunk the Academy Award-winning film, “Gasland.”

Terry Rummel accuses CELDF of “supporting initiatives like this for their own special interests and I do not believe that their views are in alignment with the majority of the citizens of Williams County.”  To find out how the citizens of Williams County think, they should be allowed a vote!

The article in the Naturalgasnow website begins by charging that CELDF’s “particular movement isn’t about democracy, the environment or the people.  Rather, they’re about finding a way to throw off the bounds of civil society as we know it and impose some socialistic utopian scheme that puts them in charge of us so we don’t make decisions they don’t like.”

The Charter Preamble states:

We the people of the County of Williams, Ohio, by this Charter create a home rule form of government, as provided by Article X, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution, and hereby secure the right of all County residents to live in a healthy and safe environment, and to participate in local government.

The Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 2 declares that “All political power is inherent in the people.  Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform, or abolish the same, whenever they may deem it necessary ….”  By this Charter we both exercise this right, and hereby constitute our County government for the exercise of our political power locally.

We hereby declare that we deem it necessary to alter the current statutory County government and create a constitutional County government in order to guarantee to all of the people their equal protection and benefit ….”

This Charter does not “throw off the bounds of civil society … and impose some socialistic utopian scheme that puts them in charge of us so we don’t make decisions they don’t like,” as the Shepstone article alleges.   Just who are “them” and “us” in this statement?  If “them” is the people of Williams County, and “us” is corporations, then Yes! the people of Williams County must be in charge of the decision-making in our County, not corporations motivated by their almighty “bottom line.”

Terry Rummel did make one statement that makes sense:  “I can not stress enough how important it is for you to research these items for yourself and gain your own knowledge.”  That research must go beyond accepting the pronouncements of one Williams County Commissioner.