The Bryan Times,
Over the last few months, I’ve observed a hostile attitude on the part of some charter supporters, where if even the slightest criticism is leveled at the proposed charter, it is taken as a sign of support for AOP’s well project. Frankly, I’m starting to believe that some of the charter organizers dislike any discussion of the charter specifics this close to the election.
On a related note, in many cases, when the charter petition was presented to voters for signatures, it wasn’t presented as a drastic change in county government at all, but as some sort of referendum on Ed Kidston or AOP.
I would encourage everyone to read the entire charter, it is available both on the Williams County Alliance and the Bryan Area Chamber websites.
It includes the ability for two county commissioners to regulate virtually anything on the slimmest justifications that it involves the environment, and asserts that these county level regulations will override federal and state law.
It gives the county the power to strip property rights and licenses from both businesses and individuals, and if wielded by two corrupt or evil commissioners would plunge us into a Stalinist environmental dictatorship.
That is simply illegal under the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, as well as the Ohio Revised Code, and would be tied up in endless, expensive court battles if actually enacted. It also is impossible for a charter government in Williams County to prevent a well being drilled in Fulton county, or for that matter Indiana.
House Bill 166 (the recently passed state budget) merely reaffirms the definition of personhood that has existed in U.S. and Ohio law for 200-plus years, and it is short sighted to criticizes it for that item while ignoring that it put into place a rigorous new well permitting and complaint process. If HB 166 had passed a year ago, no one in this county would have ever heard the words “county charter.” Rob McColley and Jim Hoops showed a great deal of political courage to pass HB 166.
It is perfectly fine to dislike BOTH the charter and the AOP project.
I may have discovered the problems with the charter later than would have been ideal, but at least I found them. It is very unlikely to wind up on the ballot because of these legal issues, but if there is a follow up attempt in the future, please do not sign.