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Gunk in the bay, and at city hall

Matt Westerhold • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM

It's a big day Tuesday for Sandusky city commissioners. There's a court hearing at 1:30 p.m. in the dueling lawsuits regarding the Sandusky Yacht Club's effort to expand its property; at 5 p.m., Sandusky Marina District developer John Eymann gives commissioners an update and then will hold a Q&A session; at 5:45 p.m. the Sandusky Sailing Club is scheduled to present information regarding its application for a liquor permit; and finally, at 6 p.m., a representative from the U.S. EPA is scheduled to talk with commissioners about the ooozing goo known as the coal tar plume tucked away in the Sandusky Bay.

After attending last week's commission meeting, it's hard to know exactly what is going on with all of the issues facing commission. To drill, or not to drill, that's the question concerning the coal tar pit. Ex-officio mayor Craig Stahl and his voting bloc, commissioners Bob Warner, Julie Farrar, Brett Fuqua and Pervis Brown voted to appoint yet another committee to review the recommendations of another commission committee. One reader posted a comment stating the reason to appoint a new committee was inadvertantly transparent: Stahl's voting bloc wants a new committee because they don't like the recommendation of the city's brownfields committee.

One bright spot in last week's meeting was Ruth Haag, who stood up and calmly explained how the Brownfields Committee came to the conclusion the coal tar plume warranted a little further investigation and how that investigation would be paid with already available state grant money. Haag, along with her husband, Bob Haag, were hired by the city as environmental consultants, and they have made fast work out of some long-delayed projects, including the walkway at the Chesapeke condos. In the midst of what appeared to be an organized attack by the Stahl bloc on the Brownfield Committee she heads up, Ruth Haag held up just fine.

Ruth Haag's approach to government, and her impromptu defense of the Brownfield Committee's recommendation for further exploration of the gunk in the bay was in stark contrast to the "business as usual" approach Stahl and his cronies bring to city commission. While they were trying to push something through without explanation, Haag offered explanations and the opportunity for understanding a very serious problem. She stood strong and open in the face of subterfuge. She stood tall, while the Stahl voting bloc just seemed to rubberstamp something they did not fully understand.

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