Pro-levy supporters probed

Erie County Board of Elections investigates students ushering Ohio Veterans Home residents to polls
Sandusky Register Staff
Aug 22, 2013
Perkins Schools levy supporters recruited Ohio Veterans Home Alzheimer’s patients to vote for their cause, according to allegations raised by Erie County Board of Elections officials.
 
All four board members — two Democrats and two Republicans — based this charge on a letter they received from a local resident who often visits the veterans home.
 
Board member Amy Grubbe verified she saw students ushering veterans to the polls, located at the OVH, but she couldn’t determine if pro-levy supporters persuaded residents to vote “yes.” 
 
The complainant, Bob Weichel, said in a letter to the board that “a Perkins athletic coach accompanied a Perkins Schools girls athletic team to the Ohio Veterans Home to assist veterans in getting to the polling place located in the home.”
 
Weichel raised concerns about district levy supporters and students possibly influencing how some veterans voted.
 
By more than a 4-to-1 margin, individuals voting at the veterans home approved the Perkins Schools levy. This was the largest margin of victory throughout the district’s 16 voting precincts.
 
But consider this: Only 27 veterans submitted a ballot at the Ohio Veterans Home, and more than 4,600 people participated in this election. In May, 30 people cast a vote at the home for a similar school levy, with an almost identical outcome.
 
In the end, voters collectively rejected both the May and August issues aimed to generate new funds for operations through property taxes.
 
To Weichel, however, a small turnout doesn’t discredit large, lingering concerns supposedly occurring on Election Day.
 
“I feel the Perkins students and their coach assisting veterans to the polls corrupts the political process and violates the law since their veiled political activity is taking place well within 100 feet of the polling place and could happen mere feet away form the voting area,” Weichel wrote. “The blatant actions of the levy supporters are disgusting and disrespectful to the veterans who have served our country.”
 
Elections board officials read Weichel’s letter at a public meeting Wednesday morning.
 
The four members came to a consensus: Even though nobody violated any election laws, what allegedly occurred at the Ohio Veterans Home could be considered immoral and unethical.
Board members referenced students and other levy supports ushering, escorting and even pushing wheelchairs from a designated unit to the polling location.
 
“You have one side that has access to private residents who might be vulnerable,” board member Chris Marinko said. “You have a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and someone else on the other side persuading and driving that voter to do something.”
 
Said board member Kevin Zeiher: “I want to see the residents given every opportunity to vote. But it’s not a good thing that these people don’t know what’s going on or maybe don’t want to vote for or against the issue.”
 
Jason Bennett, chair of the newly formed Perkins Schools levy committee, said any accusations about recruiting Alzheimer’s patients are ill-founded.
 
A group of 15 or so volunteers, including students and community members, did escort Ohio Veterans Home residents to the polls, but only if a volunteer coordinator from the home designated them as interested voters, Bennett said. The group took the veterans to the hallway in front of the polling place and didn’t go inside.
 
“We were given a map with the locked Alzheimer’s areas marked off and they told us ‘those are areas you can’t go into,’” Bennett said. “I didn’t participate in, see or hear anyone trying to coerce any residents to vote for or against the levy or even to go vote.”
 
Bennett, a long-time Ohio Veterans Home volunteer who works at a Toledo-area nursing home, said some patients the group assisted may have had health conditions. The home’s employees could not provide volunteers with medical information, however, because of privacy concerns.
 
“I’ve never been criticized for volunteering before,” Bennett said. “It’s sad. It seems with this election, there is a certain segment of the population that thinks everything is underhanded and sneaky.”
 
Perkins Schools officials are proposing a 10-year, 6.73-mill levy for the November ballot — identical to the issue voters rejected earlier this month.
 
“The Ohio Veterans Home will be telling us what their policy us,” elections board director Jen Ferback said. “We will do whatever the home wants us to do for the November election and any other election.”
 
Among the possibilities that could occur, according to Ferback: Veterans home administrators could prohibit anyone who doesn’t live in the facility, or who is not a family member, from attending the polling location on Election Day.
 
Pick up the Register this week for more stories on Perkins Schools, including fundraising and private donors offsetting pay-to-play costs.

Comments

Good 2 B Me

Hmmm. Wonder where all of the Pro-Levy people are now. This is underhanded and really disgusting! Gunner and the BOE need to go!

Lil DAB

✰Bherrle says the letter offered proof of nothing, merely conjecture and hearsay. Yet the article states "Board member Amy Grubbe verified she saw students ushering veterans to the polls," and Board members "referenced students and other levy supports ushering, escorting and even pushing wheelchairs from a designated unit to the polling location." And says, "A group of 15 or so volunteers, including students and community members, did escort Ohio Veterans Home residents to the polls..."
So where, Bherrle is there LACK of proof? A complaint with any system starts with a phone call, letter, or a report. Kudos to Mr. Weichel for having the courage, to bring to the forefront, the "immoral and unethical" behavior of these adults. And shame on them for setting poor examples for these students!✰

Bherrle

Lil,

No one is disputing what you state above that help was provided. Does offering help = automatic guilt? I'm looking for proof of wrongdoing, specifically as it relates to what the article states the investigation is about, that being that Pro-levy supporters recruited Alzheimer patients.

Like I've previously stated, I have no problem with Mr. Weichel, it is his right to send the letter he sent.

Edwin Ison

Does it pass the "sniff test"?

underthebridge

No, offering help does not equal automatic guilt. Nor does offering help equal automatic altruism. IF an investigation is commencing that very thing will be determined hopefully based on questions to those volunteers, OVH staff, and OVH residents.

Bherrle

Bridge,

My point is to all those making accusations (and yes, even to Mr. Weichel), stop doing it in public unless you have proof. A lot of people are making accusations and statements based on what they think they know, or how something looks to them. That's not proof. and in some cases, it gets dangerously close to being liable/slander.

If the BOE wants to investigate, that's their choice, but I don't agree with it, and yes, it makes me question even more their impartiality.

Lil DAB

Sounded to me that you were accusing Mr. Weichel of "carelessly" submitting a letter of questionable accusations when you said this in an earlier post:
Bherrle Thu, 08/22/2013 - 4:18pm
...The standard of proof, or should I say the lack thereof, that exists in this community amazes me. So many people, so eager to accuse, with very little to no actual proof. I have nothing against Mr. Weichel personally, don't know him. He is entitled to his opinion, whether I agree with it or not. However, his letter offered proof of nothing, merely conjecture and hearsay...So the Board of Elections decides to investigate based on a letter with no proof....Your going to "investigate" students based on conjecture and hearsay? .....

Also, I doubt the STUDENTS were being "investigated." Just the ensuing actions of the unethical adults and what they "pressured" the students into doing. From some later comments here regarding students being uncomfortable, maybe a hostile "work" environment should be investigated as well. "One made to feel uncomfortable by social pressure...."

Bherrle

I'm accusing the BOE of being careless. I would not have written the letter Bob wrote unless I had direct proof of wrongdoing, but it is his right to do what he did. The fact that the BOE is investigating makes me question them.

Standard of proof - alot of people on this blog are screaming "guilty", because of how it looks to them, or what they think they know.

The statement under the headline of the article states "...investigates students..."

Now - if students were pressured, that is wrong. I have no knowledge that they were. I've seen statements by others on here about the girls basketball team.

The allegation stated is that Alzheimer patients were recruited for votes.

Edwin Ison

The continuing rationalizing of the immoral behavior of the adults who coerced the children to "volunteer", shows just how deeply ingrained is the Gunner man crush.

Sickening.

This whole story shows just how far and how low the Gunnerites will go.

Keep hanging on to that sinking ship!

I really feel for the kids, know many of them and their families and they are embarrassed.

Luckily I recently closed on my property in Perkins school tax district and moved my Mom closer to me.

I feel for my friends and their children who must deal with this lack of effective leadership.

Why did Gunner move day to day expense money BEFORE securing replacement funds FIRST? This action alone should be reason enough to show Gunner the door, and all his flunkies too!

Bherrle

Edwin,

If you are referring to me, let me be clear. I am not rationalizing anything. If children were "coerced" to volunteer, then that is and was wrong.

44870 South

And the "children" thought to go to the Veterans Home all on their own???? Really? I would say for sure that they were "told/coerced". Those poor men deserve better than to be thought of only when their VOTE is wanted. Terrible.

Bherrle

Isn't it possible they were asked to go? You would make that statement based on what proof?

If they were coerced or forced, then that is wrong.

Edwin Ison

Bherlle,

You made that correlation, not me.

Bherrle

??????

VOTENO

Gunner needs to GO! Vote NO!

fifteenthgreen

Bryan, OH

VOTENO

Where did Gunner ever work prior to coming here and ruining our district?

fredinperkins

Bryan Public Schools, Bryan, Ohio, Williams County

goodtime1212

Fifteenthgrade, I have personally seen the blue prints for the new school. If the levy had passed they would have broke ground already, everything is in place, just waiting to get the money replaced in the operating fund. You know, that 5.2 million they moved to the capital improvement fund, and know say they are broke.

gramafun

15 TH Please look at the auditors report and what the auditor said what they said about moving money around and what they said about the BOE "living within their means" for the next five years. They were not to do anything more. So why are they now asking for more money?

Equity

Gramafun,
What auditor's report? I've checked the Auditor of State's website and I don't see that at all.

fifteenthgreen

Unbelievable on the new test scores, Perkins. Gunner was right. The district is being dismantled.....in the classroom! Seriously people. How long are you going to put up with this? What is going on?

Tribester

Test scores = lowest millage in the county...7 mils below state average. You get what you pay (or in this case don't pay) for! Vote YES in November

fifteenthgreen

Last I checked the teachers and the administration are getting paid, and paid well. The public is simply getting duped! You would support these scores, tribester and find them acceptable. Voting Yes is not going to change test scores. Totally revamping the system and infrastructure will.

Nemesis

No it won't. Actually, there is very little that the schools can do about test scores. Test scores are determined by the students, by a combination of their raw talent and the culture taught in their homes.

fifteenthgreen

So what you're saying is that the culture in Perkins is inferior to that of Huron, Edison, Margaretta, Port Clinton, Vermilion, Norwalk, Oak Harbor and our raw talent with a large majority of our students is to blame. So now the poor test scores are the parents fault and the students fault?

Nemesis

Absolutely! Schools don't fail; students do. High achieving kids will have high achievement regardless of per pupil spending, and low achieving kids will have low achievement. If the parents have done their job, the kid will want to learn, and will learn. All that's really being compared between districts is the percentage of kids whose parents raised them to want to learn versus the ones who let the XBox raise their kids.

Wald

But aren't the students' laptops that we are paying for supposed to be such a great advantage for them? Maybe the scores are falling because of open enrollment kids flooding the district.

VOTENO

BINGO! We have a winner!

SamAdams

The best thing AND the worst thing about kids is that they're credulous. If an adult in authority tells them something, they believe it. That's why we see the letters in the paper from little kids begging the grown-up voters to support levies, and I'll bet it's ALSO why we see members of the girls' basketball team making sure OVH residents get to the polls (and probably to vote "properly" while they're there).

When it comes to issues like this, kids are especially easy. They don't pay the bills, and they have NO CLUE what it's LIKE to pay the bills! If there's food on the table at home, all is well. They don't consider how many hours Mom and/or Dad had to work to buy those groceries, and honestly, they shouldn't HAVE to! But it's also how they can be so easily fooled into thinking the taxpayer pocket is bottomless. Add to that the fact that kids don't have enough life experience to become especially jaded or cynical about anything, and you've got a level of acceptance that's both admirable and dangerous.

Winston Churchill once said if you're not a liberal when you're young, we worry about your heart; if you're not a conservative when you grow up, we worry about your head. EXACTLY!

As for the Perkins Schools grades, well, I'm giving the powers that be an "F" in civics! Not only are they failing to teach the RIGHT ethics, they're apparently actively teaching the WRONG ones!

P.S. I know this wasn't a lot of votes in total, and that it wouldn't have changed the election outcome. But that Cincinnati woman's seven votes in the last presidential election wouldn't have changed the outcome, either, and it was still a crime (as it should be)!

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