Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mr. Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, "Have you tried to do anything about it?"

Concerned citizen letter to Mayor Charles Sammarone. Public meeting will be held Oct. 16, 5:30pm, Youngstown City Council PUC Hearing with public comment, City Hall, Phelps Street, 6th floor, Youngstown, Ohio 44503 MORE INFO: http://www.frackfreeamerica.org/callyoungstown.html

Mayor, Council members, and fracktivists,

Thank you so much for the very generous 2 minutes you have allowed me to speak.

I’m tired. I’m so tired. I’m tired, as are so many of my friends, of worrying about what’s going to happen to my drinking water my clean air and my property value. I’m tired of researching and attending meetings, of the incredible amount of time and energy (of which I have little) trying to open up the eyes of people who don’t want to look. I’m tired of the cavalier attitude of council and the mayor on what is a life or death issue for many people, including our friend and neighbor, Jamie Frederick of Coitsville. She nearly died from drinking her toxic well water which had been contaminated by Bocor Inc!

Many of my friends and esteemed colleagues have presented outstanding well-researched presentations to this chamber on the dangers of fracking. Unfortunately it would appear that nobody in a decision making position actually listened to the facts and data or looked at the charts. Presentations were cut short, and fractivists were treated in a condescending manner.

My husband and his friend talked to the mayor who appeared to have little concern for safety issues connected to fracking. If it was good enough for Campbell and Struthers it must be good enough for Youngstown. The bandwagon mentality is irresponsible and inappropriate in this situation.

It was our understanding that council members were instructed by the mayor to hold town halls or educational meetings for their constituents. Did any of them do that? We were not made aware of any such meetings. Susie Beiersdorfer held informational and educational sessions at the Unitarian Church to which all of the city officials were invited. Only Ann Gillam, Nate Pinkard, and Mike Ray attended any of those meetings. It appears that everyone else was too busy, or just didn’t care to learn about the fracking issue.

The mayor himself, when asked if he read the literature, letters, and emails our group has sent, replied that , and I’ll paraphrase, “ Do you know how many emails and letters I get? I can’t possibly read them all” Might I submit to the mayor that if he can’t find time to educate himself about an issue that will affect the health and quality of life of all of his constituents, maybe he should step aside.

I was escorted out of the PUC meeting on September 18th. At that meeting, Rhonda Reda was dazzling council with her alleged knowledge of the gas industry, and of fracking, in particular. I asked a question about how many trucks it would take to set up, frack and dispose of flowback from a single horizontal well. She answered by talking on and on about how many truck trips it would take to build and stock a Walmart. She wouldn’t answer the question. Well, the answer is between 1,100-1,200 truck trips for 1 frack job on one well. I was gently escorted out of that meeting, having had enough of her distortions, her industry spin, and lies. Here’s a question for you that I borrowed from the vice presidential debates. “What’s worse: somebody who lies to the American people, or somebody who interrupts the liar?”

I would to ask the mayor: Seriously, you’re powerless to do anything about a frack well pad in the watershed for the drinking water of all your constituents and also the people of surrounding communities? Have you tried to do anything about it?

In closing, I’m tired of watching my friends and neighbors being dismissed and condescended to at council meetings. I saved this til last, lest whoever reads this be escorted out. Shame on all of you. Shame on all of you.

Judy Vershum

Mayor Sammarone's remarks Jan. 11, 2012, "... but until everybody feels safe and comfortable whether you are in your house or working downtown or you are located anywhere within the city or in the suburbs I am still going to hold the state to a ban on drilling until all this information is gathered and everybody feels safe, that's the most important thing" (First 2 minutes at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMGmmCQIKPA&feature=share )
SIGN PETITON HERE:      http://www.frackfreeamerica.org/callyoungstown.html

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