I and others have been waiting nearly two months to receive the draft Army Corps report requested from ODNR as permitted by Ohio law. Director Zehringer recently referred to questions about their decision to maintain the water at “winter pool” as redundant (I believe he really meant to say irrelevant). An ODNR lawyer even told a state representative at the last Buckeye Lake Caucus that he would have to submit a public records request to see it. For some reason, ODNR apparently does not want to reveal what is in that early version. Could that document tell us what they knew and when they knew it?
Mr. Kasich and Mr. Zehringer have forgotten who they work for. They work for us, not the other way around. The public records law is our means of holding the government accountable for their actions. They need to be held accountable for destroying the lives of people around this lake, for failing to maintain the dam, for creating a sense of fear with talk of an 8 foot wall of mud, and for failing to follow through on commitments made. In March 2014, Mr. Zehringer said he wanted to be open and review the results of the Army Corps assessment before decisions were made. That did not happen. In May 2015 at the last Buckeye Lake Caucus meeting Mr. Zehringer said he wanted to be open, listen to our input, and work together with us. Why should we believe him now?
We all have a responsibility as citizens of Ohio to hold Mr. Kasich and Mr. Zehringer accountable for their actions. I encourage everyone to submit a public records request to John.Wisse@dnr.state. oh.us, requesting an email copy of the draft Army Corps report provided under the support agreement dated 4/17/14. You can do a quick search on the internet for “Ohio public records request” for several examples of the suggested format.
Submitting a public records request is one easy way you can get involved. I know there are the positive thinkers out there that will just say “move on, let’s make the best of it”. I know Mr. Zehringer would like to avoid discussion of what they knew and when they knew it. It is vitally important that you take a simple step like sending a public records request email. Hearing directly from many of you will help improve our chances of being heard and influencing the outcome of the next several years. Don’t just complain or talk about “making lemonade”. Take action. Do it now.