The best way to respond to a public official who fails to do the will of the people is to defeat her for reelection.
Shyra Eichhorn, a Liberty Township trustee, recently voted against the interests of her fellow citizens when she approved an unwelcome commercial development in the middle of a rural and residential northern part of the township, often referred to as “horse country.”
Apparently, Eichhorn made up her mind to support the development in meetings that took place before the matter was made public.
When the proposal finally was revealed, Eichhorn apparently behaved more like an advocate for the developer and its politically connected attorney than as a representative of the public.
The Liberty Township Zoning Commission held public hearings on the matter. After a large outpouring of public opposition, the zoning board voted 4-1 against it because it violated the township’s Comprehensive Plan, that Eichhorn voted to approve in 2018, and violated the township zoning code.
Meanwhile, Eichhorn apparently began deviating from her normal accessibility to the public.
Eventually, a large group of neighbors was allowed to speak at a trustees meeting that Eichhorn ran. Neighbors were limited to 3 minutes each and abruptly cut off, while the politically connected developer’s attorney was given unlimited time, nearly 90 minutes in all. Eichhorn appeared to be favoring the developer over the people she was elected to represent.
When the trustees met to vote, they heard more from the developer’s attorney, but the neighbors were denied the right to speak. Eichhorn and Bryan Newell voted to approve the development, while Trustee Mike Gemperline opposed it.
The neighbors had to circulate referendum petitions in a 30-day window to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot. They collected more than 1,300 signatures, nearly double the required number.
Unfortunately, the developer, its politically connected attorney, and its corporate law firm succeeded in cowing the board of elections to deny the petitions on a dubious technicality.
The neighbors appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, but lost. It was a sad day for democracy.
However, citizens in the township and the city of Powell do have the opportunity to express their displeasure with Trustee Shyra Eichhorn, who is up for reelection Nov. 2.
She ignored the majority will of her constituents on the development matter and, I believe, deserves to be defeated for reelection.
Not voting for Eichhorn will send her a message that her fellow citizens will not tolerate her refusal to represent their interests on the rezoning matter, which will result in the despoiling of “horse country.”
When you see Eichhorn’s yard signs and other advertisements, funded by big donations from the special interests she apparently serves, let them be a reminder to not vote for her.
There are five other candidates for township trustee on the Nov. 2 ballot. Pick two who will represent the people not the powerful.
John K. Hartman