Dear Editor
  The mid-term elections have confirmed it- the Democratic party is dead. And Big Money killed it.
  Once upon a time, the Democratic Party stood for something. It stood for the average Joe, the lower class, the middle class, the upper-middle class. In other words, the 99 percent of the population that was not represented by the Republican party. The "little" people of this country had a voice, and that voice was the Democratic party. Each party served a clearly-defined constituency. The GOP served the interests of the super wealthy, and the Dems served the interests of everyone else.
  No longer. Now we have essentially a one-party political system in America. Call it the Corporation party. The Democrats are merely a watered-down version of the Republicans, who at least have always been honest about who and what they represent- the elite, the super-wealthy, the 1 percent, the corporations. The Democrats are new to serving a corporate master, and obviously they are confused.
  What brought about this sea change in the priorities of the Democratic party? Money. Now that political candidates are forced to raise millions upon millions of dollars to get themselves elected, they have little choice but to prostitute themselves to those who hold the purse strings. The obscenely wealthy and the corporate lobbyists- the 1 percent. Is it any wonder that once elected these indebted and seriously compromised politicians do the bidding of their corporate and billionaire masters, while turning a blind eye to the real needs of the nation, to the real needs of 99 percent of the American population?
  Big Money has poisoned the Democratic party, and it has also poisoned serious political debate in this country, since both parties now represent the same corporate interests. So what is there to debate? Not much- other than gays, guns and abortion.
  The American public senses this betrayal, senses that the Democratic party has sold them out, has silenced their voice, for 40 pieces of silver. The American public is frustrated and angry by this betrayal and this was demonstrated in the mid-term election results. The 99 percent know in their bones that they have been deserted, that their interests have been replaced by Big Money interests, and the 99 percent is ticked-off about it and someone's going to pay! In 2014, that would be the Democratic Party.
  Is there any solution to this dilemma? The only possible hope for democracy, and a wafer-thin one at that, would be 100 percent public-funded elections. Overturn Citizens United (Corporations are not people!), and take the big money out of the equation. At least, make the big money interests go underground, make it slightly harder for the Koch brothers and the Exxon Mobils of this world to dictate the policies of a nation of 330 million citizens. After all, why should two brothers' selfish business interests override the interests of 330 million Americans, just because they have 100 million dollars to spend on an election, and 330 million Americans don't? Either that or find 1,000 Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont-Independent), the one politician in America who is willing to speak up for the rights of the 99 percent, to speak truth to power. Unfortunately, men and women of unshakable character and integrity don't grow on trees.
  A country that only serves the interests of 1 percent of the population is in big, big trouble. The Democratic party was strongly rebuked on Nov. 4, 2014, and deservedly so. Let's hope that they get the underlying message sent by the American electorate. We, the people, want a voice, a seat at the table, and if you are no longer willing to represent our voice, then RIP. And may God forgive you.

Thad Woodman


Dear Editor

  Could you, please, investigate the corrupt actions of the Washington Twp. Trustees, located in Northeastern Pickaway County. The Trustees have complete privilege of appointment to the positions of Zoning Inspector, Zoning Commission and the Zoning Appeals Board, allowing them to install family, friends and neighbors to the positions, ensuring that the people controlling Zoning decisions will “think like them.”
  At the regular Trustees meeting in December of 2009, Mr. Bill Coy representing DLG Investments, D.B.A. Rutland Propane, expressed an interest in purchasing the foreclosed property at 9001 U.S. Rt. 22 East Stoutsville, Ohio 43154. The Trustees reaction and the description of the conversations were recorded by the Township Secretary and I have the minutes from the meeting, as published originally.

Trustee Jerry Wolford’s adult son wanted to purchase the same piece of property, but he wanted to wait until the property was offered at Sheriff’s Sale, to buy the property far below market value, without the presence of a gas company competitively bidding. Trustee Wolford informed Mr. Coy that there may be problems getting approval for his use at that property, but there was a property that Mr. Rick Stevens, Twp. Zoning Inspector, would show to Mr. Coy. Mr. Wolford assured Mr. Coy that he would be able to use the entire property with no restrictions, regardless of existing Township Zoning Regulations, because all the members of the Zoning Commission and Appeals Board were his friends and friends did favors for one another.
  I have many documents I was able to collect, before some were lost or no longer available, and the time to review the evidence recording the entire chain of events regarding the approval of a 40,000 gallon propane storage tank and facility that is zoned for light commercial, retail and professional businesses. There are deliberate multiple violations of zoning in the approval, and I was able to restrict some of the conversion to industrial high-risk use. Most of the restrictions instituted were later removed by the Trustees at their regular meeting, as Trustee Wolford guaranteed Mr. Coy.
  Mr. Wolford’s son was able to purchase the property at Sheriff’s Sale far below the Market Value, without any serious competitive bidders. The mortgagee, States Resources Corp., realized a $30,000.00 loss, as a result of the Trustees actions. A large gas storage tank has no security, no trees to hide it from the neighbors view and no business being there in the first place. The greed of the Trustees of Washington Twp., and their ability to remove any semblance of independent thought and discussion, enabled them to bypass, nullify and ignore the Zoning Regulations.
  I contacted Judy Wolford, the Pickaway County Prosecutor, regarding the decisions, but her lieutenant indicated their position was to defend the actions of the Trustees against challenges by the constituents, regardless of the legality of the actions.
  Thank You for your time and consideration in examining this corrupt Township.

Michael Astley