Posted by: Nate Nelson | October 27, 2009

More From the Rust Belt Berkeley

Last week, I wrote about the Athens County Democratic Party’s contempt for voters as illustrated by Councilwoman Nancy Bain’s flippant refusal to answer questions about how City Council plans to pay for the proposed $1.75 million University Estates (UE) purchase. A warm welcome to Athens NEWS and Athens Runaway readers who have found my blog thanks to this story.

Speaking of Athens Runaway, Jesse Hathaway has some interesting information on the antics of a different council member: Elahu Gosney, an at-large councilman. Apparently Athens Dems have contempt not only for voters, but also for science and rationality. Hathaway writes:

According to a local newspaper which I hold in great regard, The Post, Gosney is described as “against fluoridation,” and is quoted by the paper as saying, “It’s kind of like swallowing suntan lotion to protect against the sun.” . . .

Dentists (AKA “experts about teeth”) and public health experts almost unanimously agree that fluoridated water is safe and healthful. The only holdouts are those on the Far Right and the Far Left, the people that I call the Axis of Stoopid.

More beneath the fold…

Hathaway also points out that under Ohio law, it is impossible for a community to stop fluoridating its water supply once it has already begun to do so. This means that Gosney’s anti-fluoridation crusade has been a futile effort here in Athens and probably has more to do with strengthening Gosney’s “progressive” credentials. Oh yeah, as if this weren’t enough, Gosney opposes vaccination as well. Check out Ashley Herzog’s piece on why liberal anti-vaxxers are selfishly risking the health of their own and others’ children.

So, let’s summarize. Members of the Athens County Democratic Party don’t seem to have any respect for voters, for science, for public health, or for reason in general. And they think they should continue to dominate our political landscape?

I keep bringing these issues back to Christine Fahl, the incumbent Fourth Ward councilwoman whose Republican opponent I have endorsed. Some would say it’s unfair for me to do this. After all, Fahl wasn’t the one who dismissed voter concerns like she was swatting a fly; that was Nancy Bain. And Fahl isn’t the one on a crusade against water fluoridation and childhood vaccination; that’s Elahu Gosney. Is it really fair to lump Christine Fahl in with her Democratic colleagues on City Council?

The problem is that Fahl is the only council member participating in a contested election this year. While Fahl has plenty of her own problems, in some ways this election transcends her and becomes a referendum on the Athens County Democratic Party.

Sure, we can talk about Fahl’s involvement in preventing a major development project in the Fourth Ward that would have provided jobs and a retirement facility for Athens seniors. But it’s also legitimate to talk about Athens County Democratic Party chair Susan Gwinn’s indictment, Nancy Bain’s snubbing of voters, and Elahu Gosney’s disdain for science and public health. These are some of Fahl’s closest colleagues, and by refusing to speak out against their mistakes she makes those mistakes at least partially her own.

We can’t be sure that Fahl will ever speak up for the resignation of a party chair under indictment. We can’t be sure that she will ever encourage Nancy Bain and her fellow council members to be more accountable to voters and taxpayers. We can’t be sure that she won’t join Elahu Gosney in his anti-fluoridation, anti-vaccination, and generally anti-science crusade. That’s a lot of uncertainty, isn’t it? Should residents of the Fourth Ward really have to wonder if Fahl is going to be more loyal to her party than to her constituents?

We can’t know for sure which positions her opponent, Republican Randy Morris, will take on every issue. I’m sure he’ll make some decisions I disagree with. What we do know about Morris is that he’s not part of the leviathan that the Athens County Democratic Party has built, which means that he’s more likely than Fahl to speak up for accountability, transparency, public health, and science when other council members might be inclined to go a different route. Why wouldn’t we give him a chance to provide contrasting views on council and maybe even make some changes?



  1. Sorry, but Mr. Hathaway gets most things wrong, and they are repeated here. As one example: not to confuse you with facts, but I support vaccines, and believe they are an essential public health measure. There has been growing consensus that they should not include organic mercury.

    “As a precautionary measure, the Public Health Service (including the FDA, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued two Joint Statements, urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible (CDC 1999) and (CDC 2000). The U.S. Public Health Service agencies have collaborated with various investigators to initiate further studies to better understand any possible health effects from exposure to thimerosal in vaccines.”—

    • Thanks for correcting the record, Mr. Gosney.

      While you’re here, would you care to comment on the alleged Cash for Votes scheme involving the OU College Democrats? Apparently they received the money from the Athens County Democratic Party. Some of us might be more inclined to believe this was all innocent if you and your fellow council members had called for your indicted party chair, Susan Gwinn, to step down. But since she’s indicted for financial reasons, you can see why some might wonder exactly what the OUCD Vice President means when she says that “a friend from 4th ward” is “more then a friend, they’re 5 bucks!”

      I will anxiously await your comment on this issue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: