Lies! Total BS!

This arrived in my mail today REEKING of Alt-Right propaganda.

Do they think we are that frikkin stupid?

Ye gads… the petition they are spending MILLIONS to convince people not to sign is NOT from the Chinese Government… it’s a petition from “Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts” to put Bill 6 on the ballot so the people of Ohio CAN VOTE for or against adding another fee on our electric bills. OHIOANS, not a foreign government.

WHY are they spending so much and going to such extremes just to keep it OFF the ballot? Because it’s worth BILLIONS to the utility companies. And, if enough signatures are gathered to put it on the ballot, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will spend millions more in an all out campaign to get that money.

It reeks of Alt-Right because: (1) Bill 6 was sponsored by Republicans, passed by Republicans, and signed into law by a Republican governor; and (2), falsely claiming a petition is being circulated by the “Chinese Government” is so far fetched that it sounds like something Trump would say.

Oh yeah, his base would believe it without questioning because Trump paints China as the enemy in his little tariff war. His base is too stupid to realize that tariffs are import taxes, just an extra fee paid by the American who imported the items (not China) who will, in turn, pass the cost on to American consumers, that they their own selves will pay slightly higher prices on imported goods down at their local Walmart or whatever store. It’s okay, just “Buy American” while wearing an imported hat. So what if a trade war hurts our farmers. We can’t have “illegals” picking veggies, so up goes the cost of produce, too.

Of course, that’s all “fake news” to Trump supporters, who are so conditioned to believe whatever he tells them is the gospel truth. Maybe Trump should take a Sharpie marker and drawn a line on the border map and claim that’s the wall, built between tweets.

Where’s the circulators? I need one… yeah, this over-sized postcard has convinced me. Bring that petition to Youngstown, Ohio… I want to sign it.


Gerrymandering 101

Results of the State Senator race between John Boccieri and Micheal Rulli proves that Mahoning and Columbiana counties should NOT be lumped together in the same Ohio district.

It was NOT a close race. Rulli won Columbiana by a higher percentage than Boccieri won Mahoning, so Rulli will represent both counties here in Ohio.

That reveals something noticed years ago… the majority of people in these two counties do NOT think alike. They have their own ways of looking at things, their own ways of doing things, how they interact with other people, etc. It’s a strange phenomenon that I didn’t know about until I moved from Columbiana county to Trumbull county (which aligns more with Mahoning) before moving to Youngstown.

I’m NOT saying that one is better than the other, just saying that how people view things is so different that we would all be BETTER REPRESENTED if our state senate districts lines were redrawn.

Welcome to Gerrymandering 101.
How would you redraw the lines?

I would combine Mahoning with Trumbull County, then slide Columbiana County down to join with two house districts (with more like minded people) to the south.

RULE: one Ohio Senate district is a combo of 3 Ohio House districts, so you can’t just draw random lines.

NOTE: map created by cut & paste from gov maps.


All that (above) is a cut & paste of what I posted on Facebook yesterday. No one wanted to play. Perhaps some were thrown a bit back? I have friends and family in both counties, but no one even weighed in with a thought about the differences. Maybe some were offended.

I was going to take it down, but an anonymous someone had shared it so I didn’t want to be rude.

If you happen to live in one of those counties and question the idea of people being so different that all would be better represented in the Ohio Senate if the lines were redrawn, I invite you to observe for yourself. It’s easy to do… just go shopping at stores in both counties. Pay attention to who speaks to you. Then talk to strangers in crowded stores, pay attention to facial expressions and body languages.

People in Columbiana county generally only speak to other locals… familiar faces, those they know, and those assumed to be other local people. If an outsider speaks to them in a crowded store, they might reply, but a momentary flicker of uneasiness might cross their face. You can almost see them thinking, “Who are you? What do you want? Why are you speaking to me?” It’s an Appalachian influence. There are a lot of “hill people” in Columbiana county. They will give the shirt off their back to one of their own, but they tend to be leery of outsiders.

Go north to the diversely populated urban areas in Mahoning or Trumbull county where it is “normal” to be open and friendly with everyone. Most people talk to strangers, strike up conversations in store aisles and checkout lines, they talk to people everywhere they go.

That’s one of the first things I noticed when I moved to Warren. I had strangers walking up to me grocery stores, striking up conversations over produce. “Look at the price on these tomatoes!” I’ve even been serenaded by strangers, old men bursting into song when I’ve pulled into a gas station with the top down on my convertible (miss that car). I also noticed that people are more accepting of human imperfections. Put it this way, I have NEVER heard anyone yell “hey fat ass” or other profanity laced insults out their car windows at me while I was just walking down a street in Trumbull or Mahoning county.

The difference became even more clearer after moving back to Salem in Columbiana county after I became disabled. The ONLY people who talked to me in stores or other public places were the people who remembered me from years before. Others treated me like an outsider. Even the neighbors in my apartment building were not too friendly. They rarely spoke to me. Even when I fell in the yard, they sat on their balconies watching a taxi driver retrieve the wallet I accidentally tossed when my legs wobbled out from under me as if it were a free show, get the popcorn, don’t say a word.  The one woman who became my only friend there was also an outsider who had moved there from New Jersey.  After a couple years, I was so glad to move to Youngstown, where I could talk to people without getting snubbed by odd looks. And, I could walk into a store without overhearing whispered insults about me, my body, my clothes, how I walk, or whatever.

That’s just ONE aspect of differences… politically, people who are open and friendly and more accepting of diversity also tend to be more open minded, more liberal, and more likely to vote for Democrats.

If you look at any political map after any election, this phenomenon could be the reason urban areas in red states are blue. It also might explain why some voters in red areas respond well to fear based tactics.

Thanks for reading!


My little IMO piece was printed in this month’s newsletter for the 7th Ward. They may regret asking me to write something.  This photo is hard to read, so there is a copy/paste reprint down below.

For those who don’t know, the population of Youngstown, Ohio, dropped from 170,002 residents in the heyday of steel mills to less than 65,000 today. That left a lot of vacant houses. It’s great if you are looking to buy a fairly decent house on the cheap… mine was less than $20,000. Unfortunately, too many houses fell into decay, partly because out-of-town investors snatched up homes for pennies on the dollar and didn’t give a flying fig about taking care of the properties. Others just left… walked away. The house next door was abandoned years ago, owner address unknown, until the Land Bank acquired it last fall. After a thorough inspection, they opted to tear it down.

I did the #beingGladysKravitz thing and snapped some photos while peeking out my windows.

They did it right… followed EPA guidelines, removed basement block and everything was hauled off site. The vacant lot was left looking nice and tidy. Even the black-topped driveway was removed.

Hopefully, they got the bamboo out, too.

When the weather breaks, they will be back to plant grass and install a split rail fence across the front of the lot. If the people in the next house down wish to buy it, there will be no competition from me as I think it looks like it should become part of their yard. They don’t have a fence… I do.

On the next block over, the city street department demolished a house and left the lot in a royal mess. People are not happy. Neighbors are talking. They can see the difference between lots done right and demos gone bad. With hundreds of house already demolished and aggressive plans to tear down more, vacant lots dot our neighborhoods. We live here. We care.

Is it too much to ask those who don’t to do it right?

Ridding the city of dilapidated housing is good, but we need to think about the future, too. Vacant lots can enhance the city with green space, become urban gardens, or end up becoming just another form of urban blight. What is in the ground matters. So, that’s what I choose to write about.

Here’s the unedited version of my IMO (edited version in photo):


IMO, filling in the hole left after a demolition by smashing part of the house down into the basement and throwing dirt on top turns our vacant lots into mini unregulated landfills containing the same type of debris that requires annual testing to monitor leakage at state licensed C&DD (construction and demolition debris) landfills.

What is the long term effect?

The debris will rot over time, releasing heavy metals and chemicals that can leach into soil and waters. And it is not just lead from old paint. In fact, lead is not even on the list of 74 parameters that C&DD facilities are required to monitor. They are looking for Arsenic, Copper, Mercury, and a dozen other heavy metals. The list of 46 chemicals includes carcinogens like Benzene (used in paints, glues, resins, etc.) Licensed C&DD landfills have lots of rules, including disposal limits to protect their neighbors. They cannot bury debris within 100 feet of their property line or within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling. And yet, here we are, in an urban setting, with hundreds of mini landfills, containing the same type of debris with the same potential health hazards, located on vacant lots between houses in our own neighborhoods.

The practice must be stopped.

Yes, it costs more per demolition to do it right. But, what is the cost in the long run? Must our children suffer the health consequences? What is the cost to dig it up later, if a clean up is required?

Thankfully, most demolition contractors follow EPA guidelines, which suggest removing the basement, disposing all debris at a state licensed C&DD facility, and prepping the earth so the vacant lot can be beneficial to the city by providing green spaces that can used to help with storm water management.

IMO, the city should follow their example and also do it right.

Thanks for reading,

Nancy Barnes

UPDATE 4/25/2018:  What I failed to mention, on request of the person who asked me to write my little IMO, is that the practice of burying demolition debris on-site is ILLEGAL in the State of Ohio unless you get an exemption from the EPA. The law also states that individuals seeking exemptions MUST PROVE that debris buried on-site is unlikely to have any adverse public health, safety, or environmental effect. The process of requesting an exemption requires a paper trail so I called the EPA.

Well, guess what… NO exemptions have been granted for any properties in the city of Youngstown, Ohio. If we submit addresses of vacant lots containing demolition debris to the Ohio EPA Division of Materials and Waste Management (DMWM), they will investigate and the city could be fined and/or required to clean up the sites.

I relayed this information to my councilwoman and a few other people at a meeting tonight and feedback was not exactly supportive. They don’t want to rock the boat. The city is tight on cash. It costs about $1,000 more per demo to do it right… if they have to do it right, then less houses will be demolished… what about the environmental impact? The cost of digging all that crap up later? I was told that if I wanted to take on the city, go ahead… as in what, on my own?

Well… hello Youngstown.