The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 7, 2013

Charter committee tight-lipped about loss

After losing Tuesday’s election by a vast majority of votes, the Committee for a New Ashtabula doesn’t want to talk about it.

Upon learning of the issue’s defeat Tuesday night, Dr. Robert Malinowski, committee spokesperson, said his group wasn’t going away. The Star Beacon contacted Malinowski Wednesday afternoon to discuss the group’s plans for the future; however, Malinowski declined a follow-up interview.

“No, we’re not going to do that,” he said. “We’re just going to leave our options open.”

Malinowski said committee members have not had a chance to get together yet to discuss their next step.

“There’s things we can do,” he said. “When we do them, we’ll let you know. We’ll just leave it at that.”

The committee replaced its Facebook profile picture, Wednesday, from a “Vote Yes on Issue 1” photo with one that states “Keep Calm Cause This is Just the Beginning.” The group’s Facebook page is also displaying a photo that says “We will be back 2014.”

The issue, that would have dramatically changed county government, went down by a 2 to 1 vote Tuesday. According to unofficial results from the Ashtabula County Board of Elections, 13,615, or 68 percent, voted against it. The issue only saw 6,590 votes in favor of it, or 32 percent.

Malinowski said Tuesday night, he felt the committee’s campaign efforts brought to light a lot of issues in the county’s government. Charter opponents argue that Ashtabula County government is functioning properly, with a good team of elected officials.

George Distel, who headed up the opposing committee, said the people of Ashtabula County have spoken loud and clear and they are not interested in changing county government.

“We have independently elected officials and that creates checks and balances and that’s important,” he said. “Regardless of their political affiliation, they are doing a good job.”

Distel said the biggest reason the issue got voted down was because voters were left with a lot of questions that the supporting committee could not provide answers for.

“A lot of things were unclear,” he said. “The voters are not stupid.”

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