For six and a half years I regularly attended board meetings of the Seneca County commissioners. During that time, I learned a lot about county government, but also about those who have power over it. Ben Nutter, who is now running for his third four-year term, gained his seat on the board by declaring our courthouse old, falling apart and unworthy of being saved. Few doubted his convincing words. He is a great "spin-doctor." He was elected.
During the following years, as experts came from all over Ohio and across the country to prove above myths not only untrue but blatantly false, I realized commissioner Nutter would not be swayed. It had become a game and he enjoyed playing it.
The experts who came to that board room are too numerous to list: architects, accountants, structural engineers, state preservationists, representatives of two governors, plus many more. All working on projects at no charge ever to the county. Some of them traveling four to six hours to attend. Many came to Tiffin more than 25 times. Their goal: to show the board that it was indeed feasible to save the courthouse.
It was the morning that the group presented their in-depth plan, "Seven Ways to Save the Seneca County Courthouse" without raising taxes, that I knew Mr. Nutter was determined on total destruction. The game was over.
So, even if you weren't in favor of saving the courthouse, please remember this - demolition cost $400,000. Ben Nutter quickly signed a contract arranged by MKC that gave away everything to the wrecking company. Even ordinary people knew this was an expensive, lopsided agreement. But he was in a hurry. People were beginning to see the light. Time was running out.
A few days before the wrecking ball struck, the owner from Salvage Nation toured the building. He stated in The (Toledo) Blade that the courthouse was too beautiful to destroy. He was not allowed to save anything.
Thus, we ended up with a $23-million (its value at that time) pile of rubble that included beautiful doors, paneling and woodwork of walnut, oak and rare, yellow pine. Granite and marble floors, two large stained-glass skylights and many architectural features were forever lost. Brass and other metals already had been removed. It was easy to see who got rich.
A businessman never would have agreed to such a contract. But a "wanna be" career politician holding down two full-time jobs would, and did. That's why I say no more career politicians. Twelve years is too long.
That's why I am voting for a businessman. I am voting for Fred Zoeller.