By HOWARD BALABAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Medina Journal-Register — Barring successful challenges, it appears Orleans County voters will have candidates on the “Save Our Nursing Home” party line this fall.
“The election board accepted our petitions,” said Gary Kent, spokesman for the Concerned Citizens of Orleans County.
Linda Rak, Emil Smith, Jack GIllman, and Kent will run on the line. Rak is from District 2, Smith is from District 1, and Gillman and Kent are at-large candidates.
Rak and Smith both needed about 140 signatures apiece, Kent said. Both wound up with more than 200 as Rak had 205 and Smith managed 235.
Both Kent and Gillman needed 564. They got that total and then some, with Gillman acquiring 873 and Kent getting 977.
“I doubt there will be challenges since we submitted so many signatures. It will be difficult,” Kent said. “I had no idea what the numbers were going to be, but we had 35 ‘concerned citizens’ circulating petitions.”
Kent originally hoped to gather about 700 signatures, but he said when the petitions were turned in on Tuesday he was “dumbfounded” at how many he submitted.
He added that many citizens mentioned displeasure regarding the county’s stance on the nursing home sale.
“We heard a lot of comments relating to general dissatisfaction with government, in addition with a feeling of frustration with the effort to sell the nursing home,” Kent said, noting that many signatures were given with “enthusiasm.”
Kent said the petitions showed him that the “opposition to the sale is about what I expected it was.” He used the petitions’ circulation as an unofficial survey, and based on those the results he said he was “fascinated” by the response.
Regarding a recent survey by the Center for Governmental Research (see related story on this page), Kent said it does not prove the county legislature right planning to sell the nursing home, but rather suggests the county rushed its choice.
“Each county needs to evaluate how much it will do to support a home based on its local realities…and each county is different,” he said.
With fall elections fast approaching, Kent acknowledged that there are indeed more issues to consider than the nursing home. He said, though, “this one issue really trumps a lot of others right now.”