The Oberlin Review

In Council Race, Voters Should Consider Climate Policies

John D. Elder, OC ’53, Vice President, Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy

November 1, 2019

 Of the dozen fine Oberlinians running for City Council, I urge you to vote for those who have been clear about their support for preserving the entire $2.8 million Renewable Energy Credits money for its intended purpose — the Sustainable Reserve Fund — where it can now be used to fulfill the goals of the City’s Climate Action Plan and provide significant long-term benefit to our low and moderate-income residents. I am very glad that all 12 candidates have positive views about the use of the REC dollars, as reported in the questionnaire responses on the Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy Facebook page (@oberlinCSSE). However, I want to highlight the six who voted or said they would have voted to put all t...

Oberlin City Council Candidates Differ on Climate Actions

John Elder, OC ’53, Vice President, Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy

October 21, 2019

The dozen candidates vying for Oberlin City Council in the Nov. 5 election offer their differing views on the city’s Sustainable Reserve Fund and its Climate Action Plan goals in a Voters’ Guide published Tuesday, Oct. 15 by Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy. Present Council member Heather Adelman, who worked on the recent rewrite of the CAP, said, “The next frontier for the City is to look at space heating and how we can move away from natural gas.” Also running for re-election is council member Kristin L. Peterson, who stated, “What concerns me most about the plan is the possible disagreements in the community about the best way to address the plan and its goals.” Longtime council member Ronnie...

Letters to the Editors: Issue 11

Laura Slocum, Amy (Pechaitis) Burgess, Chris M. Mason, Jim Walsh, Debbi Walsh, John Elder, Michele Andrews, Robin Diedrick, Judith Poirson, Monica Smith, and Aliza Weidenbaum

November 2, 2018

In Favor While discussion continues about Issue 11, we must remember that we are part of a strong and diverse committee, including many parents of school-aged children who are tired of commonplace argument and committed to action. In this day and age we know that family, school, and community influences on student achievement are great, and that the environmental quality of schools affects educational performance. Study after study demonstrates that facilities themselves have an impact on things such as student behavior, grades, teacher retention, and community satisfaction. Some may think that retrofitting current buildings for present use is the answer. We have done our homework and find the more prudent invest...

Students Should Attend Eliza Griswold’s Fossil Fuel Presentation

John Elder, OC ’53, Member of the First Church Green Team

September 21, 2018

Combining a poet’s artistry, a translator’s empathy, and an investigative journalist’s persistence, Eliza Griswold makes the deeply divisive issue of fossil fuel extraction grippingly real. We are very fortunate that the recipient of many prestigious awards is including Oberlin on her tour to talk about her rave-reviewed new book Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America. National Book Award winner George Packer calls it “a morally complex and beautifully written story … about what binds and tears apart a community and a country.” The Green Team of The First Church in Oberlin United Church of Christ invites you to attend her presentation this Sunday at 4 p.m. in the First Church Meeti...

Community Members Debate Next Steps for NEXUS

Roman Broszkowski, Staff Writer

September 7, 2018

After failing to stop construction of the NEXUS pipeline, protesters and environmental activists are regrouping and planning for what comes next. Some are looking specifically at how to protect Oberlin, some argue that the way forward lies in regional coalitions, and others believe that only radical restructuring, such as creating a landfill gas pipeline, can produce a desired outcome. Pipeline construction was completed over the summer. On July 25, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a request for a rehearing of the construction approval. The request was filed by multiple groups, including the City of Oberlin and Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy. Reverends Steve Hammond and John Elder founded CSSE in 2012...

Off The Cuff: John Elder and Steve Hammond

Off The Cuff: John Elder and Steve Hammond

April 6, 2018

John Elder and Steve Hammond are co-founders of the group Citizens for Safe and Sustainable Energy, an environmental group that has been working to fight the NEXUS pipeline and advocate for Oberlin’s Community Bill of Rights. Hammond is also the Pastor for Oberlin’s Peace Community Church. The group has been fighting the NEXUS pipeline since 2013, pursuing lawsuits, engaging community members, and advocating with City Council. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. How did y...

Voters Can Correct City Council’s Mistakes

Steve Hammond and John Elder

September 22, 2017

To the Editors: Two issues related to the use of Oberlin’s renewable energy credits (RECs) will be on the ballot this November. Why? Because voters need the opportunity to correct two Oberlin City Council actions. In 2004 Oberlin College began seeking renewable energy, and in 2007 the City Council established by ordinance, with the College’s encouragement, a Sustainable Reserve Program “for the sole purpose” of depositing the revenue from the sale of what are now known as RECs for a Sustainable Reserve Fund “to provide funding opportunities for community-based, utility-related, environmentally-friendly initiatives demonstrating energy efficiency, energy conservation, greenhouse gas reductions and/or dev...

Local Petitions Challenge REC Choice Fund Options

Jenna Gyimesi

March 31, 2017

Local community members are pushing to overturn a recent initiative that would give city residents the option of donating revenue from renewable energy back to the city. A committee of city residents created two petitions that, if passed, would put the city’s Community Choice Fund back on next year’s ballot. The fund allows residents to donate their share of the city’s Renewable Energy Credits back to the City to invest in further sustainable energy projects. Last year, City Council decided that Oberlin would return 85 percent of the proceeds from the sale of RECs to city residents and give 15 percent of the proceeds to sustainability projects, which comes out to around $100 per year for each resident. Renewable...

Petititions Circulate to Preserve REC Fund

John Elder, OC '53

March 10, 2017

To the Editors: In May 2007, the Oberlin City Council voted unanimously to establish a Sustainable Reserve Program funded by the revenue from selling renewable energy credits. This week, former Oberlin City Councilors, business owners and other respected Oberlinians are starting to circulate a pair of petitions that, together, will enable the voters to preserve funding for that program. I urge students, staff and faculty who vote in Oberlin to sign these two petitions. Why do this now? The Ohio legislature has been cutting income for the city’s general fund. The Trump administration is slashing the EPA budget. We can’t expect any federal or state support for local sustainability efforts, but thanks to 2007’s...

City Resolution Counters ‘Guns Everywhere’ Bill

Eliza Guinn

April 15, 2016

Oberlin City Council fired a warning shot past the Ohio House of Representatives April 4 when they released a resolution opposing House Bill 48. The resolution cited Oberlin’s Bill of Rights and the powers it grants the council to exercise home-rule and self-governance. “The prohibition of the ability of municipalities to determine where a person may carry a concealed handgun within those municipalities has undermined a sense of safety within those communities and has contributed to the accidental injuries to and deaths of innocent persons,” the resolution states. The “Guns Everywhere” Bill, sponsored by Representative Ron Maag, would expand the areas where permit holders could carry concealed guns to...

Fairchild Chapel to Become Multifaith Prayer Space

Eliza Guinn

April 8, 2016

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at Oberlin has been working since the fall of 2015 to recreate Fairchild Chapel as a multifaith prayer space for Oberlin’s campus. College senior Rand Zalzala, the student coordinator for this project, said that the ORSL’s current focus is to make the space as available and welcoming as possible to members of any and all religious affiliations. Resources like meditation cushions, prayer rugs, prayer beads and religious texts have been made available for students, College employees and community members to use at any time. “I think that many people want to practice on campus,” Zalzala said. “But they don’t have the space to do it.” The ORSL is trying to...

‘Guns Everywhere’ Bill to Allow Arms on Campuses

‘Guns Everywhere’ Bill to Allow Arms on Campuses

March 4, 2016

The national debate over gun control has grown increasingly local since House Bill 48 passed through the Ohio House of Representatives last November. The city of Oberlin will demonstrate its opposition to the bill by presenting a resolution to City Council on Monday. “The city of Oberlin believes that the laws expanding the possession of guns in areas within our community undermine public confidence in the assumption of safety and security in the community and impede law enforcement agencies...

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