From Old Church to Climbing Gym: St. Anthony’s Totally Uncalled For Transformation

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Toledo’s historic St. Anthony Church eyed for climbing gym
Community full of ideas for how to repurpose St. Anthony Church

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5th Circuit Rejects Challenge To Abortion Pill’s Approval, But Upholds Some Restrictions

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Ohio’s Budget Process Continues, Gavarone Highlights Key Provisions

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[0:00] In this episode, we explore the latest twist in the tale of closed St. Anthony Church in Toledo, saved from demolition to be a place for affordable housing and or a community event space. The Lucas County Land Bank decided to ditch what the community wanted and went with the idea of converting the church into a climbing gym. Why did the land bank ignore the community? This episode also looks at controversial decisions around chemical abortions and public schools. We’ll dissect the Republican Attorney General’s lawsuit in Texas aimed at removing FDA authorization of one abortion drug, the surprising argument used by Judge James Ho, and whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court will get involved. Then we’ll address the controversy around Ohio State Senator Theresa Gavirone’s presence, at a school opening, despite her support for universal vouchers and lack of support for, for adequate public school funding. I’m Doug Berger and this is Secular Left.

[1:05] Music.

[1:14] My humanist group was formed in, my local humanist group was formed in 2018 and, one of the first things that we worked on that in the community was opposing, the saving of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. St. Anthony’s Catholic Church is at the corner of Nebraska and Junction streets here in Toledo. It’s an old church. It was built in 1894. It is huge and imposing and it was due for demolition in the in the spring of 2018. The parish had closed and been merged with another nearby parish and they couldn’t find any uses for the building. And like I said, it’s an old building and in need of repairs and the Catholic diocese decided, since they couldn’t find a buyer for it, that they were just going to tear it down.

[2:14] So they did some asbestos abatement and brought in the wrecking equipment and put up a fence. And that’s when Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of the 9th District swooped in.

[2:30] And started a ground swell of support to try to save the church. And of course, it was a little bit self-serving for her because her family, when she was a young girl, and her family went to that church back when the neighborhood was a majority of Polish people, Polish immigrants in that neighborhood. And so she didn’t want to see an icon of her childhood be demolished.

[3:01] I don’t fault her for wanting that. Unfortunately she wanted to spend tax dollars to save it. And so she cajoled and twisted arms and got publicity and everything and got the Lucas County Land Bank to talk the Diocese into selling it to them, I don’t know, I guess 300,000 or something like that. They focused on an amount and sold it. So the Lucas County Land Bank, which is a public entity that basically buys up vacant properties and rehabilitates them or sells them or tears them down and sells the land for redevelopment. So they bought the church. You know, saints be praised! Woo-hoo! They bought the church. So they saved it from wrecking. So now we, We’ve got to figure out what we want to do with that building.

[4:11] One of the things that governments do when they take on a project is they call it talking to the stakeholders, for the fancy term. Basically what they do is they talk to the people in the neighborhood, the people that are going to be directly affected by anything that they do with that church building. They have to talk to the people in the neighborhood and one, they have to identify what they want and two, how best they can use that property to address the things that they want in their neighborhood. The Junction neighborhood where this church is located is pretty distressed. Quite a few abandoned properties. The business community is pretty much obliterated. There’s a lot of vacant land where some houses that had burnt down or became abandoned were torn down because of blight. It’s a struggling neighborhood. It’s primarily African American in makeup and it’s a poor neighborhood. So trying to find something to do with this big, imposing, gigantic church building that would help the community, that was what they wanted to do.

[5:34] So they formed, of course, a focus group. They came up with some ideas, the focus group came up with some ideas, and it got reported on in the Toledo Blade in July of 2019. The Land Bank bought the building in 2018 and they had this focus group on in 2019. And it says those who attended Monday’s community meeting at the new Mott Branch Library were asked two questions. What are the neighborhood’s needs and how can can the church be redeveloped to address those needs?” And then they talked to some people in the newspaper article. It says that they want to see the building once again become a neighborhood focal point. Another person said that they wanted to see the building provide access to food. That, That particular area is considered a food desert, and so having an area that you could get food.

[6:44] Other ideas included a bowling alley, a fitness center, art studios, classrooms, or a museum. And so somebody from the Collingwood Arts Center told the group that they need to come up with a use for the building that will at least bring in enough revenue to keep the lights on because you don’t want the government to have to keep funding it to keep it open.

[7:07] And it says whatever ideas you come up with, you better come up with some thoughts about where you’re going to get the money from three, four, five years from now just to pay the daily expenses. The community primarily wants to keep it a focus of the neighborhood and have it as a focal point and community event and gathering space and things like that. So that’s what they started to work on. And so then they also talked to Lucas County Treasurer Lindsey Webb. She is the co-chair of the Land Banks Committee on St. Anthony’s redevelopment. She said that redeveloping St. Anthony Church will have implications for the Junction neighborhood, Nebraska Avenue Corridor, but also for the city as a whole, as there are 40 other abandoned or vacant churches in Toledo.

[7:53] This is not the first church that is going to have to find its new use, and it won’t be the last,” Ms. Webb said, but we want to make sure we’re doing this right. That’s why it’s so important, to us to hear from the neighbors. Now that is Lindsay Webb, Lucas County Treasurer, speaking, in July of 2019 during these initial focus groups. All right, so they went ahead and had the feasibility study and they had the design collective which is a local architectural firm or or whatever come up with some concepts. So they came up with these concepts there was one two three four five six seven different concepts with different things like they had like put turn it back into a place of assembly of worship which I totally disagree with even trying to do that. I don’t see spending tax dollars on a church building in order to turn it into another church building. So, the one that got the highest score in the feasibility study, That was done and this was done in 2020 June of 2020 is when this was finished.

[9:11] By the Design Collaborative, and they came up with the one that scored the highest was concept number two, and it says, Renovate to Assembly Worship Multipurpose, which is concept one, plus a small addition with a Flex Plaza, is what it’s called. And basically it would have, there would be, there’s a little bit of vacant land. There used to be a school attached to this church and they tore the school down many, many years ago. So they had this this vacant land to the north of the church. And this concept, too, would put a small building on the west side of this vacant area and then have a plaza because you got to have they want to have multiple events. So you have to have an indoor outdoor space. You have to have a commercial kitchen to do catering, bathrooms that are to code and accessible.

[10:05] And then you’d still have the church building itself that you could use. Anyway, so for Concept 2 activities they had have a market, indoor-outdoor, farmers market, antiques, art and culture, have a training education center, community celebrations, movies and multimedia displays, theater, school assemblies, health fairs, climbing wall, keep a note of that, climbing wall, we’ll come back to that, yoga, aerobics, pilates, trade shows, worship, weddings, and family reunions. All good multi-purpose uses of this building.

[10:50] And so that is the concept that scored the highest the community wanted. However, However, on the list of cons, it said it still only speaks to two of four focus group needs.

[11:03] Which is a problem. Because if you have four things that the community wants, and you can only address two of them, church and parish provide a focal point of the neighborhood, poor housing and services that do not attract new residents or new buildings, access to quality of life services, not just mental health services, hope and trust. Is what do you think the reuse of this building can do to meet that need? And they say focal point, gathering place, business development, youth education, recreation, and skill development, adult workforce development. And then they had the three things that the community consistently stated they do not want. And that’s a cafe, a coffee house, or housing organizations that will promote gentrification. And so then they had these themes. And these are the questions that that these concepts are supposed to address, safety, sustainability, ownership, and leadership. And so that Concept 2, with the small addition in the plaza.

[12:06] Addressed only two of those four themes. So that was in June of 2020, and then we had the pandemic, and it pretty much put things that delayed a lot of things. And so we come back now to January of of 2022, and they’re starting to pick up, the land bank is gonna pick up the St. Anthony project once again to get going with it. And one of the things that they wanna do is they want to sell it.

[12:41] So I did a records request from the land bank and got all these emails and memos and things like that. And basically they wanted to stabilize the building get it fixed up, because eventually they want to sell it, which is what a land bank does, is they don’t own, they don’t control properties for very long. They want to do whatever needs to be done to fix it up, to get it ready to redevelop it, and then they sell it. In January of 2022, in some of the emails, one of the emails says, in addition to the affordable housing project, we are also proposing to redevelop the St. Anthony’s Church building for event assembly use once again. And again, that’s with the concept two in the feasibility.

[13:31] And then one of the people that works with the land banks in an email in January the 18th of 2022 said, it may be helpful to lead off the community meetings for this project, referring back to work Land Bank Junction and others held to identify senior housing as the best and highest use for this site. I have found building from the previous meetings of Peppering and the community need data priorities helpful in establishing guideposts for the discussion and gaining meaningful feedback. So their focus now is on affordable housing and meeting community space for this. So again, that still fits in with that that that second concept that the feasibility study identified.

[14:17] So then we move ahead to March 2022 and there was an email where the land bank now realizes that they’re going to have to pivot.

[14:29] And this is from an email in March of 2022, March 24th. Our fundamental approach to redevelopment at this site has been about making affordable housing work. However, we have had numerous conversations in which the unresolved nature of the former St. Anthony’s building has complicated any possibility of affordable housing new development. So we’ve shifted. The Land Bank’s work over the next few months will be to put together an earmark request with Congresswoman Captor’s office, it’ll allow us to make and complete capital investment in the former St. Anthony’s building in order to operate it as a community event space with a non-profit partner. So now they’ve dropped the idea of senior housing or affordable housing and they’ve gone back to just being a basic community event space with a non-profit partner. That’s in March 2022. And then we come to January of 2023. This was the year after they had initially started talking about affordable housing. And then in March of 2022, they shifted to going back to the community event space. Now, in January of 2023, they put out a memo to this company, this recreational company called Aventus.

[15:56] Says, shortly after the Lampak acquired the property in 2018, we began conversations with Aventus Climbing about their goal to meet local market demand for climbing gym spaces. Aventus has since publicly announced plans to build and operate a new for-profit climbing gym facility in Lucas County. Aventis has continued to express an interest in the St. Anthony’s building space as a potential second climbing gym, location that would be co-operated with their first facility. Aventis has suggested that the unique nature of this cathedral-scale building would make it a destination for climbers throughout the country and perhaps the world. So they went from talking about a possible climbing wall to turning it into a climbing gym. That means the whole space would be dedicated to climbing activity and so I guess it would not be a community gathering space anymore. Because Aventus, the company, put out a memo of their own with their proposal and their proposal was to either lease or have a long-term lease on the building or outright purchase it.

[17:15] So, basically, a for-profit company that provides climbing activities would purchase this building in a distressed neighborhood that needs other things besides recreation, and it would be closed off to the community. Now, they talk about having memberships and having donations for those memberships, and then possibly creating a special neighborhood membership.

[17:43] But the fact is that they would purchase this building, this church, that’s already had, hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and Marcy Kaptur got an earmark for $4 million in the last budget in Washington to go to rebuilding this church. And they would sell it to a for-profit company that then would control who could access the the building for a foreseeable future, either a long term lease or they would purchase the property outright. Now that fits in with the goals of the land bank. They want to, they don’t want to hold on to things too long. They want to market for redevelopment. That’s their job is to gather these properties, these distressed vacant properties and turn them around and sell them for redevelopment. That’s great. Have a problem with that. But if you’re going to campaign to save a church building to turn it into.

[18:50] And the community says, you know, we want to keep it as a focal of the neighborhood, as a meeting and gathering place, and you end up selling it to a for-profit, company for recreation, that just slaps the neighborhood in the face. That just slaps them in the face. And the way it’s coming across, too, there was an article in the Toledo Blade that announced all this. This is what got me started talking about this. And so they did an article in the Toledo Blade, where they made it sound like that the neighborhood wanted it too.

[19:32] Yeah, it says Toledo’s Historic St. Anthony Church eyed for climbing gym and this was dated June 15th of 2023. And that’s when the land bank approved up to $300,000 or $299,500 for Toledo-based firm The Collaborative to study the church to see if a climbing gym could work and draw up plans. And so then they talked to David Mann, who was the president of, or in charge or executive director of the land bank. And says Mr. Mann said the land bank has talked with Aventus, a company currently building a climbing gym near Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, about eventually customizing the old church as a second large climbing facility in the city. A much smaller gym with a different owner.

[20:25] Climbed Toledo has operated since 2021 in North Toledo. Mr. Mann said Aventus would like a second climbing gym facility. They believe St. Anthony offers such a unique environment that it could become a national destination for climbing. And of course they tried to talk to Aventus and couldn’t get a hold of him. Says we’ve had multiple meetings now this is Lindsay Webb, Lucas County treasurer who also leads the Land Banks board, says this we’ve had multiple meetings with the neighborhood about the climbing gym proposal. People were skeptical but there’s been lots of discussion on how to integrate the neighborhood into the space. Another board member Mike Beasley said, something that brings people into the core of the community and also can present opportunities for people in the neighborhood is worth exploring when I’m bereft of ideas on how to retask spaces like this. It’s amazing. They’ve come to the conclusion.

[21:22] That they need to get a climbing gym into this church building when nobody, none of the stakeholders that matter want a climbing gym, or have indicated that they want a climbing gym. You know, a climbing wall maybe, but there’s also a climbing wall for free that can be used by the neighborhood for free at a community center two or three blocks away, the Frederick Douglass Center, on Indiana Avenue, they have a climbing wall and it’s free. So basically, and the problem with the the St. Anthony site too is a lack of parking. But, there’s some vacant land across the street that probably will be turned into parking. You never know. Land Bank owns that land too. But it just amazes me and so when I saw this article in June about them putting in a climbing gym, I did a public records request from the land bank. And so that’s what I found. I found that most a year ago.

[22:36] A climbing gym wasn’t even on the horizon. And it wasn’t until January of this year, 2023, that that’s when they started doing it. And then they say in the memo that after they purchased the property in 2018, the land bank started conversation with Aventus. Now that’s interesting.

[23:01] Because why have all these community meetings to find out what you want to do at this church if they’ve already made their decision? And so that is something that probably the community needs to find out. Is did they already have this, already figured out and so they were doing these community meetings just for show. But that’s the update on St. Anthony’s Church. And again, I don’t disagree with reusing churches. It happens all the time. You have theaters, coffee shops. There’s an old church that used to have photography equipment down in Columbus that I used to go to. It was an old church and you could buy cameras and lighting stuff and everything. It was a business. I, I disagree on using taxpayer dollars to save churches. If people want to get together and donate money to save a church, more power to them, just leave the taxpayers out of it.

[24:05] But if you do want to use taxpayer dollars, then you at least need to talk to the stakeholders and the community that’s going to be affected by this saving of this church or whatever you’re using this tax dollars for. And if you do talk to the community, you should listen to what the community has to say. For more information about any of the topics covered in this episode, check out our show notes at

[24:35] Music.

[24:42] Well it should come as no surprise that Governor Mike DeWine, who has never avoided an abortion law that he wouldn’t sign, would team up with the Ohio Catholic Conference, or Conference of Bishops, or Clavicle, or Go, I don’t know, what is a group of Catholics, anyway. So Governor Mike DeWine and Cleveland Bishop Edward Malczyk are headlining an upcoming fundraiser in the Cleveland area to benefit the campaign opposing the abortion rights ballot issue that Ohioans will vote on in November, Andrew Tobias of writes. The August 29th fundraiser will be held at the Gates Mills home of Umberto Fideli, a, prominent local businessman and major GOP political donor. If you want to attend, it’s going to cost you $500 to get in the door, and guests can give up to $50,000 each to be designated as an official event host. Proceeds will go to the misnamed Protect Women Ohio, the campaign group that’s not only supported State Issue 1 that went down to defeat, are working to defeat the Reproductive Rights Amendment.

[26:11] The amendment would nullify the state’s heartbeat bill and also it would get rid of a lot of the trap laws. The trap laws were targeted laws against abortion clinics that were still open that the state put in the state budget so that you couldn’t do a referendum to to have them repealed and like would say that your clinic had to have a hallway that was X amount wide and you had to have a doctor that had privileges at a local hospital within 30 miles and you know it was just this nitpicky stuff to try to close these. This was before Roe v. Wade was overturned, but it was these nitpicky laws, state regulations. Would try to over-regulate the abortion clinics. The fact remains that women that receive abortions have little to no adverse effects. Abortions are the safest medical procedure. They’re even safer than childbirth, than natural childbirth, believe it or not. And so these right-to-lifers, that’s what they did initially was over-regulate the clinics.

[27:32] So it also says in this article that Lieutenant Governor John Husted will be a headlining guest, and of course there will be people from the Ohio Right to Life, the Center for Christian Virtue, U.S. Representative Max Miller who had a tussle with the former spokesperson for Ohio Right to to life. And also on the guest list is Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno, Attorney General David Yost, and State Auditor Keith Favorite, the usual suspects, the usual group, of men who want to control all women in the state. For State Issue 1, technically the bishops, the Catholic bishops in Ohio, were neutral. But for the Reproductive Rights Amendment, they will not be neutral. They will be opposed to it.

[28:28] So the Catholic Church has been a major opponent to abortion proposals in other states, giving, at least $6 million to the unsuccessful effort to oppose a similar amendment in Michigan last year. The Catholic Church also spent $5 million, I believe it was in Missouri? No, Kansas. They spent several million dollars in Kansas, and so they also have spent $900,000 earlier this year on State Issue 1. And the article, Tobias article also says abortion rights supporters so far have outraised abortion opponents 9.7 million to 5.3 million. And there’s going to be a lot of TV ads. I’m going to tell you right now, there’s going to be a lot of TV ads. OK. And then it says, as they did in Michigan last year, opponents have said the amendment allows for legal abortion too late into a pregnancy, applies to minors, and the life or health exemption is too broad. Supporters have described the language as like the standard under Roe v. Wade. The exact effects of the amendment won’t be clear till they get decided by the courts, if the measure passes.”.

[29:47] And I also saw just the other day that the Ohio ballot board’s gonna be meeting, I think next week, to officially work out the wording. And I’ll be surprised that the ballot board doesn’t try to sabotage the amendment by miswording the ballot. I just have a feeling that they’re going to mess with it and it’s going to have to go to court and everything. The anti-abortion people are pulling out all the stops. They filed two lawsuits to try to keep the abortion rights amendment off the ballot, And so I can see them going to be either filing more court cases or actually actively sabotaging it because we just know Frank LaRose here in Ohio, the Secretary of State in charge of elections, we know that he is biased and he cannot be a neutral party in some of this stuff.

[30:48] And they’re already saying that, you know, they’re already making some wild claims that it’s going to force kids to get sex change operations and force children to get abortions and that’s not the case. Basically all it’s going to do is it’s going to go back to the time when Roe v. Wade was enforced and that any talk about abortions or or reproductive things, it’s going to be left to the woman and her doctor as it should be.

[31:23] And so it’s going to be very interesting to see how this turns out this fall. But we already know now that the state, and what’s kind of ironic is the state is teaming up with the Catholic Church, and the Republicans always talk about how they want to protect children and, they’ve got the largest group of pedophiles and molesters in the Catholic Church today and they just don’t want to investigate what the obvious danger to children is is priests Catholic priests in the Catholic Church. Pennsylvania and And I think Maryland just released two studies that were hundreds of pages long of all these molesters and child abuse, actual child abuse in the Catholic Church. But hey, you know, it’s just ironic to me. It makes me chuckle that the Republicans are working with these religious zealots that have problems with children.

[32:36] And so it’s going to be interesting this fall. See how that turns out. Well, since we’re talking about abortion, we can talk about the other avenue that the anti-abortionists are taking now. They got Roe v. Wade overturned in a suspect way, with Alito harking back to the 1300s to say society hated abortion and made it illegal. Anyway, that’s a different story. But, one of the other avenues, besides getting Roe v. Wade overturned, now the anti-abortionists are going after chemical abortions, that’s pills and Plan B and some other things, trying, to get those things banned as well, or highly controlled to make it near impossible for women to get chemical abortions.

[33:30] The clinic here in Toledo, where I’m located at, they stopped doing surgical abortions some time ago and now they prescribe, it’s a cocktail, it’s two different pills. You gotta take one and then take another to cause the pregnancy to terminate. The one major pill that is used, and I’m going to butcher this name because I cannot pronounce, it, uh, Mepristatone, Mepristatone. So I’m just going to call it the abortion pill. Okay.

[34:13] So they filed a lawsuit, a group of, uh, um, anti-abortion Republican attorney generals filed a lawsuit in federal court in the 5th circuit in Texas because they like to judge shop to try to get the authorization, approval authorization from the FDA of this abortion pill removed so it would have to be taken off the market because that’s what they do. They’re going after that and they’re going to go after birth control too and they’re starting to do that as well. So they went to Texas and a federal judge agreed with them, the guy was a Trump appointee. So the Biden administration and the makers of the medication appealed it to the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit ruled last week, last Wednesday.

[35:12] That they batted down challenges to the initial approval of the abortion drug, but they reinstituted restrictions that the agency had lifted in recent years. According to Talking Points Memo article, the three-judge panel reversed the most headline-grabbing part of Donald Trump-appointed District Court Judge Matthew Kaczmarek’s decision, in which he ruled that the FDA’s 20-plus-year approval of Mifpristatone should be nixed.

[35:44] The anti-abortion groups who brought the suit had argued that alterations to the drugs disbursement regime in 2016 qualified as reopening the question of that initial approval, giving, courts the opportunity to revisit it. The Fifth Circuit panel rejected the claim. They do not alter FDA’s basic assumption that Mifpristatone is safe and effective subject to certain conditions for use,” the panel wrote of the 2016 changes. The panel held the same on the 2021 alterations to the drugs regime where the FDA most significantly removed the in-person dispensing requirement. I believe that, yeah, they removed the in-person dispensing requirement because that was one One of the things that they used to, that kept it from being used frequently enough for abortions is you had to go into a doctor’s office, have a doctor’s visit, get the medication, then you had to get the second medication, you had to go to the doctor again. And then we get to the meat here. It says, the ruling is also replete with histronic messaging about the danger of mefersisone, talking points that have been an ambiguous and long-lived tactic of the anti-abortion movement and have resulted in restrictions that major medical groups have long critiqued as based in politics and not medically necessary.

[37:07] Judge James Ho, a Trump appointee, wrote separately to say that he also would have invalidated the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug. Ho indulged in reasoning that would seem far afield in a legal decision. A quote from what he wrote separately, says, Unborn babies are a source of profound joy for those who view them. Expected parents eagerly share ultrasound photos with loved ones. He wrote, Friends and family cheer at the sight of an unborn child. Doctors delight in working with their unborn patients and experience an aesthetic injury when they are aborted. Ho also spent time rooting for an anti-abortion argument that mailing abortion drugs violates the Comstact Act, an anti-vice law from the 1870s that hasn’t been enforced by the federal government since the 1930s, and took a whack at the FDA and an abortion manufacturer for criticizing Kemerick’s original decision.

[38:07] In this appeal, neither the FDA nor Danco is content to simply argue that the district court erred, he intoned. They disparaged the ruling as an unprecedented judicial assault on a careful regulatory process. The non-expert district court issued an unprecedented order, countermanding the scientific judgment of the Food and Drug Administration. Well, that’s true. They did. The other thing that kind of amazed me about Ho’s writing was where he talks about that doctors experience an aesthetic injury when they are aborted. He claims that the doctors are the victims if they have to abort babies and and and it may be true yes that babies unborn babies are a source of profound joy for those who view them expect the parents eagerly share ultrasound photos I yeah they do that but that is not a reason to ban the use of this drug for abortions. Whether or not somebody has an abortion is an issue of body autonomy and it should be based on actual medical evidence and not on the religious biases of a judge who is neither competent nor knowledgeable about medications.

[39:33] They just totally ignored the medical and science community’s efforts in this case and they accepted the rantings of the anti-abortion crowd. It’s just ridiculous. Now the one thing that is good is that this decision is stayed right now because it was already appealed, the attempt to take this drug off the market, was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and they issued a stay. So the drug is still available without any restrictions right now until the U.S. Supreme Court either decides to hear the case and hears it and rules or if they remove the stay. Now it’s possible that they might remove the stay because the 5th Circuit ruled, who knows? But it’s just ridiculous, and like I said, a medical-induced abortion is just as safe and effective as a surgical abortion, which again, is safer than natural childbirth.

[40:49] And these people are just bizarre. These anti-abortionists are just bizarre. And that’s what they’re doing, is now that they’ve got Roe v. Wade overturned, they’re They’re going after medical, uh, chemical abortion, and they’re coming after birth control. They want to force people to have babies. That’s their conservative viewpoint, and it’s wrong. This is Doug, the host of Secular Left, letting you know that I also get tired of hearing myself talk all the time.

[41:20] Would you like to be a guest on the show, or know someone who you think would make a good guest? Then let us know on our website, slash guest. So the other day I was looking at my feed in Facebook and I follow some different people, including some different politicians, including even some Republican politicians, local Republican politicians. And there was this state senator, Theresa Gavirone, she is in District 2. Her home city is Bowling Green in Wood County.

[42:03] And she had posted on her Facebook page several photographs of her at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday in Rossford. Rossford is a suburb of Toledo, it’s just across the river. And they had built a $17.5 million multipurpose building in the district, and they were showing it off. Ribbon cutting and giving tours of the facility. It includes space to practice baseball and softball, indoors, a golf simulator. They’re going to have some STEM classrooms. They’re looking to purchase some drone racing equipment, things like that. And this is a new thing. These multi-purpose buildings are kind of a new thing for school districts to build, to be competitive, to get people to come to their school since, you know, Ohio is a, has open enrollment. And so it’s one of the selling points, they built a multi-purpose building like that in Liberty Benton District, near my hometown of Finlay and I believe Port Clinton also has one. So.

[43:21] Friday was the ribbon-cutting for the one in Rossford and I have a problem with Senator Theresa Gavirone being at that ribbon-cutting. I know if I was in charge of the Rossford School District, I would not be inviting her to the ribbon-cutting. And the reason why I would not invite her is because she does not support public schools in the Statehouse. In fact, she supported, and still supports, universal vouchers, which would divert a billion dollars, by some estimates, a billion dollars from public school districts to private schools, and she supports that. She supports cutting taxes and taking money away from public schools. She supports the Republicans’ effort to control what is taught at the schools. And there she is, smiling, and she put in her post, she says, you know, hey, it’s great, I was at the groundbreaking, I’m at the ribbon-cutting of this wonderful facility, and there were several pictures of her inside the facility.

[44:37] And I know if I was the superintendent of Rossford Schools, I would not be inviting her. And I think people that have children in that district, the voters in that district, should also be concerned that somebody who does not support adequately funding public schools would be able to get a photo op like that. Because that’s what she’s going to show in her campaign literature when she’s running again is that she supports the schools and she does not.

[45:05] You know, and I think that for any voter in any public school district, you should always check to see how your local elected officials, if they support your public schools through their votes, and through their actions and through their speeches, whether or not they support your local school. And if they don’t, don’t invite them to these photo ops. Don’t, you know, Don’t have them tour your school or things like that, because they’re not going to support you, and they’re not going to vote for you. And so I just thought that that was just kind of a, kick in the pants. If I lived in the Rossford School District and if I had kids.

[45:52] I would say, I’d be like, well, I would be there and I’d be like booing her. I’d be like, Senator Teresa Gavirone. I’d be like boo! And they also had Gambari, the Republican from Perrysburg, was there too. And he doesn’t support public schools either. You know, it’s like why don’t you have elected officials show up who support public schools and not have people like Gavirone who does not? Thank you for listening to this episode. You can check out more information, including links to sources used in our show notes, on, our website at Secular Left is hosted, written and produced by Doug Berger and he is solely responsible for the content. Send us your comments either using the contact form on the website or by sending us a note, at comments at Our theme music is dank and nasty, composed using Amplify Studio.

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