The mayor of Hillsboro stated at the May 13 meeting that Hillsboro City Council owns – lock, stock and barrel – “You can’t fix stupid.”

He added: “You can’t fix stupid; and we’ve got some stupid people in this town, frankly, that (sic) are keeping this town from what it could be.”

Perhaps that explains in a nutshell, the mayor’s two-term tenure from Jan. 1, 2012 to the present.

“You can’t fix stupid.” (I think he may be hoping that he’s right.)

Thus, the city of Hills is where it is. Still, no taxpaying citizen deserves to be called “stupid” by a mayor whose salary is paid by the taxpayers. In the private sector, try calling your boss “stupid” and see where it gets you.

What passes for the Republican mayor of Hillsboro who calls citizens “stupid,” is very similar to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment a few years ago. The GOP must be so proud.

Stupid. Deplorable. Whatever. You work for us. You are paid by us. And the only thing you need to say to us is “thank you.”

While fixing “stupid” may or may not be possible, in the past 10 years – as has been documented through public records – a sheriff’s office can investigate “stupid,” and “stupid” can be indicted on multiple felony charges.

A friend of “stupid” also can be indicted. And sent to prison.

“Stupid” is defined as “lacking intelligence or common sense,” and “dazed and unable to think clearly.”

I am convinced that both apply – in some degree – in the office of the Hillsboro mayor – more so the latter, “dazed and unable to think clearly.”

Consider the capacity crowd at a December 2015 city council meeting after the mayor posted on social media: (reprinted verbatim; the mayor owns the numerous typos):

• “When are people going to figure out that we are in a Revolution in this Country. Blacks have all but formally declared war on whites, ideological types are fighting with Planned Parenthood, there’s violence over immigration, Muslim extremism, and our own Government at war with it’s citizens. This isn’t ‘lone wolf’ stuff. It isn’t a crazy with a gun. It isn’t ‘domestic terrorism,’ these are all skirmishes in a Revolution that’s here. Pick your side and pick your battles, We are about 3 steps away from All bets are off.”

Many citizens called for action after reading the mayor’s controversial post.

As we all know, city council took no serious action – nor did the mayor’s supporters on the Highland County Republican Party Central Committee. Maybe council and the GOP Cent Com share the mayor’s bizarre opinions. Call me stupid, but I can’t answer for council or the GOP. They own this, too.

Then, there were those “stupid” criminal charges against the mayor that included: election falsification, theft, theft in office and tampering with records.

With visiting Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove – who tossed out two of the four charges in the middle of the trial – presiding, a jury found the mayor not guilty. As at least one prosecutor has been known to say, “‘not guilty’ and ‘innocent’ aren’t the same thing.”

But seriously, how “stupid” can anyone be to think that a city Dumpster is available for one’s personal use? How “stupid” can anyone be to think it’s acceptable to take money via a forged signature?

You can’t fix stupid, indeed.

In August 2012, the resignation of Laura Curliss as the mayor’s deputy law director was at or near the start of many resignations and/or terminations in generally accepted important positions in Hillsboro government.

From memory, others to leave included: Fire Chief Jerry Powell; Safety and Service Director Richard Giroux (after being arrested on a charge of OVI by the Hillsboro Police Department); Police Chief Nick Thompson; Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin; Police Chief Todd Whited (who explained in great detail to city council why he resigned – council sat mute on that one, no surprise there); various interim police chiefs and an interim SSD; Police Chief Darrin Goudy (investigation possibly pending over time sheet issues); and on and on it goes.

You can’t fix stupid, indeed.

On the other hand, this little gem was pure genius: In 2012, the Paint Creek Joint EMS and Fire District board voted to place a substation for Liberty Township in the former Hillsboro city building and longtime fire station in uptown Hillsboro at High Street and Gov. Trimble Place. The building was owned by the mayor. No “stupid” there. Just revenue enhancement at taxpayers’ expense. Cha-ching. Your tax dollars at work for someone else’s personal gain.

Speaking of taxpayers’ expense, let’s not forget the September 2015 ruling by Judge Dale A. Crawford in which he stated the city had to re-employ a wrongfully terminated employee with back pay. How much was that, again? I could read it back to you if you can’t recall.

Somewhere along the line during this mayor’s tenure, I wrote that it is time to abolish Ohio’s public records laws, and the state can turn out the lights on the Sunshine Laws, too.

Let’s face it: We – as voters and taxpayers – do not need to know what our elected officeholders are up to. It’s none of our business. Really. Just trust them. They know best. We may be considered “stupid” by these elected officials, after all. A number of us are considered “stupid” by the mayor, by his own admission.

Let’s get the House speaker and the Senate president to introduce a bill to put an end to all of the state’s public records laws. Pronto and forthwith. Get the party on board. Grand and Old as it may – or may not – be. In fact, the GOP can accomplish this grand scheme without a single Democrat vote. Their gerrymandered majority is that tight. But let’s get at it; after all, the court says your gerrymandering days may be up soon.

The availability of public records is, of course, a relatively simple concept. Records are kept and maintained by public officials in order that members of the public may have access to said records. Most of the time – if we have honest and competent public officials – our public records are not too difficult to access.

The Highland County Press is still waiting on its request related to building inspections conducted on council members’ properties. The city hasn’t even had the damned courtesy to acknowledge the request.

These are simple requests and there’s absolutely no reason to withhold or delay the information. Or is there?

Surely, all public officeholders know more about the conflict of interest provisions in Ohio R.C. 102.03(D) and (E), than I do. Those provisions state:

• (D) No public official or employee shall use or authorize the use of the authority or influence of office or employment to secure anything of value or the promise or offer of anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person’s duties;

• (E) No public official or employee shall solicit or accept anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person’s duties;

• (F) No person shall promise or give to a public official or employee anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person’s duties.

Nice words. As pointless as they are.

Surely, no public official in Ohio would ever condemn a property, thus driving down its value prior to a sale, and then the same public official would purchase the property on the cheap. No way. What am I thinking? I must be stupid.

Surely, no public official with a paying tenant would sic a building inspector on said paying tenant after said paying tenant informed said public official of a plan to relocate, only to be informed that the new location was not to occupied by order of the building inspector.

Nah. That would never happen in these United States of America. Our Constitution wouldn’t permit it. Right?

You can’t fix stupid, indeed. 

Editor's note: On May 16, the mayor of Hillsboro clarified his comments from the May 13 Hillsboro City Council meeting during which he stated: “You can’t fix stupid; and we’ve got some stupid people in this town, frankly, that (sic) are keeping this town from what it could be.”

The mayor's May 16 written statement was: "When I said 'You can't fix stupid', (sic) I don't think the owner of this newspaper realized I was taking (sic) about him." 

While the mayor did state in a public city council meeting there are "some stupid people in this town," he apparently is backing off that assertion and reducing the number to one longtime Hillsboro taxpayer, business owner and property owner.

Perhaps in between his trumpette-like rants, the mayor can fulfill our public records request, which is eight days old – and counting. Lastly, thanks, mayor, for reading Highland County's only locally owned and operated newspaper. 

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County’s only locally owned and operated newspaper.