Election Day is next Tuesday, November 3rd. Don’t forget to vote.
This year, I’m weighing in on the following issues: The statewide ballot Issues 1,2, and 3; Lorain County Issue 4; Cuyahoga County Issues 5 and 6.
Buckeye RINO’s local political coverage generally spans Lorain, Huron, Seneca, and Erie Counties. This year, I’m endorsing local candidates in the following cities: Amherst, Sandusky, Lorain, and Elyria.
- No on Issue 1.
- Yes on Issue 2–I have mixed feelings about this issue. This is about the living conditions of livestock. Some special interest groups (animal rights advocates, climate change activists, vegetarian and vegan crusaders), using tactics such as those outlined in Saul Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals,” are waging a campaign against animal-based agriculture. I’m not enthralled with the proposed solution offered by Issue 2, because it authorizes creation of yet another governing body (groan). I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I’ll take a chance on Issue 2, but my support is far from solid.
- NO on Issue 3. If you read Buckeye RINO at all, you know I’m very emphatic on this point. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO and NO. Got that?
- No on Lorain County Issue 4.
- No on Cuyahoga County Issue 5.
- Yes on Cuyahoga County Issue 6.
I’ve endorsed Phil Van Treuren for Amherst City Council at-Large. Four candidates are running for 3 at-Large seats. I’ve taken no position on any of the other contested races in Amherst this year.
Phil Van Treuren didn’t bring up this point, so let me do so: Phil has a lot of knowledge of what goes on in Amherst and throughout Lorain County. You don’t knock on all the doors of Amherst without getting an earful. Phil’s knocked on those doors. Phil started out in Lorain County as a journalist, covering the stories that pop up all over the county. He has an awareness of conditions and issues that supersedes that of his peers who are running for Amherst council. This has as much to do with why I endorse Phil as any other factor.
Three positions are open for Lorain school board. Above all else, vote for Jim Smith, even if you vote for just one. Williams and Sturgill are the others preferred by Buckeye RINO. Bivins is campaigning as a rubber-stamp of the superintendent, which is why I favor the other 3 candidates.
Unfortunately, not all races for Lorain City Council are contested. Lorain is a central city within a metropolitan area. Lorain’s proper role is not to be a sleepy bedroom community and retirement center. Lorain’s proper role is to be a mecca for industry and employment. Infrastructure is the skeleton to which economic muscles attach. Lorain’s infrastructure is 30 years overdue for an upgrade. Anthony Giardini, Democrat party boss, is the puppetmaster for many of the members on city council. The city’s government is fundamentally broken and entirely dysfunctional. I favor city council candidates who will present the greatest challenges to existing authority and the powers-that-be.
- For Lorain City Council at-Large, Buckeye RINO endorses Sean Kalin Stipe, who has correctly predicted that Lorain’s fiscal crash is being masked over until after Election Day. I have my hunches about who the “good old boys” are trying to protect by these maneuvers. There are 5 candidates running for 3 seats, which means it’s impossible to sweep out all the incumbents this time around. Buckeye RINO favors Stipe and Keith Jones, the two challengers. Of the incumbents, I’m willing to try one more term for Mitch Fallis, but I haven’t been impressed so far. Please show Given and Molnar the door.
- Melanie Szabo for First Ward. She’s the only current city council member that hasn’t been a disappointment.
- Joyce Early for Third Ward. If Tim Howard were running for Oberlin City Council and if Timothy Haupt were running for Amherst City Council, they might make a good fit for those respective cities, which are far more functional than Lorain. They don’t fit well for Lorain’s current situation, where the government is fundamentally broken. Joyce Early takes the more confrontational approach that is needed in these desperate times.
- Andy Winemiller for Fourth Ward. This is the GOP candidate I’m most excited about in Lorain. He clearly outshines Schuster.
- Greg Holcomb for Sixth Ward. Yes, he’s an incumbent, and yes, I’m disappointed so far, but his challenger is Bob Kerecz, who has served on council before. Kerecz would represent a step backward from where Lorain is now (if that’s possible).
- Kenneth Baughman for Seventh Ward. Silecky makes no important contribution to council.
Buckeye RINO endorses Gary Bennett for Elyria Municipal Court. Bennett has been a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent over the course of his lifetime. He’s held non-partisan office on the Elyria school board. He served as an interim county prosecutor. He pursues no partisan political agenda, and he’s remained apart from the political fray. He just tries to do the best job he conscientiously can based on the facts at his disposal. Grunda=partisan.
Unfortunately, not all city council races in Elyria are contested. Like Lorain, Elyria’s proper role as a central city within a metropolitan area is to be a hub for industry and employment. Additionally, as the county seat, it is a hub of government, as well. For the economic vitality of the surrounding region, Elyria is not to be a museum for nostalgic retirees who yearn for Elyria’s past glory days. The government hub is located downtown, in the heart of the community, which suffers from clogged coronary arteries. The existing transportation infrastructure supports growth only on Elyria’s periphery. Though LCCC is situated on the edge of Elyria, the local labor market is ill-equipped to absorb its graduates. Mayor Bill Grace is a visionary who has the wrong vision. Grace has Stepfordized Elyria, bringing death to Elyria’s inner soul in Grace’s pursuit of cosmetic conformity for the outer shell of Elyria that remains. Elyria City Council is in dire need of members who can see the big picture who can provide an alternate vision to compete with Grace. Council members must not be rooted in the past. The infrastructure must be upgraded with a vision of the future clearly in mind. Employee layoffs should begin with Grace’s own staff before ever proceeding to safety forces. Unemployment and poverty rates are spiking higher in Elyria right now, signaling that the financial crunch will just get bigger if the city continues along the path that Grace is leading it. With all that in mind, some of these council races are tough to decide, but I’m going to give it a shot.
- Ray Noble for Elyria Council at-Large. There are 9 candidates seeking 4 seats. Noble is the wisest of the whole bunch. Rae Lynn Brady, Christopher Best, and Diane Lesesky are the other three who are able to size up the picture quite well. Oust the 3 incumbents, Lotko, Stewart, and Callahan. The other Democrat, Siwierka, places too much faith in getting assistance from the state and federal governments. Sorry, but nobody from DC or Columbus will be coming to Elyria’s rescue. Quinn’s first reaction to the ensuing crisis is to look for more tax revenue. Sorry, you can’t get blood from a turnip.
- Forrest Bullocks for Elyria 2nd Ward. This is bad news for 2nd Ward. You aren’t well served by continuing to follow the city leadership that Bullocks supports, but Sandra Laubenthal hasn’t done enough homework to be prepared to challenge Bullocks, and would not hit the ground running if elected to council. I hope 2nd Ward fields stronger candidates the next time around.
- Garry Gibbs for Elyria 3rd Ward. Thank you to all the 3rd Ward voters who’ve supported Gibbs year after year. Gibbs is one of the few bright spots on Elyria council. If you vote for Noble, Brady, Best, and Lesesky for the at-Large seats, Gibbs will be a capable leader on council that can serve as an effective counterbalance to Mayor Grace. Koepp brings nothing to the table.
- Brandon Rutherford for Elyria 4th Ward. Among council incumbents, Mark Craig is my 2nd favorite, behind Gibbs. Craig has been a model for communication and transparency. If Craig were running for an at-Large seat, he probably would have picked up my endorsement. Rutherford, however, is the more visionary. There are several things I admire about Rutherford. Rutherford is resourceful. He makes lemonade out of lemons. When faced with a setback, he usually reacts with a swear word, but after a few moments, he’ll start brainstorming for a way to proceed. Elyria is going to get slammed with more financial bad news in the near future, but Rutherford is one who won’t be paralyzed into inaction. Read through Rutherford’s guest blog entry and see the stuff Rutherford can come up with that can improve a community for little to no $$$. Also, when brainstorming, Rutherford reaches out and picks at other people’s brains across the political spectrum. 4th Ward constituents are among those prone to turn back the clock to a simpler time and less hurried way of life. They want a cozy environment for their retirement years. Unfortunately, they are the ones who will be clobbered with the price tag for what they desire, because the working population will have departed for elsewhere, seeking job opportunities that are missing in Elyria. At a Rutherford fundraiser, I saw YOUNG people. These are the people Elyria needs to attract and retain WITH JOBS in order to prevent retirees from getting crushed under a heavy tax burden. What’s missing from the Craig platform is: the future.
- Marcus Madison for Elyria 5th Ward. Tom Aden seems like a very nice fellow. Aden was instrumental in getting West by the River neighborhood designated as a historical district. Great. Madison is talking about infrastructure upgrades, like replacing 4-inch water lines with 8-inch water lines. Good. Aden=past. Madison=future. I’m going with Madison.
- Dorothy Klimczak for Elyria 6th Ward. A no-brainer, she is far and away the better choice. Mitchell is running as a rubber-stamp for Bill Grace.
- Jerry McHugh for Elyria 7th Ward. This is a tough choice, but, unlike the tough choice for 2nd Ward, this is good news for the 7th Ward. Ed Sinegar would also be a good choice. Flip a coin over it. The best news is that the incumbent is not in this race. McHugh first caught my attention and raised my eyebrows during the primaries of 2007 at a candidate forum hosted by CHIP in Lorain. After watching the event, I sent an email, comparing notes, with someone who was also at the event. An excerpt of my email reads, “Can’t compare Jerry McHugh with no-show Burkholder, but I like the guy’s demeanor. I’d like to see him on Elyria council.” I guess that’s why I’m picking McHugh in this one, but whether you vote McHugh or whether you vote Sinegar, it’s bound to be an improvement over the previous occupant of the 7th Ward seat.
Like my endorsements? Don’t like my endorsements? Feel free to sound off in the comments, below. (Keep the language clean, though.) Don’t forget to vote.