7 candidates seek 2 seats in crowded Washington Twp. trustees race

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 4:56 PM

Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
Associated Press
Voting stickers are seen at the Ohio Union during the U.S. presidential election at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan(Associated Press)

An open seat on the Washington Twp. Board of Trustees has created a crowded field for this November’s election.

Trustee Scott Paulson is running for re-election and six others have jumped in the race. Trustee Joyce Young is not running for re-election.

All of the candidates answered questions for our online voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com. Here’s a look at some of their responses:

Scott Colwell

Experience: I’ve been involved with local politics for over 10 years. From being a very active member of the Washington Township Forever, to spearheading sensible rezoning.such as SocialROWCPR.com Professionally, I earn my living as a program manager, where managing cost and customer satisfaction are my priorities.

David A. Douglas

Experience: I retired from Washington Township after 30 years of service. During my career, I worked in the Road / Public Works Department; Planning & Zoning Office and was also a volunteer fire fighter. I also received the prestigious AICP Certified Planner designation from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Brian Feldmeyer

Experience: I have been a resident of Washington Twp. for 35 years. I have worked locally and owned a successful business for a number of those years and currently work with individuals and businesses as an independent insurance agent. I volunteered as a youth coach for 20 years. I served as the President of the Centerville Quarterback Club for two years. I currently serve on the board of the South Community YMCA. I understand the concerns and priorities of the residents.

Katie Levens

Experience: Miami Twp. Administrative Assistant 1996-2000: Prepared resolutions, agendas, board packets, correspondences and budgets for the Township Administrator and Board of Trustees. GDRTA Security & Facilities Supervisor 2000-2006: Managed $2.9-million budget, contract specialist for security and janitorial services, maintained contracts and relations with law enforcement and regional emergency management. Medway Technology, Inc: Vice President 2009-present; defense contractor.

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Sharon Lowry

Experience: Assistant Superintendent (Retired) of Great Oaks JVS. Responsibilities include: Operations, HR, Employee Benefits, Contracts w Vendors. Staff liaison to Board of Education Members; My husband and I are small business owners since 1981. Understand the needs and challenges of small business.

Katie Levens, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch

Experience: I’m not a politician. I’m simply fed up with our current Trustees choosing out-of-town developers over those in our community who want to ensure that Washington Township remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. And as a husband and father to four children who grew up here and attended Alter High School I believe we owe it to them to preserve our community. As Managing partner of a consulting firm, with experience as a CEO, CFO, I can solve the township budget issues

Scott R. Paulson

Experience: Washington Township Trustee - 8 Years Owner, Advanced Engineering Solutions, Inc. 21 Years

Education: BS Mechanical Engineering (UD) Master Business Administration (UD)

Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?

Scott Colwell: I believe the biggest problem in our community is managing the growth. I am in support of development, provided it does not damage the investments made by the citizens that currently call Washington Twp. and Centerville home. In 2004, the city of Centerville and Washington Twp. co funded “Create the Vision”. It was a 2 year study where over 800 suggestions were gathered from citizens, business owners, and area leaders. The outcome was a series of development recommendations for the city and township on areas such as land use, economic development, and Parks and recreation. I believe we need to be proactive, and revisit those recommendations.

Scott Paulson, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

David A. Douglas: The city of Centerville - Washington Twp. community is a tremendous place to live and work. The township has seen reduced income from state revenue sharing for several years. We need to find smarter and more creative ways to get the most out of the tax dollars that are spent. Organizationally we are also faced with imminent retirements of key positions. I recommend an organizational restructuring that includes replacing key positions with even more qualified personnel that is capable of getting the most out of the township’s expenditures. These positions would also work together to identify local, state and federal projects that the township can partner to help improve the quality of services and more importantly lower costs. For instance the township spends millions of dollars a year on infrastructure but the township has not had a licensed professional engineer PE / surveyor on staff for 12 years. The hiring of a PE could eliminate cost overruns, project delays and costly legal battles the township has experienced in recent years.

David Doulas, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Brian Feldmeyer: The biggest problem is trustees that do not listen to the community. Their failure to address the budget has put them in a place where they make poor decisions that hurt the residents of Washington Twp. Rather than looking for solutions and trying to do things more efficiently, they look for additional revenue with additional or increased taxes with no regard for the community. One of the primary sources of new tax revenue is outside investors. Unfortunately, many times they require zoning to be changed or disregarded for their projects and this harms Washington Twp. in many ways. I would first look to see if there were unnecessary expenses that could be eliminated or reduced. I would then look to see if there were more efficient ways of doing things, rather than continuing to do things the same way that they have been done for years. Once we outlined our options, I would make sure that what was chosen did not harm current residents.

Brian Feldmeyer, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Katie Levens: Our number one priority is to maintain our roads and bridges. Our township should continue to work with Montgomery County and the state of Ohio to aggressively secure funding where possible, but the bottom line is that we need to work within our current budget limitations and neighborhood streets currently scheduled for repair or resurfacing need to stay on schedule. We must maintain our infrastructure investment to avoid major rebuild/replacement costs in the future.

Matt Lynch, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Sharon Lowry: One of the biggest challenges facing the community is utilizing our tax dollars to meet the needs of the citizens. We need to fund the Fire department, Staff the Sheriff’s Office, recreation center, roads, maintenance, and other departments. Since the Township cannot ask for an income tax, we must utilize our dollars efficiently and effectively. We need to research and come up with innovative ways to maintain the essential services to our citizens. Collaboration with the city and county is necessary to analyze reduction of costs and efficient use of our limited funds.

Sharon Lowry, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)

Matt Lynch: Trustees who are completely out of touch with the community they were elected to serve. Follow the money - the township had $33,084,026 in reserves at the end of 2016. The current 5 year plan reduces reserves to $15,111,969 the end of 2021. This means the trustees approved a budget that spends almost $18 Million more than we all pay in taxes over the next five years. To make up of this breach of their fiduciary duty to you the taxpayer, they will do anything to raise money, including lowering zoning standards to allow developers to do anything they want as long as it generates new tax revenue. They raised taxes twice in 2 years. This week, they voted 3-0 to override the zoning commissions unanimous vote to allow the takeover of Hithergreen violating long-standing zoning regulations. When elected, I will put an immediate stop to zoning changes negatively impacting existing residents. I will reduce spending and find ways to lower local taxes through more efficient government.

Scott Colwell, candidate Washington twp. Trustees 2017(Staff Writer)
Scott R. Paulson: Washington Twp. is on a wonderful growth path. With sound leadership in this community, we have planned well for our future and have wonderful opportunities for growth. As the community expands, this growth must be managed and difficult decisions made as to how to facilitate growth in building, recreation and maintain existing infrastructure and programs. Sound leadership with an experienced track record of managing growth is critical to success. With sound business principles and a community minded approach to sustainable growth, I will continue to guide the growth of this community. I will, as I have in the past, challenged decisions, reduced expenditures and invest in worthwhile projects for our community. I believe that the best way to sustain success and deal with challenges is to have good honest debate and make decisions that benefit the most members of our community.

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Judge candidate fails to make ballot in Montgomery County and will fight to get in race

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 5:22 PM
Updated: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

Judge candidate fails to make ballot in Montgomery County
Judge candidate fails to make ballot in Montgomery County

One candidate for judge won’t make the May 8 primary ballot in Montgomery County after the board of elections on Tuesday certified nominating petitions submitted by candidates.

Democrat Alan D. Gabel of Dayton submitted nominating petitions with the wrong commencement date for the Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge-General Division position he sought, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the board.

Failing to put the correct date on the petition is considered a “fatal error” because each common pleas judge position has a specific start date and the correct one must be listed on nominating petitions signed by registered voters, Harsman said..

That means there will be no primary race for the remaining Democrat, Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Gerald Parker of Centerville, who will face Judge Erik R. Blaine, a Republican, in the November 6 General Election.

Gabel said on Friday that he will fight the decision, first by asking the local board to reconsider and then by appealing in court. He said it was clear which judgeship he was running for and that his petitions should have been accepted even though they had the wrong date.

All other candidates were certified except some seeking political party state central committee spots.

County voters will see contested primary races for U.S. Congress and the Ohio House.

RELATED: Who is running for Congress locally? Field is taking shape

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Contested primaries will also occur in the races for Montgomery County Commission, County Clerk of Courts and two other Common Pleas Court races.

Boards of election in Ohio must certify petitions for the May primary election by Feb. 19.

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Springboro to spend $200,000 on land for new park

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 11:04 AM

5.7 acres on NW corner Crosley Rd, Lytle-Five Points in Clearcreek Twp.

The Springboro City Council authorized the city manager to pay $190,000 for 5.8 acres of residential property on Lytle-Five Points Road and shift $200,000 in city funds to pay for the land.

The votes during Thursday’s council meeting came on two legislative items added to the agenda and approved on first readings.

Supporters say the new park would help serve residents in an area where most of the city’s growth has happened.

MORE: Springboro to unveil Veterans Memorial

The land is at 525 W. Lytle-Five Points Road, at the southwest corner of Lytle-Five Points and Crosley Road, in Clearcreek Twp.

City Manager Chris Pozzuto said the seller was Gary Gibson. Property tax records indicate the owners, Gibson and his wife, live nearby on Crosley Road.

The land is valued at $76,270 by the Warren County Auditor’s Office. A home on the property has been removed and a sign indicated it was still up for sale on Friday.

During Thursday’s council work session before the formal meeting, Councilwoman Janie Ridd asked what would happen if the Clearcreek Twp. Board of Trustees decided not to collaborate with the city on the park.

“We have a lot of options,” Pozzuto said, including leaving the land as green space or reselling it.

MORE: Springboro development could spur $350 million in investment

Previous discussion of the land purchase was in executive session.

On Thursday, the council adjourned into another executive session before returning to approve the purchase during an open meeting.

“While the city has over 400 acres of park land / public open space, most of it lies in the west and southwest parts of the city. There aren’t any public parks in the northeast area of the city, where most of the residential growth has been over the past 10-15 years,” Pozzuto said in a email this morning.

Before the votes, Pozzuto indicated the land could be developed as a park or left as green space.

With Councilman Jim Chmiel absent, the vote on each item was 6-0.

“This will allow the city to develop a park close to many of the newer neighborhoods that have been developed recently. The hope is to create a passive park that would contain open space, picnic shelter(s), playground(s), a small paved walking trail, etc.,” Pozzuto added Friday.

The city’s North Park is 2.4 miles away, across Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro.

MORE: Developer withdraws plan for development of historic farm

The property sale price is $190,000, with $10,000 for a title search and other work done in anticipation of the sale, according to Pozzuto.

We were unable to reach Clearcreek Twp. officials about the proposed park.

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The new Hamilton fire chief has many to thank for his career, including his mother-in-law

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 12:47 PM


            New Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer was sworn in on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. MIKE RUTLEDGE / STAFF
New Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer was sworn in on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. MIKE RUTLEDGE / STAFF

Some people, when they’re sworn in to a new city government position, bring a few family members with them.

When new Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer was sworn in on Wednesday, he brought a few … and a few more.

They all gathered at the front of Hamilton City Council Chambers for the swearing-in ceremony. There was even one from New York, and Mercer’s mother-in-law, Treva Wyatt, who herself worked 31 years in the city’s tax department.

After the new chief was sworn in, Wyatt announced that she was the one who set him on the path of firefighting for Hamilton 29 years ago.

RELATED: New Hamilton fire chief promoted from within

“Because of me, he is a fireman,” she said. After he married her daughter, “I said, ‘Here’s your application.’ I got it when personnel brought it to me. ‘Fill this out.’”

“We’re lucky and happy to have you as our fire chief,” Mayor Pat Moeller told him. “He’s obviously a family guy.”

The graduate of Badin High School and the University of Cincinnati “knows a lot about technology,” Moeller said. “I think he’s going to advance our fire and (emergency services) in the technology area…. He’s also very responsive to my very stupid telephone questions.”

Mercer displayed his wit during the ceremony. When Moeller asked if any family members wanted to say something, Mercer quipped: “There are a few that probably we want to not.”

At least two kiddingly raised their hands, indicating they were ones who probably should not.

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NRA spent millions to keep Ohio Sen. Portman in office

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 2:48 PM

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)(J. Scott Applewhite)

During the 2016 election, the National Rifle Association and its donors gave Sen. Rob Portman’s campaign $9,900 — a drop in the bucket of the $25 million Portman raised and an argument against the notion that the gun rights group had “bought” the support of the state’s junior senator.

But three other numbers are also worth considering: $242,708; $1.55 million and $3.06 million.

RELATED: 5 Ohio school shootings that shocked local communities

The first represents the amount that the NRA spent on independent expenditures such as ads supporting Portman in 2016. The second represents the amount spent opposing Democrat Ted Strickland, who Portman defeated in 2016.

The third is what the organization has spent on Portman since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The oft–repeated refrain from gun control advocates after mass shootings is that gun rights groups used political donations in order to influence lawmakers to oppose gun control measures.

But it’s a little more complicated than that. Instead, say those who monitor the NRA and other gun rights groups, the goal is to make sure that the seats are never held by anyone who might support new restrictions in the first place.

Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, said “it’s mostly hyperbole that campaign contributions can directly buy votes in Congress.”

Instead, he said, the issue falls on strictly ideological grounds: Republicans rarely stray from the party’s stance of opposing new gun restrictions while Democrats — once far more divided on the issue – have dug in on the notion of additional restrictions.

“The debate is on clear party and ideological lines,” he said.

And while Democrats have become more vocal on the issue, it’s episodic. No one is shutting down the government over gun control.

“It’s not like it’s the number one issue in the Democratic Party,” he said.

» MUST-READ COVERAGE: Loaded guns showing up in younger hands at area schools

While money may not change hearts and minds, it does, however, help win seats. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, an organization that tracks money in politics, gun rights groups spent some $54 million in outside spending on the 2016 elections. Gun control groups, by contrast, spent about $3 million.

Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California Los Angeles and the author of the book “Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” said while “money helps,” it’s how that money is spent that matters.

“The NRA is strong today not simply because it doles out independent expenditures,” he said. “The NRA is strong today because voters listen to the NRA.”

He also dismisses the frequent notion that pro–gun rights lawmakers vote that way solely because of campaign contributions.

“If you think elected officials are for sale to the highest bidder, then Michael Bloomberg (who founded Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group) should just spend more than the NRA does on the exact same candidates,” he said. “I would assure you that all the Republican candidates who got a huge contribution from Michael Bloomberg are not going to change their positions on guns…the NRA’s power comes from the fact that they can swing voters on Election Day and politicians know that.”

While polls taken as late as November 2017 indicate that 94 percent of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers, for example, Winkler said, the gun rights advocates often have more power because they are more vocal.

“In a democracy, a mobilized and vocal minority can often win over a diffuse majority,” he said. “And that’s how it is on gun control. A lot of people support federal gun control laws but are not single issue pro-gun control voters, whereas people are often single-issue pro-gun voters.”

Asked about NRA contributions to her boss, Portman spokeswoman Emily Benavides said Portman supports Second Amendment rights but believes in strengthening the national background check system and working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

“Rob’s priority is doing what’s right for the people of the Ohio and that’s what guides his legislative decisions in Washington,” she said.

She called the most recent mass shooting at a Florida high school — which killed at least 17 — “an unspeakable tragedy.”

“Senator Portman and his wife, Jane, send their prayers to the victims, their families, and the entire school community,” she said.

 

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