The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News November 4, 2005

Council candidates night

Candidates’ Night for the upcoming elections of Oberlin city officials took place Tuesday, Nov. 1 at First Church. The proximity of the event to the Nov. 8 elections was crucial to the education of Oberlin residents about the candidates and issues to be voted on the following week.

The program featured two question-and-answer sessions: one for city council candidates and another for school board candidates. It began with a reception in which candidates and voters could meet and discuss issues on a personal level. Interspersed among the candidates were many interested townspeople, resident teachers and a handful of students.

One resident said she was in opposition to the Living Wage because it would hinder the upcoming Wal-Mart.

“[Wal-Mart] would not only provide jobs, especially those catering to senior citizens but it would also give back to the community,” the resident said. When asked how she thought the new Wal-Mart would affect downtown businesses, she said, “Oberlin residents are smart enough to support local businesses. Also, people who buy clothes from Bead Paradise won’t be the people buying clothes from Wal-Mart.”

Another resident said that the Living Wage “was a good idea, but it has to be for a bigger jurisdiction. Everybody ought to have a living wage but it is just not possible on this level.”

After the reception ended, the crowd flooded into the main room.

“This event is a nonpartisan meeting time for information and an opportunity to see and hear the various candidates,” said Michael Harris, the moderator.

An “issue presentation” section followed the reception. Each presenter was assigned one issue and given four minutes to discuss it to better educate their audience.

Dan Martin spoke for County Issue 6, a replacement levy for the Lorain County Metropolitan Park District. Pam Bradford urged for County Issue 7, a replacement of the levy for Children’s Services and the bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps. Robert Calhoun presented Oberlin Issue 28, a replacement for the Oberlin Public Library levy. Dennison Smith spoke for Oberlin Issues 47 and 48 concerning school board levies. Ken Kuttner discussed issue 55 in order to promote the Living Wage.

The next section allotted city council candidates three minutes in which to answer one of the following three questions: One) What is the most important responsibility of city council members? Two) What are ways that the city council can promote sustainable economic development? Three) Should council be elected for staggered four-year terms?

After each council member discussed his or her question, there was a fifteen minute opportunity for audience members to address their questions to the candidates.

This year there are seven positions open for council members and seven candidates. Since everyone that is running will be elected, the emphasis is no longer focused on being elected but rather on being elected Chair of the Board.

Traditionally, the city council candidate who receives the most votes becomes the Chair but this is not always the case because the council members are free to decide amongst themselves. The Chair selects the co-chair from the remaining council members.

The seven candidates are David Ashenhurst, Daniel Gardner, Tony Mealy Charles Peterson, Ronnie Rimbert, Eve Sandberg and Everett E. Tyree.

Following the city council candidates, the school board candidates responded to a similar question and answer session.

The School Board elections are considered far more competitive than the city council elections this year because out of the eight candidates running, only three will be selected. The eight school board candidates are John Hieronymus, Stephanie Jones, Katherine Ladina, Mary B. McKee, Kevin Michael, Beth Weiss, Robert Williams and Ian Yarber.


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