election

Daniel Gordon announces run for state representative

Submitted by DANIEL GORDON Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon has announced he is filing petitions this week to run for State Representative in Ohio House District 3, comprising Wood County. “Serving on City Council for the better part of a decade has given me a front row seat to see that decisions made by the state legislature have made our lives worse here in Wood County, and I refuse to sit by and watch that continue,” Gordon said. “We deserve better, and I’m going to offer all of us a real choice and a new path.” Gordon singled out the state legislature’s decision to cut millions of dollars from the Local Government Fund — which is vital to ensuring Ohio cities, towns, and villages have the money needed to maintain services — to close a state budget shortfall. Cuts to the fund have forced local communities in turn to cut needed services and raise fees or taxes to protect schools, fire, police, and social and mental health services. Despite state politicians’ promises that these cuts would make the state healthier, Ohio has consistently lagged behind other states in job creation and economic security, and risks another recession. And Gordon says he knows why. “The legislature has been fiscally irresponsible,” Gordon asserted. They can’t fix the roof by knocking out the foundation. They couldn’t pay off the money they lost spending on pet projects and rewarding their corporate friends, so they took our taxpayers’ money instead. And they have nothing to show for it. We got ripped off, and the worst part is they keep doing it. Not on my watch.” “I’m going to get our money back,” Gordon promised. Gordon sees the state government’s funding cuts as a pattern of assault on local communities. “These folks go to Columbus and preach about “small government,” but then go and pass bills to give themselves more power and restrict ours at the local level,” he said, referring to so-called “preemption bills”…


Consumer watchdog Cordray makes pitch for governor

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Richard Cordray has spent the last seven years as America’s consumer watchdog. The past year, he performed that job under the constant threat of being fired as head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by President Donald Trump. “The animus and hostility coming out of Washington, D.C.,” is palpable, Cordray said to the Wood County Democratic Committee in Bowling Green Thursday evening. “All the things we try to teach our children not to do, we are seeing the child in the White House do.” Cordray spoke to a packed house of local Democrats about his goal to take the Ohio governor’s seat this fall. “I have the background and track record to get results,” he told the crowd. Cordray has been working as the champion of U.S. citizens, protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. But that was also a job he had to fight to get. Recruited by Elizabeth Warren and appointed by President Barack Obama, Cordray was blocked by Senate Republicans for two years, before being confirmed. The consumer agency was the product of the Dodd-Frank law, intended to protect Americans from unfair practices by banks, lenders and other financial institutions. After Cordray left the post in November to run for Ohio governor, Trump appointed his budget director Mick Mulvaney to head the agency. Openly hostile to the office, Mulvaney requested a budget of zero dollars for the office this year. After speaking to his audience, Cordray said the attempts to dismantle the consumer watchdog agency are disappointing. “They are reversing direction on a lot of things I care about,” he said. However, he believes the bureau will outlast Republican opposition. “I do believe, 100 years from now, the agency will endure,” he said. “I think there’s too much need.” A federal appeals court this week upheld the constitutionality of the bureau’s structure, preserving the agency’s independence. The past year, Cordray said, has been “quite a saga.” Cordray has other…


BG school board defends decision to go back on ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was told Tuesday that the wounds from the last election haven’t healed. So rubbing salt in them by putting the same issue on the May ballot was not wise. Tuesday was intended to be a workshop for the school board to come up with levy strategies. Instead it turned into an opportunity for citizens to tell the board they need to listen to their voters. “The public just told you, ‘No,’” Richard Strow said. “Seriously. They looked you right in the eye and said, ‘No.’” “Show the public you aren’t tone deaf to them,” Strow said, suggesting the board slow down and look at other options. But the board and Superintendent Francis Scruci said they have to look in the eyes of students, who are still in crowded classrooms, still using modular units, still have inadequate heat and air conditioning, still lack technological advancements, and still don’t benefit from collaborative teaching. “We understand your frustration,” Scruci said to those in the audience who will be most affected by a property tax increase. But he defended the board’s decision. “We are convinced this is not only a good thing for kids, but it brings back benefits to the district. Their decision making is based on what is right for kids.” The board voted earlier this month to put a 5.7-mill levy on the May 8 ballot for bonds just under $72 million, spread over 37 years. The bonds would pay for construction of one consolidated elementary school, plus renovations and an expansion to the high school. Due to increased property valuations, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $199 annually, rather than the $210 last time it was on the ballot. “All of us are convinced there is a need,” new board member Norm Geer said. “This is the only way to do it. In order to build the buildings, we need to have…


BG Schools to return with building levy on May ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools will be asking voters in May to reconsider the same issue they rejected in November. The board voted 4 to 1 this morning to return to the ballot in May with a bond issue for 37 years for a consolidated elementary school, plus renovations and an addition to the high school. “The longer we wait, the costs go up,” board member Ginny Stewart said during the special meeting. “We continue to put good money into inferior buildings.” The only difference to appear on the ballot may be a reduction in the millage due to the growth in the assessed valuation. That may drop the millage from 6 mills in November to 5.7 mills in May. That in turn would reduce the amount it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home from $210 a year to $199 a year. Board President Jill Carr reminded the board that their decisions included exactly what issue will go on the ballot, when it will go before voters, and whether the issue should remain as one or be split into two. The lone vote against returning with the same ballot request came from board member Bill Clifford. He emphasized that he believes the consolidated elementary and the high school improvements are needed – but he thinks putting them on the ballot as two separate issues gives at least one a better chance of passing. “It is the best plan, that has not changed in my point of view,” Clifford said of the district’s overall building plan. However, he’s heard from voters who would like to see a reduction in the scope of the $72 million project. “I’m getting a lot of feedback,” Clifford said. “I hear about ‘bells and whistles.’ I hear ‘Taj Mahal.’” The board looked for ways to trim costs, but could not make cuts without hitting vital parts of the project, he said. “That was something we just could…


Voter purge policy on hold while high court deliberates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The purging of any names on Wood County voting rolls has been suspended as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the legitimacy of the Ohio policy. The Supreme Court last week heard arguments on the appeal of a lower court ruling that found the state policy violated a federal law aimed to make it easier for U.S. citizens to register to vote. The 1993 National Voter Registration Act bars states from striking registered voters “by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” Ohio is one of seven states, along with Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that erase infrequent voters from registration lists. Those opposing the purging called Ohio’s policy the most aggressive. Registered voters in Ohio who do not vote for four years are sent registration confirmation notices. If they do not respond and do not vote over the subsequent four years, their names are purged from the voting rolls. The Supreme Court’s ruling, expected by the end of June, could affect the ability to vote for thousands of people ahead of November’s congressional elections. The arguments in front of the Supreme Court focused on whether or not a state could send a registration confirmation notice based merely on a person’s failure to vote, which the plaintiffs argued is barred by federal law. Meanwhile, the Wood County Board of Elections is in limbo about updating voter rolls. “We didn’t do one last year because of the litigation,” said Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “We’re going to hold status quo until we’re given instructions. Whatever the new construction is, we’ll comply.” In 2015, more than 3,400 registered voters in Wood County were purged from the voting rolls – at the directive from the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. The state’s directive ordered county boards of election to wipe voters from the rolls if they had shown “no voter initiated activity” since the last two federal…


School board ponders whether, what, and when of new bond issue request

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back in November when the Bowling Green school bond issue went down in defeat, board members insisted that they would return with the same $72 million plan that would consolidate the district’s three elementary schools and extensively renovate and expand the high school. Early Monday morning, two months later, they met to discuss whether that was the best option. The workshop session was part post mortem of the election and part a free-wheeling discussion about what other options there may be to address the district’s building needs. In the end, the board seemed poised to return to the ballot, possibly as early as May, with the same plan. The board, which meets in regular session Tuesday, set another special meeting for Friday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 a.m. to further discuss the next step. It is possible a decision on whether and what to put on the ballot and when will be determined then. They must decide by Jan. 31 if the board is to put the issue on the May ballot. Board member William Clifford, who said on election night that the board would return with the same plan, asked Monday whether there was any way to trim the cost of the project. His fear, he said, was that coming back with the same amount would tell the voters they weren’t being listened to. “We weren’t asking for any more than we needed,” board member Ginny Stewart said. “We were so far behind we needed to catch up.” Norm Geer, who was elected to the board in November, said that those who voted against the levy weren’t “anti-education.” Many factors were at play, including the loss of neighborhood schools as well as the cost. “We have to convince people it’s money well spent,” he said. “It’s money that can save money in the future.” Superintendent Francis Scruci said that consolidating the elementary schools would save the district $100,000 a year in transportation costs, and…


County park district to make its case for renewal levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When voters see the Wood County Park District levy on the May 2018 ballot, park officials really hope the voters don’t confuse this levy with the park levy recently passed in Bowling Green. Many local citizens seem to confuse the county park district with the Bowling Green parks and recreation department. And that has the county park board a bit worried about its 1-mill renewal levy set to appear on the May 8 ballot. “There is a very big disconnect” between the two park programs, said Jamie Sands, volunteer services and communications specialist with the county park district. That could be particularly bad for the county park district if voters confuse the May levy with the city park and recreation levy passed in November. “People think they’ve already passed the levy for the parks,” Sands said Tuesday during the monthly meeting of the Wood County Park District Board. “We’re hoping to get the word out.” The county park board voted unanimously Tuesday to put a 1-mill levy on in May. Board President Denny Parish stressed that the renewal will be same millage sought when the park district last passed its levy in 2008. “Which means no new taxes,” Parish said. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. “It won’t cost individual homeowners more than they’ve been paying for the last 10 years.” After Tuesday’s meeting, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said the district is committed to not raising the tax burden on local residents. Over the last several years, the park district has focused funding on land acquisitions.  That focus is about to shift. “I think we’re looking at a maintenance phase,” Munger said. Future land acquisitions will rely on grants or other funding options, he said. “We will be looking for other sources of funding…


The bell may be tolling for Ohio’s bellwether status in presidential elections

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ohio has an enviable record of being on the winning side of Presidential elections. Since 1896, it has voted for the winner in every election, except when it voted for Republicans Thomas Dewey in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1960, both extremely close elections. Author Kyle Kondik said those bellwether days may well be over. Recently, Kondik, the editor of “Sabo’s Crystal Ball,” the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ newsletter, gave a local history award talk at Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus. He was being honored for his 2016 book “Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.” Kondik said he may have written the book just in time. The book covers the period from 1896 through 2012. And while Ohio went for Donald Trump by a comfortable margin, the election points to changes that have Ohio out of step with the national electorate. When looking at a state’s predictive power, he said, how closely the winner’s margin of victory in the popular vote in the state matches the national margin of victory must also be considered. Over the years, Ohio has reliably been within 5 percentage points of the national popular vote total.  In 2016 Trump won Ohio by 8 percentage points, 51.3 percent to 43.2 percent for Hillary Clinton. However nationally Trump trailed Clinton by 2 percentage points in the popular vote, 46.1 percent to 48.2 percent. This, along with the changing demographics of Ohio and the nation, may being signaling an end to the state’s bellwether status. Kondik said that the state’s electorate is less ethnically diverse that the nation as a whole, with 80 percent of its population white, compared 70 percent nationally. The state also has fewer college graduates than the national average.  Trump did extremely well with whites with no college degrees, a dominant bloc in the Ohio electorate. But, Kondik noted, just because these voters don’t have college degrees “doesn’t mean they’re necessarily poor.”…


Daniel Gordon : “It is my honor to continue serving you”

Dear 1st Ward residents and BG friends, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who supported me in my re-election as your City Councilman and won us our landslide victory on November 7th. It is my honor to continue serving you and working to improve our quality of life. I will not rest until I have done all I can to make sure everyone in Bowling Green feels safe and valued, lives in a strong and vibrant neighborhood, and is free to live their life as they choose. Whether you voted, knocked doors, made phone calls, donated time or money, wrote a letter to the editor, hosted a fundraiser, posted a yard sign, or told your neighbors to get to the polls – thank you. I could not have done it without you, and this victory is as much yours as mine. Again, thank you, and here’s to two more years. Daniel Gordon 1st Ward Councilman Bowling Green  


County voters support child, elder protective services

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters responded to the increasing numbers of child abuse and neglect in Wood County by passing the 1.3-mill renewal levy for Human Services on Tuesday. The Wood County Human Services levy passed with nearly 68 percent of the votes (19,126 to 9,151.) That wide margin of approval was welcome news to Sandi Carsey, administrator of Wood County Children’s Services. “I think that people understand that child protection and protection of the elderly is very important,” Carsey said. “Wood County has always been very supportive,” she added. Since the levy was last passed 10 years ago, Wood County has seen six deaths of children under 3 years old due to abuse. Five suffered from head trauma, and one was smothered. There are no plans to use the levy funding to add staff. A pressing need is to provide safe placements for children removed from their homes. “The number of kids in care has gone up drastically,” Carsey said. Wood County is on its way to setting a record for 2017, as the numbers of child abuse and neglect cases continue to grow. Since 1987, the Children’s Services and Adult Protective Services portions of the agency have relied on the 1.3 mills to support their work. The 10-year levy generates $3.7 million a year, and costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $36 a year. The funding provides for child abuse and neglect investigations and, if needed, placement of children in foster homes or other settings. The levy also supports elder services, such as home health aides, homemaker services and investigations of elder abuse and neglect. The needs of the protective services at both ends of the age spectrum continue to increase. Following are the statistics for 2016: 894 child abuse investigations. 260 elder abuse investigations. 212 of the child abuse investigations involved drugs. 142 of the investigations were child sexual abuse investigations. 59 children were placed in substitute care such as foster…


BG voters reject anti-pipeline charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Bowling Green residents distrust pipelines, but they also disliked the charter amendment intended to keep the lines off city land. The charter amendment, proposed by Bowling Green Climate Protectors, failed on Tuesday by a vote of 2,145 (39 percent) to 3,408 (61 percent). “I’m grateful to the voters of Bowling Green for protecting the integrity of the city charter,” Mayor Dick Edwards said as the results came in. The proposed Bowling Green charter amendment was intended to give the community rights to a healthy environment and livable climate. But while that was the intent, critics said the words went far beyond those reasonable rights. Despite defeat on Tuesday, the group behind the charter amendment is not daunted, said Brad Holmes, of the Climate Protectors organization. “We’re going to keep our options open,” Holmes said. And while the issue failed at the polls, it succeeded at making people more aware of the threats from pipelines, he said. “We raised awareness about the severity of these type of issues in Bowling Green,” Holmes said. “We hope to inspire other communities to do such initiatives.” The Bowling Green Climate Protectors, saw the charter amendment as a way for citizens to intervene if the city does not adequately protect its citizens from harm to their environment. The charter amendment would have given citizens a right to peaceably protest projects such as the Nexus pipeline that is planned near Bowling Green’s water treatment plant in Middleton Township. However, the language of the charter amendment seemed to doom the proposal. “It’s a far reaching, almost anarchy type of proposal,” City Attorney Mike Marsh said. “It allows citizens on their own to take actions they deem necessary to protect the environment. It’s up to anybody’s interpretation.” The charter amendment proponents claimed the proposal was Bowling Green’s one chance to protect the city’s water treatment plant from the Nexus natural gas pipeline running 700 feet from the reservoir for…


Nathan Eberly: Congratulations to winners & all those who campaigned

As a candidate for City Council At-Large, coming in fourth out of six, I wake this morning not with disappointment but rather with excitement. Earning 10% of the vote in a very competitive race is very telling. But this letter is not about me. I am writing this to congratulate all candidates that won seats on City Council last night. Congrats to Sandy Rowland and Greg Robinette for their wins for At-Large. Congratulation to Daniel Gordon, John Zanfrandino, Michael Asphacher, and William Herald for winning their respective Ward representative spots. I wish to congratulate also all those that dedicated the last year to their community as a candidate and look forward to seeing them continue their dedication in other ways. I love BG. There is so much potential for our town going forward and it will take us all as stakeholders in the town’s success to come together to fulfill that potential. Everyone needs to be represented and heard. It’s possible. Congratulations to everyone once again! And thank you to all those that voted for me to represent them, all those that volunteered, and all those hat donated. I’m thrilled to continue my early Wednesday in that same way I always have. With a bright look forward and seeking ways to have a positive impact on my community! Nathan Eberly Bowling Green


BG elects 6 City Council members from field of 13

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green voters elected six City Council members from a field of 13 on Tuesday. Despite the busy ballot, there will be no big changes on council. Four incumbents were returned to their seats. The other two winners had previously served on council years ago. The make-up of council will now be five Democrats and two Republicans. And still, only one seat is held by a woman. That woman, Sandy Rowland was the top vote getter in the race for at-large candidates. Following is a list of the vote tallies for the council candidates, with the winners in bold. The unofficial vote totals for the At-Large race are: Holly Cipriani (Democrat): 1,958 (21 percent) Nathan Eberly (Independent): 936 (10 percent) Beverly Elwazani (Green): 717 (7 percent) Carolyn Kawecka (Green): 265 (3 percent) Gregory Robinette (Republican): 2,680 (28 percent) Sandy Rowland (Democrat): 2,971 (31 percent) First Ward unofficial totals: Daniel Gordon (Democrat): 254 (76 percent) Hunter Sluss (Republican): 79 (24 percent) Second Ward unofficial totals: Kent Ramsey (Republican): 248 (32 percent) John Zanfardino (Democrat): 531 (68 percent) Third Ward unopposed race: Michael Aspacher (Democrat): 1,274 (100 percent) Fourth Ward unofficial totals: William Herald (Republican): 1,470 (52 percent) Scott Seeliger (Democrat): 1,358 (48 percent) At-large winner Rowland said she was honored to get the top voter support. “It’s all about Bowling Green and the people who support me,” she said. “For six years, I’ve listened to the people. They put me here and I am humbled and honored, and I have a big burden to serve them the next four years.” The other at-large winner, Robinette, previously served on City Council in 2011. He had to step down when he was deployed overseas. “It’s an honor and privilege to again serve the citizens of Bowling Green,” he said Tuesday night after the election results were counted. Robinette said as he campaigned across the community, he heard many positive statements about the city. “When I…


BG school levy fails; board ponders next attempt

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green school officials were disappointed but not dissuaded by Tuesday’s defeat of the 6-mill levy for school buildings. The levy was rejected by a vote of 3,471 (46 percent) to 4,021 (54 percent). “I feel bad for the kids. I feel bad for the staff. I feel bad for the community,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said as he stood surrounded by levy supporters as the election results came in. But Scruci and the school board don’t plan to waste much time moaning about the loss. They have some decisions to make. Do they go back on the ballot in May or November? Or do they try to patch up buildings with permanent improvement funds and add more modular classrooms? “We’re not going to stop doing what’s right for kids,” Scruci said. “We’re disappointed this is 20 months of work that came down to one day,” he said. The 6-mill levy, lasting 37 years, would have raised $72 million for buildings. The plan was to consolidate the three elementaries into one centralized building, and to renovate and add new sections to the high school. The levy failure was not due to lack of communication, since Scruci made nearly 100 presentations on the levy and building plans since September. However, in the last couple weeks, opposition to the levy came out with “a lot of misinformation” that didn’t help, he said. The superintendent had said that if the levy failed, the district would come back next year with the same proposal – since it is the best plan to meet the needs of the students. The school board members seemed to support that plan. “We will go back and see what we need to learn from this,” board member Jill Carr said. “I personally believe in what we put out there.” Board member Ginny Stewart said she was saddened for the students and teachers. “This is a blow to the community. This is a…


Election finals

The Bowling Green School district’s $72 million 37-year bond request failed at the polls Tuesday. The levy went down 3468 46.3 percent to 4019 53.7 percent. Sandy Rowland (D), 2970, 31.20 percent and Greg Robinette (R), 2677, 28.1 percent won at large council seats.  Holly Cipriani (D) 1956, 20.55 percent came in third. Trailing were  Independent Nathan Eberly, 934, and Green candidates Beverly Elwazani, 717,  and Carolyn S. Kawecka, 226. In ward races William Herald (R) ousted Democrat Scott Seeliger 1470-1358 in Ward 4. Two Democratic incumbents fended off Republican challenges. In Ward 1 Daniel Gordon won 253-79 over  Hunter Sluss. In Ward 2 John Zanfardino defeated Kent Ramsey 531-248.   The charter amendment prompted by anti-pipeline activists went down to defeat 2144 38.6 percent, to 3405, 61.4 percent. The county human services levy passed with 67.8 percent of the vote with about 10 percent of the precincts left to report.