Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Commissioner candidates

Commissioner candidates seat 1

Candidate John Dowlin Pat DeWine Erich Streckfuss* Kabaka Oba
Political party Republican Republican Democrat Democrat
Age 74 35 20 46
Residence Sharonville Pleasant Ridge Westwood Lincoln Heights
Web site www.commissioner
Family Wife Sally; four grown children; nine grandchildren three sons single three children
Profession Retired Procter & Gamble executive (38 years) Attorney; Cincinnati councilman University of Cincinnati student Metro/SORTA operator
Education Bachelor's in chemistry from University of Pennsylvania Bachelor's degrees from Miami University; law degree from the University of Michigan   Associate's from University of Cincinnati; Taft High School graduate
Background Mayor of Sharonville for 28 years; president of the Hamilton County Municipal League for 20 years; county commissioner since 1991. Councilman since 1999    
What one quality do you think would make you a good commissioner? Have the integrity, honesty and professionalism necessary to lead Hamilton County. Quite simply, I make a good county commissioner because I've been a good county commissioner. Making tough decisions and taking county government in new directions has been the trademark of my tenure. Will work relentlessly to protect tax dollars. On City Council, I was able to save taxpayers millions by rooting out abuses in employee overtime, take-home cars and cell phones; implementing managed competition to force city agencies to compete with the private sector for the delivery of services; and fighting wasteful pet projects like the Empire Theater.   100 percent concerned about the good and equal use of the American tax dollars.
What do you see as the most important issue facing the county commissioners? We must create better paying jobs so college students and young families will no longer leave the area. We must work in partnership with the private sector to create good jobs, especially in the medical and high-tech fields, and make sound economic investments that will build the future economic base of Hamilton County. Getting control of wasteful spending and escalating property tax rates. County residents pay more in taxes per capita than any county in the region and any other major urban county in the state.   Safety and protecting the American tax dollars by not overspending.
Where do you stand on these issues: 
Putting all countywide levies on the same ballot Oppose. Bundling all levies on one ballot will increase the probability of many, if not all, failing. Support   Do not support
Holding levy increases to the rate of inflation Have supported holding expenses to below the rate of inflation during 12 years in office. Support   Support
Repealing the recent penny increase in the state sales tax Support Support   Support
Funding Every Child Succeeds Support We need to evaluate funding Every Child Succeeds in context of other budget priorities.   Support
Spending $5.5 million to expand and upgrade emergency sirens countywide Do not support. Believe we should insure stong emergency warning capability but haven't endorsed any particular plan.   Safety is most important.
Continuing the Community Compass effort to create a plan for Hamilton County's future Support Do not support additional funding.   There must be inclusion and diversity.
What would you do to attract and retain jobs, businesses and residents in Hamilton County? Support the selective use of tax incentives to encourage businesses to remain or relocate here. Highest priority is to develop The Banks, a new neighborhood of residences, offices, retails and hotels that will revitalize downtown. The tide of young families leaving the county can only be stemmed by working with local governments to provide safe streets and good schools. Limiting county property taxes, working with local governments and supporting law enforcement are all efforts I support that benefit families. We need to make Hamilton competitive by getting control of spending so we can stop the escalation of tax rates. We also must make the county an easier place to do business by eliminating unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy. We need a countywide economic development authority that is focused on attracting and retaining businesses; I support giving the Port Authority countywide jurisdiction.   Believe that jobs and businesses go where the people and are the people stay where there is safety and a clean environment, so safety is key.
* Erich Streckfuss did not return a candidate questionnaire



Commissioner candidates seat 2


Candidate Jim Sumner Chris Monzel Russell L.
Jackson Jr.
Sandra Faith Hall David Grossmann Todd Portune
Political party Republican Republican Republican Republican Republican Democrat
Age 47 35 60 45 75 45
Residence Blue Ash Winton Place Anderson Twp. Sycamore Twp. Springfield Twp. Westwood
Web site www.electJim
Family Wife Patty; two daughters Wife Jana; two children and a third on the way Wife Joyce; two grown children Husband Carl Thiem; one son Wife Margaret; two grown sons; nine grandchildren Wife Angie; a son and two daughters
Profession Environmental manager for GE Aircraft Engines Engineer at GE Aircraft Engines President of Anderson Township Trustees; former Peterbilt truck dealer Independent financial planner Retired Hamilton County juvenile court judge (1975-1998); CEO of Greg G. Wright & Sons Co.; managing member, Perry Street Real Estate Partners. County commissioner and attorney
Education Bachelor's from Florida Institute of Technology; Sycamore High
School graduate
Master's from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and the University of Cincinnati; bachelor's from Purdue University; Moeller High School graduate Withrow High School; University of Cincinnati; General Motors Institute Bachelor's from the University of Cincinnati Graduate of the University of Cincinnati, UC College of Law and Walnut Hills High School Law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, bachelor's degree from Oberlin College; Colerain High School graduate.
Background Blue Ash councilman and former mayor Former Cincinnati councilman. Chairman, Hamilton County Stormwater Oversight Committee; board member, Hamilton County Township Trustees and Clerks Association; president, Anderson Township Republican Club; former president, General Motors National Truck Dealer Council; and former chairman, President’s Dealer Advisory Council. Have owned business 13 years and been involved in community service for 20 years. Former president, National Council of Juvenile & Family Courts Judges; former president, Greenhills-Forest Park Board of Education; board member, Pregnancy Care Center, Citizens for Community Values, City Gospel Mission, CityCURE, Tri-State Adoption, and Youth Inc.; veteran, U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. Former Cincinnati councilman; National Association of Social Workers Person of the Year 2004; City Beat Person of the Year 2002; St. Marks Dreamkeeper Award; Oberlin College Athletic Hall of Fame; ACES Golden Angel Award; Kentucky Colonel and Duke of Hazard (Ky.)
What one quality do you think would make you a good commissioner? Experience. I have more than 25 years of successful government and business experience, including seven consecutive terms as a Blue Ash councilman and 15 years as a professional in one of the most respected companies in the world. Common-sense leadership. We need someone on the county commissioners to stand up and fight for our families and seniors, who are the backbone of our county. I have the experience and that common sense leadership to lead Hamilton County to a more prosperous tomorrow. A unique combination of successful leadership in both business and government that can help to bring balance, sanity and logic back to Hamilton County and restore confidence in our county government. Integrity Previous administrative experience in county government managing an agency with more than 600 employees; the maturity and discretion that comes with 23 years of judicial experience; and the ability to listen to all the facts before forming a decision. The life's experiences I have had, including my most recent health challenges, have reinforced my efforts to never give up for what I believe in, rededicating myself to do what is necessary and what is right for our county and country.
What do you see as the most important issue facing the county commissioners? Creating, attracting and retaining jobs. With the economy recovering, Hamilton County has the opportunity to become a center in a bio-tech economy under the right leadership. Crime has not only been rising in our city but it has been increasing in the suburbs as well. People need to feel safe where they live, work and let their children play or they will choose to follow the increasing trend of residents moving out of Hamilton County. Reducing the size of county government. Smaller government means more efficient government, which means better service, which should mean lower taxes. Just look at the way our urban townships are run without any dollars from payroll taxes. Hamilton County needs to return to its core purpose of providing basic services to its citizens. County government cannot be all things to all people. It is an ongoing issue of keeping spending and taxes down and making the county a place that people want to remain. That's going to take a coordinated effort with the cities, townships and villages in the county. Residents want fewer taxes and a safe place to live. High taxes and run-away spending are driving business and investment away from our state and region. Unless we take steps to rein in both, our economic future is threatened, as is the quality of life in Hamilton County. Responsibly charting and implementing the course for the future of our county. By doing so, we will have created a safe and welcoming environment that makes Hamilton County the place where people want to live, work and invest, thereby reversing trends of people and jobs leaving the county.
Where do you stand on these issues:
Putting all countywide levies on the same ballot Oppose Support It might not be the perfect solution, but it is better than what we currently have. Oppose I intend to propose other means of arresting the trend of incremental taxation that will be less drastic and yet succeed in reining in taxes. Oppose
Holding levy increases to the rate of inflation Support Support Holding all county spending of our hard-earned tax dollars at or below the rate of inflation is the beginning step. In theory it is a nice idea, but some levies pay for mandated costs that may rise faster than inflation. Support Support
Repealing the recent penny increase in the state sales tax Support Support Support It is a nice idea, but the money is already spent. The way to get it repealed is not to re-elect those that voted for the tax. Support Support
Funding Every Child Succeeds Support Oppose county funding, but I believe the program is important and should be funded by other sources. It must be evaluated. Support My experience as a juvenile court judge leads me to believe this is money well spent. Support
Spending $5.5 million to expand and upgrade emergency sirens countywide Support, but each local government should be required to bear a portion of the cost. Oppose this initiative but believe we should look at newer technology to alert citizens during emergencies. Considering advances in telecomm-
unications in the last several years it is questionable to invest $5.5 million in shoring up a warning system that reflects “state of the '60s” technology.
Oppose I do not believe this to be a county General Fund priority. Support
Continuing the Community Compass Program Limited support -- program has been costly and its value has not been realized. Oppose Support Oppose Oppose funding for planning consultants. Support
What would you do to attract and retain jobs, businesses and residents in Hamilton County? We have an opportunity to be a leader in the bio-tech and bio-science fields. With the presence of the University and Children’s Medical Centers, TechSolv and industry leaders like Procter and Gamble and Ethicon, the county is well placed to become a leader. We must streamline how companies conduct business with the county, and control taxes and other fees such as the Metropolitan Sewer District's excessive rate increase. Finally, we must support the programs of the Port Authority, the Chamber’s Partnership for Cincinnati and 3CDC, and foster cooperation between the communities. First we need to put a hold on taxes and spending, then we need a countywide business blitz, in which we go out and ask every business (big and small) what they need to remain and to grow in the county. We need to talk with businesses to make sure we are doing the right things to help their business develop and stay in Hamilton County. Forcing government workers to pay union dues, as the commissioners recently did, does not encourage job growth. We need to attract and build a feeder business base by using incentives to encourage local business and industry clusters countywide. We need to grow good jobs and, by all means, not let our 49 communities steal them from one other. Jobs are the lifeblood of this and any community. The real issue for individuals and businesses leaving the county has been crime (perceived or real). People want to feel safe and in many areas of the county they no longer do. We also need to stimulate business development through entrepreneurs instead of depending solely on major corporations for jobs and tax base. One way to do that is to cut through the red tape. Capital goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well treated. State and county tax policy is currently inhospitable to private investment -- commercial or personal. Both taxes and spending must be cut if we are to ever have any hope of improving the economic climate of our region. Responsibly reduce the property tax burden, including by repealing the personal property tax on business expansions and relocations. Develop a revolving fund to jump-start Third Frontier initiatives and partner with adjoining counties to create a "Golden Triangle" of opportunity in Southwest Ohio. Use the commissioners' $2 million economic development fund to support business startups as well as communities' efforts to revitalize their business districts. Implement the Eastern Corridor transportation plan and work to implement the Metro Moves plan without raising taxes.

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