Cover Story: The Outsiders

Two Dozen Challengers Compete For Attention On City Council Ballot

 
Barron



CityBeat asked two questions of each non-incumbent candidate for Cincinnati City Council: Why are you running for city council this year? What makes you a better candidate than anyone else who is running?

Some candidates answered in writing, others in interviews. The answers that were submitted in writing have been edited for punctuation and spelling — including the name of the city, which at least two candidates misspelled — but not for grammar. Some responses were edited for length.

The Rev. Bill Barron
www.revbillbarron.org

Why are you running?

"I'm running for city council for many reasons. If elected, I'd like to address working towards providing minorities with more job opportunities. I want to focus on working with the companies that work with the people of Cincinnati to make it a better city, rather than giving the big businesses millions of dollars for such things as parking lots. I'd like to steer Cincinnati's interest towards local companies that feed local families instead of the big corporations that I feel ruin our local economy to funnel our local dollars out of our city. I also want to improve the poor quality of our public schools, which in the long run can affect housing and jobs.

For the last two years it has been frustrating with them giving out corporate welfare and cutting human services. They even cut firemen's salaries. I want to change all that. As a pastor, I want to fight for human rights and ultimately want to do what is right for the people of Cincinnati."

What makes you better?

"I'm a Christian and my moral rights help to make me a better person for the job. I consider myself to be a moderate out of the two Christian extremes. We are just now bouncing back from the riots that took place in Cincinnati. I personally did not support these riots. I think we should have fought it in court rather than resorting to violence. I want to bring the people of Cincinnati together as one city and express great interest in working to address the people's needs."

Jeff Berding
www.jeffberding.com

Why are you running?

"I'm running for Cincinnati City Council because after 10 years of working to make Cincinnati better at United Way and to reform city government, I believe I can best serve our city on council. I want my three children to grow up in the same great city that I did. I believe that the current council is well intentioned. However, their broken politics in this dysfunctional system prevent them from working in the best interest of the people. I'm running because I want to help change the system and the political culture at City Hall, and I believe I have a unique background and skills to make it happen. The future of Cincinnati depends on voters demanding great change this year so a new mayor and council can stop the bickering and actually start solving problems."

What makes you better?

"I'm a good candidate because I have a track record of bringing people together, something that Cincinnati desperately needs. I have experience working with the Democrats, Republicans, the NAACP, AFL-CIO and other community groups as the author of the direct election of the mayor ballot initiative. I served on the Electoral Reform Commission studying how to make our city government more effective with community representatives from a broad range of groups. I led a successful reform effort with community leaders and government officials at the United Way. I am familiar with public policy, having served in senior roles for elected officials like former U.S. Sen. John Glenn and former Ohio Attorney General Anthony Celebrezze (and many others). I was honored by the United Way for my leadership in the community, which includes 10 years of experience as a volunteer with the United Way, chairing the Allocations Committee of the Vibrant Neighborhoods Council. In that role, I oversaw the allocation of $30 million to our neighborhoods. With a great education from St. Xavier High School, Miami University and an MBA with honors from Xavier University, I have the community background to provide breakthrough leadership as a new council member."

Eve Bolton
www.evebolton.com

Why are you running?

"I am running for city council for no less a reason than to help save our city from the contentious and short-sighted leadership that has led to Cincinnati's overall decline and alarming population flight. We know we are going to have a new mayor and new manager, but they are doomed if council itself does not change dramatically also. We need a council that exercises fiscal responsibility, moves our town toward reconciliation and establishes a visionary program of renewal for the Queen City. The voters must elect committed citizens to council. If we elect politicians that are bought and paid for, Cincinnati faces future of certain failure. However, a new citizen-centered council, partnering with the new mayor, can be the catalyst for change and create a future in which Cincinnati can lead again."

What makes you better?

"During my 30-some years of teaching, I have been fortunate enough to also serve as president of the College Hill Redevelopment Corp. and Wyoming Education Association. I have been elected to be a Mt. Healthy City Council member and Hamilton County Recorder. As a veteran public school teacher, president of a public employee union and having reorganized the recorder's office, I know how to revitalize the public sector in order to pursue and achieve excellence and intergovernmental cooperation. My candidacy is not bought and paid for by any group, special interest or individual. I can be a free agent and try to embody the energy and enthusiasm that can be found in Cincinnati's neighborhoods and nonprofits.

Additionally, the No. 1 reason people leave our city is schools. It is a disgrace that our city has one of the lowest graduation rates among African-American males in the United States. There should be someone on council that knows something about schools, literacy and children. We have enough lawyers and business folks. Council needs someone who will insist on a permanent liaison between City Hall and all of our school systems. Finally our new council must demonstrate a collaborative synergy built around teamwork. Both my professional and political records demonstrate a willingness to find common ground. More recently, fellow candidate Wendell Young and I have formed a partnership to create our Safety First Plan to fight crime. That plan is both daring and pragmatic. Those are two words that must characterize the vision that Cincinnati's new leadership must develop."

Chris Bortz
www.chrisbortz.com

Why are you running?

"I can no longer watch from the sidelines while city council consistently misses or squanders opportunities to help Cincinnati reach its potential. Instead of micromanaging and interfering with the delivery of basic city services, council should return to its traditional role as a policy-making body focusing on long-term strategies for safe neighborhoods, clean streets and economic growth. If council keeps this in perspective, they will be able to establish a focused agenda and make measurable strides towards improving the quality of life for all Cincinnatians."

What makes you better?

"I would not presume to suggest that I am better than the other 30 candidates. I believe that council members should be citizen-legislators who view council as a public service and not a springboard for the advancement of personal agendas, special interests or political careers. I believe I am one of several candidates in the field who exemplify this ideal. If a voter agrees, then I respectfully request one of their nine city council votes."

John Eby
www.johneby.com

Why are you running?

"In 2000, as I was nearing the end of my seventh year in engineering night school, my wife and I found ourselves at a crossroads. Our family of three was growing by one, and our oldest daughter was preparing to enter kindergarten. Like most young families that live in the city, we found ourselves at a watershed moment in our shared life. Do we stay in the neighborhood that we have called home for over 38 years? Do we abandon our urban roots and move to the suburbs? The city and the West Side were dramatically changing. Crime was skyrocketing, blighted apartment buildings owned by absentee landlords were taking over Harrison Avenue, family-owned businesses along our business corridor were closing and Cincinnati Public schools were in academic emergency. Despite all of this, something was holding us in Westwood. We struggled with our decision for over six months, but in the end we decided to stay. We decided to stay because we wanted our girls to grow up in a diverse and vibrant neighborhood. We believe that, with a little bit of help from City Hall and a few dedicated residents, that our neighborhood could be turned around. We made the right decision and we are happy that we chose to stay.

"My work in Westwood through WestCURC, Hands Across District 3 and the Ryan Commons Park Project demonstrates that I can organize and rally people to a common cause. Further, I can work collaboratively with several organizations that have different missions and unite them to work toward a common goal. I am not afraid to take a stand on issues. I have shown that I can research business and housing developmental models and adapt them for use in my community. I will bring to council a working class, family-oriented, common-sense perspective. For these reasons and many others, I feel I am qualified to represent the people of this city."

What makes you better?

"I don't like to think of myself as being better than anyone else, but I do think that I possess certain qualities that make me different from most of the other candidates. As a consulting engineer, my job demands that I work collaboratively with others or our client gets an inferior product. Working cooperatively with others, finding middle ground, researching solutions and respecting my fellow team members are the hallmarks of how I live my life personally and professionally. I can't always pick the team that I work with, but as a professional I give every project and every project team my best effort. And as a city, isn't this what we should expect from our city councilors? I certainly think so."

Leslie Ghiz
www.leslieghiz.com

Why are you running?

"I am running for council again because I am committed to this city and its progress, and I want to raise a family here. Over the past few years council has been an embarrassment to us all and has kept progress from happening. I am running to help build bridges and work as a team to move the city forward and to be able to tell my kids one day that I made a difference."

What makes you better?

"I am the former chief labor negotiator for the city, and I practice labor and employment law on a daily basis. I know how to build consensus and get to an agreement without letting any party feel like they have lost out. Putting Cincinnati first is what matters to me, not whose name is on an initiative or who gets the press. The most important thing to me is to see this city thrive: lower crime, generate business, increase home ownership and help our citizens. Personal agenda doesn't even enter the picture with me."

Bennie Green
No Web site

Why are you running?

"I am running for city council because I want to make a positive change in our neighborhoods and make the city a better place to live in. Our city needs a change, and I will provide hands-on leadership within our communities."

What makes you better?

"I am a better candidate because I believe that every community should have a voice at City Hall. I will get involved with the people of our city: I will be 'hands-on year 'round,' not just at election time. I have walked the streets of every neighborhood. I have lived in low-income neighborhoods and attended Cincinnati Public Schools. I was raised by a single parent. I know what it is to going to take to get the city of Cincinnati back on track. I have a workable plan to reduce crime in Cincinnati."

Samantha Herd
www.followtheherd.org

Why are you running?

"Cincinnati is a great community laced with diverse community traditions and proud historical legacies. But Cincinnati, like so many older cities, is losing jobs, businesses and people. We're losing them to the suburbs, to Northern Kentucky and to Indiana. Our city council needs to be a place where people work together to solve the serious problems confronting us. But right now it's a place known more for divisive debates and partisan politics than for getting things done for our citizens.

"I believe I have the experience, knowledge and passion to address these problems and to move Cincinnati forward in a way that unites us around common goals and a sense of community. I understand that job creation must be our first priority. Otherwise, we'll continue to lose families and jobs — a trend that has meant heftier tax burdens for citizens and large cuts to city services. I also understand we must work hard to improve our neighborhoods and make the riverfront a top entertainment destination. Meanwhile, I'll hold city government accountable by pushing for performance measurements for all departments and programs to cut waste and ensure savings."

What makes you better?

"First, I have the vision and ideas to make Cincinnati an even better place to live, work and raise a family. More jobs, smarter development and making government accountable will pull Cincinnati ahead of our neighboring communities.

"Second, I'm the only candidate who has fought hard for Cincinnati on both the local and state level. I'm proud of the numerous legislative initiatives I was able to research, promote and build consensus on: from helping bring a gun-tracing program to Cincinnati to fighting to protect funding for our communities and libraries. And I have solved countless problems for citizens in Cincinnati, from simply scheduling trash pick-up to more complex issues like helping our seniors work through the bureaucracy of our state's Medicaid system. You will find me, as a member of council, to be attentive to citizens and cooperative with my colleagues and others through government."

Gerry Kraus
www.gerrykrausforcitycouncil.org

Why are you running?

"I am running because I am passionate about Cincinnati and its urban character as a cultural mecca, a place where diversity can thrive and enhance the everyday lives of all of us. And I mean diversity in its widest sense — ethnic, geographical, economic, lifestyle. It pains me to see our wonderful city slipping into a state of crime and degradation where people do not want to live or work. As City Hall liaison for my neighborhood, I have observed the growing influence of special interests at City Hall that has resulted in actions by city council that have not always been in the best interest of the city or its citizens. I firmly believe that Cincinnati can regain its former glory and once again be rated the best governed city in America.

"I am running because I believe my long-term experience of civic involvement can help to make this turn-around a reality."

What makes you better?

"What I will bring to city council is 45 years of action-oriented civic involvement as an advocate for good government, for clean air and for the right of people in their neighborhoods to know — before the fact — about City Hall actions that will affect the quality of their lives. I will bring to council a thorough knowledge about zoning and land use issues; about housing issues, including enforcement of building and health codes (I was a member of the board of health from 1998-2004) that date back to the 1970s; about environmental issues (I was part of the team that brought curbside recycling to the city in 1989 and Title X, the Clean Air Act, in 1992). I will bring long-term experience of working successfully with diverse economic, ethnic and racial groups. Most of all, I will bring to council an historical perspective of where Cincinnati has been that spans more than half a century as a backdrop to new heights the city can reach."

The Rev. Damon Lynch III
www.damonlynch.com

Why are you running?

"I'm running because I'm committed to a city of change. I want to see Cincinnati become one of the premier cities in the nation. A premier city respects and values all of its citizens. It is a city that balances downtown development with neighborhood and people development. It is a city that addresses the issues of working families and does not cut services to the poor while at the same time giving aid to the rich. It is a city that opens the doors of opportunity to all, regardless of race, age, sex, disability or sexual orientation. It's a city where police treat all citizens with respect and the police are held in high esteem. It is a city that capitalizes on its assets, its 52 communities, its parks and recreation and its people. I'm running to bring voice, vision and policy to these needed changes."

What makes you better?

"There are 31 candidates running. All of us bring different strengths, passions and abilities. The voters will have to choose the nine they feel best represent their interest and the interest of the city. I have worked in the city for over 17 years fighting to effect change. I was the first lead organizer of UCAN (United Churches Active in Neighborhoods), which is now AMOS, an organization seeking to empower people to make decisions that impact their own lives. For the last 15 years I've pastored the New Prospect Baptist Church in Over-the-Rhine, working to empower people in the church and the community. I chaired the Urban Land Institute Study on Over-the-Rhine, culminating in the Over-the-Rhine Comprehensive Plan. I was a two-term president of the Cincinnati Black United Front, an organization fighting for social change in Cincinnati. The Black United Front served as class representatives to Cincinnati's historic Collaborative Agreement. I was a former chair of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission and co-chair of Bishop Herbert Thompson's Summit on Racism. I am committed to bridging the racial divide in our city. I was part of a group that put on the Lafricano Fest, a day of music, entertainment and education designed to build necessary unity and understanding between the Latino and African-American communities in Cincinnati. I live in the city, my youngest son attends high school in the city and I care about the city's future. I ask the voters for their vote on Nov. 8 to continue the work of building a just society."

William S. Mathews II
No Web site

Why are you running?

"As a resident of Cincinnati, I have watched the image and reputation of this city, which I love, spiral downward at an ever-increasing rate in almost any category imaginable. This is particularly true of the image of our local government (city council and mayor), which is looked upon with disdain by the citizens of this city and beyond. Rather than continue to observe from the sidelines, I decided to try to become involved in making a change for a positive future. I believe the city is poised to make many positive strides toward returning to the place of prominence it once occupied in the hearts and minds of her citizens and of people near and far beyond the city borders. I believe that my training as a lawyer and my life experiences combined with my common sense, maybe a bit of intelligence and a collaborative nature, have equipped me with the ability to work as part of a nine-member council team and with a strong mayor to work to resolve the many issues facing this city. Such a team approach is the first step toward restoring confidence in our city government and ultimately the image and reputation of this great city. I aspire only to work for the good of Cincinnati and all of her citizens."

What makes you better?

"I do not profess to be a better candidate than any other candidate. I profess to be a person with common sense who does not have any agenda other than to work hard for the citizens of this city. I am an individual who has the ability to stand by that in which I believe, but who is not so stubborn or smart that I can't learn from others or change my view. I can be a team player, which, in my mind, is the single most important quality that an individual who is part of a nine-member body (city council) can possess. I am running as an independent unendorsed by any political party. I am not soliciting or accepting campaign contributions, all of which allows me be truly independent and unencumbered."

Paul McGhee
www.paulmcghee.com

Why are you running?

"Put simply, I think I have experience and talents that our city needs in fostering productive and responsible leadership. I care about my city, and so I'm running because I think I can help."

What makes you better?

"On the one hand, questions like this invite candidates to share their experience: I have 30 years of military service, which taught me how to lead, listen and how to work together; I am a father of four, and I think such personal experience gives an important perspective when it comes to taking care of people; I am a small business owner, and I think it's time for this city to be operated as a business and not as a play thing.

"On the other hand, this question challenges us to think about our character: I am a great resource manager, and I know how to use any and all resources to solve problems. I believe that my service can benefit Cincinnati. How can I believe in my ability to solve something and then not step up and offer my service? I think there is a difference between politicians representing special interests to get elected versus candidates who really want to find creative ways to represent the entire city.

"Even if you don't vote for me, I will still be one of your representatives when elected. I take that fact personally. My leadership is about the people and about finding ways to represent our interests collectively in manners that move us forward without dividing. This city has all the things it needs in place to be a great city, and I think I am a candidate who can move us forward."

Ishaq Nadir
No Web site

Why are you running?

"It is something I have been reflecting on for several years. I do not think that the year has anything to do with it. It was an opportune time and made sense for me. I'm glad I chose to run at this time because it allowed me to see a part of my self and my city that I would not have seen had I not ran. Furthermore I believe I can bring a new paradigm of thought to the city. Someone who has a true concern for the citizens of this city. Someone who is not influenced by money or a party only influenced by truth, integrity and human excellence."

What makes you better?

"I believe that what makes one candidate better is all subjective. The city needs better public servants than candidates. We have enough individuals who are playing politics for politics' sake. However, I don't see enough real concern for the citizens of this city. So if there is something that would qualify me for being better, it would be my ability to put the citizens of this city first."

Michael Patton
www.michaelearlpatton.com

Why are you running?

"I decided to run because of all the problems piling up at City Hall. One in particular energized me, and that was the problem with police-community relations. We have the Collaborative Agreement, which the city ratified and then neglected. And I saw that that was not an isolated case. There is too much talking around problems and avoiding action. Everyone is for justice, fiscal prudence, safe neighborhoods and jobs, but what actions are you going to take to do these things? You may not always agree with me about an issue, but I will listen to you and you will know where I stand. And that is why I am one of the candidates who should get your vote."

What makes you better?

"Since only Cincinnati pays for the bus system, the city should take over the system from the county and operate it for the benefit of its residents. I pledge never to vote for eminent domain to force anyone out of a home or business in favor of a developer. I support the Collaborative Agreement, which provides for the community and the police working together through the CPOP program to reduce crime and which also provides for an independent board to investigate reports of abuse of force. I think taxes are too high, and Cincinnati can be more prudent with our money. Taxes are a major reason why people move away from Cincinnati and why businesses don't come here. Issue 9 caps the amount of property taxes paid to the city and then gradually lowers them. It does not affect the schools or other levies. Please vote for Patton and vote yes for Issue 9."

Victor Phillips
No Web site

Why are you running?

"I'm running for council because Cincinnati is in desperate need of a new voice, a new voice that will echo the voice of the citizens. In 2003 I wanted to run for council, but I let my age be a hindrance, but this year I'm convinced that this is my year to be the victor. I really decided to run when I was sitting through a public hearing session over the use of Tasers. Our current council members were not being attentive to the citizens, as if their opinion didn't count. At that time I was sadden, at the same time disappointed. From that day I made a decision that this is my year to run — not for myself but the people."

What makes you better?

"Passion makes me qualified for office. Many of times candidates are judged on their status in society — for example, economic, education and etc. I want voters to see my passion to move the city of Cincinnati forward. I have visited community councils and heard citizens' complaints, and I am ready to step up and be a true voice for the people of Cincinnati. In conclusion, I encourage Cincinnati to remember Victor Phillips on Nov. 8, because Victor Phillips will remember you, the people of Cincinnati."

Nick Spencer
www.spencer2005.com

Why are you running?

"I'm running for city council because I really believe in this city's almost limitless potential. During these campaigns, as a challenger, it's easy to focus on everything that's wrong with Cincinnati and just fixate on the negative. While I clearly see some big challenges ahead for our city, I decided to run because I saw so much positive potential for growth and success in our community. I feel we're not living up to that promise because we don't have the right kind of leadership for our city: leadership that's visionary and proactive in nature, leadership that knows how to bring people together and get people excited about Cincinnati again.

"On council, I hope to spend much of time focusing on the long-term issues that seem to just be ignored right now. I mostly see the current council running from one emergency to another, from a budget crisis to a police incident to a union negotiation. There's no question that's part of the job, but I rarely see council members working proactively to grow our city or prevent future problems. We have very little conversation in chambers about big-picture issues like job growth, talent retention, mass transit and sprawl. Those are the kinds of things I want to work on if elected."

What makes you better?

"There are a lot of great candidates out there from all three parties. I'm very excited about the chance we have in this election to put together a real team to move our city forward. So I'm not going to say I'm more qualified than anyone, because these are folks I want to partner with if elected. I will say that I have a proven record of leadership in the community that's worth noting. When the census showed Cincinnati was losing population at the second fastest rate in the nation, I founded Cincinnati Tomorrow, a nonprofit working to rebuild our population base by attracting young people and the creative class. After the riots and the boycott, when our small businesses were hurting, I organized the weekly After5 walks, bringing people out to support locally owned businesses in our downtown and our neighborhoods. So when folks start thinking about who to vote for on Nov. 8, I hope they'll elect people who have proven track records of involvement and leadership in our city."

Ronnie Stallworth
No Web site

Why are you running?

"I chose to run because it's time for citizens to have someone in office that really cares for them. It's time to get our name back. When I was a child I heard that Cincinnati was rated one of the best cities to work and live, and our city police department was called 'Cincinnati's Finest.' It's time to start working with our homeless, our citizens to start feeling like citizens, and kill the hate and racism in our city. The way our city has ran for the last four to eight years, we could adopt a new name, but it is time to show the people that we are the best city to work and live and we are still the finest."

What makes you better?

"I, Ronnie T. Stallworth, know that I'm the best candidate for city council because I am a young, 23-year-old independent in Cincinnati who grew up in the inner city and understand what this city needs. I'm willing to take the time to come out into the communities and talk to our young people about what is going on in our communities. Our young people need a council member who can relate to them. I'm willing to bring the best plans for cutting crime rate, policies on community relation, cutting the unemployment rate, protecting our budget and also participating in better and higher education for our city."

Cecil Thomas
www.cecilthomas.com

Why are you running?

"I'm running for council because frankly I'm sick and tired of the bickering and nothing getting done. As the CEO of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission and a former police officer, I knew exactly why the civil unrest occurred in April 2001. I knew also that Greater Cincinnati came together in the aftermath and through a lot of hard work solutions were found. However, I realized as time passed, those solutions became entangled in political maneuvering and the work of so many was quickly becoming 'just another study on the shelf.' I refused to allow that to happen as it has so many times before. I decided to run to get things done and to move Cincinnati forward. I am a man of direct action. I get results. I will not be a part of the problem but part of the solution."

What makes you better?

"No other candidate, incumbent or non-incumbent, understands Cincinnati better than I. No other candidate, incumbent or non-incumbent, can say they have spent the past 32 years working directly in the neighborhoods and streets of Cincinnati, resolving problems and implementing solutions. No other candidate has the wealth of knowledge and experience in police/community issues to see both sides with a very balanced perspective and to offer reasonable solutions. No other candidate understands the Collaborative Agreement better than I. No other candidate, incumbent or non-incumbent, has put out more fires of alleged racism and understands the issue in Cincinnati better than I. No other candidate understands better than I the wealth of diversity and multi-cultureless in Greater Cincinnati. No other candidate has lectured at universities on issues of leadership and human relations or traveled around the country helping other cities develop their human relations organization. I have also sat in committee with CEOs lending advice on major issues facing our city. What makes me different? I am a man of direct action and I have my AARP card."

Curtis Wells
No Web site

Why are you running?

"I am running for Cincinnati City Council because I intend to make a provocative and productive impact on public policy decision-making and legislative activity in the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to the fiscal and public services benefit of low-income African Americans, African Americans who live at or below the poverty line, unemployed African Americans and elderly African Americans, pursuant to an unwavering and hard-line, independent, non-partisan advocacy framework."

What makes you better?

"My public advocacy and institutional engagement record on behalf of the African-American community speaks for itself, and it has produced substantive results for all low-income taxpayers beyond the African-American community. I lobbied successfully for public disclosure of utilization analysis for minorities and women by Hamilton County Community Mental Health Board provider agencies. Furthermore, my independent non-partisan candidacy allows me to be held accountable to only the electors of Cincinnati, not special interest groups or elitist provocateurs."

Robert J. Wilking
www.robertwilking.com

Why are you running?

"I am running this year to use my vote on council to maintain basic services to neighborhoods, such as public safety, public health, parks and recreation, street cleaning, street repair and trash removal. My campaign theme is, 'Getting back to the basics,' and these are the basics. I want to use my vote to avoid such things as fire station brownouts, closed swimming pools and elimination of recycling."

What makes you better?

"I don't consider myself a 'better' candidate. All of us, both incumbents and challengers, bring different ideas, positions, personal experiences and backgrounds to the campaign. This is important for two reasons: I think there is too much 'us vs. them' attitude in politics today. My approach to someone who disagrees with me is that you may disagree but that does not necessarily mean that your position has no value or merit to it — we just disagree.

"Our election system in Cincinnati officially has all candidates listed on the ballot as independents, and thus council members often govern as a collection of independents. I believe that citizens (including myself) need to listen to and read about the candidates and their ideas, positions, etc. and focus more on electing a majority (at least five) who want to govern in the same direction and less on who is the most entertaining, has the most yard signs or has the neatest television commercials.

"I am not interested in being a better candidate, but one who is part of a voting majority that has a common goal of maintaining basic services to neighborhoods, as well as a common goal as to what is in the best interest of the city as a whole. I would appreciate one of your votes on Nov. 8. Thank you."

Eric Wilson
No Web site

Why are you running?

"I am running for Cincinnati City Council because I feel there is a need for progressive, compassionate leadership that is going to recognize and represent all the citizens of my hometown."

What makes you better?

"I am the only candidate who has experience working in politics on a national level, state level and local level. On a national level, I interviewed with the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., and was selected to go to my hometown to help pull out the vote for Al Gore. On a state level, I have worked at the Ohio House of Representatives, and on a local level I have run for city council twice; and I have helped candidates throughout Hamilton County get elected."

Robert Wilson
www.wilsonforcincy.com

Why are you running?

"I am running for council for two basic reasons. As a resident of Cincinnati, I have tried to do all the small things that I could to get this city back on its feet. When downtown was hurting I packed up my bags to move to my apartment on Plum Street. I also sold my car in order to prove to people that, in many cases, our public transportation isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Granted, there could be some improvement. I have also refused to spend my money outside of the city limits whenever possible, so that way my money spent is reinvested into my community.

"The other reason I am running is because this city has no planning department. I am currently working on a degree in urban studies with an emphasis on urban planning and urban geography. If feel that it is important that somewhere in our city's ranks there is a person who understands and values planning for our city and region. We have to have a comprehensive plan or our city will fail."

What makes you better?

"I have an experienced background. I currently serve in the Ohio Air National Guard. While serving, I have worked with people from different countries, with different religions, different backgrounds, different political ideologies, etc., and through this I have been able to build bridges with everyone and ensure that the mission will always be completed. I am also working towards a degree in basically cities. I have been studying issues as difficult as poverty and as simple as designing parking lots. I have a broad range of knowledge in urban issues and want to carry this forward to a seat on council."

Wendell Young
No Web site

Why are you running?

"I am running because I care about my city, Cincinnati, my home. I was born and raised here. I grew up in Avondale with my three younger sisters. I attended Cincinnati Public Schools and graduated from Hughes High School. My love for Cincinnati has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. My parents instilled within me pride for myself, my home, my neighborhood and my city. Things have changed in Cincinnati, and in my opinion not for the better.

"I am also running for our children. Like so many of today's Cincinnati children, I grew up poor. It was some very good and dedicated public school teachers who made me understand that I could rise above my economic status. They reinforced what my parents taught me and I learned to dream that I could be more than I was. I learned to believe that I could make my life better. I am saddened by the number of today's children who are without the support system I had. They don't see a future for themselves here. They don't have the connection to Cincinnati that I have. I want to work with our schools to give to today's children what was given to me. School must be more than the three Rs. I know the value of believing tomorrow can be better than today. I am running for the chance to give children back their dreams and to help them make those dreams come true.

"I am running because I can't just sit by and complain anymore. I, too, am tired of the lack of leadership and direction at City Hall. I am tired of my city council being the laughingstock of people in this area. I am tired of watching other communities moving forward while we are mired with bickering and petty politics. I am tired of some of our elected officials being more concerned about re-election and getting sound bites than they are about conducting the city's business. I am tired of a city government that ignores the many issues that divide Cincinnatians from each other and leave us with neighborhoods fighting each other for money and services, downtown vs. neighborhood issues, police/community relations issues, race relations issues, crime problems and more. Cincinnati deserves better than this decline we currently find ourselves falling into. I believe I can make a difference and I want the voters to give me the chance to do it. On Nov. 8 I want Cincinnatians to vote for Wendell Young and Eve Bolton."

What makes you better?

"I believe my long and excellent record of more than 40 years of paid public service to our country and our city qualify me to be elected to city council. My service to Cincinnati began at age 8. I was a Cub Scout and later a Boy Scout in a scouting program organized by my father and other concerned men of Avondale. Later I served our country as a member of the U.S. Air Force (four years). After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, I joined the Cincinnati Police Department and served Cincinnati for 25 years. I attained the rank of sergeant and retired in 1992. Then I became a city assistant director of personnel/equal employment opportunity Officer (seven years). I returned to the police department and was the assistant to the police academy commander (one year) until I was recruited to the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati (five years). During my service at MSD I was both the diversity manager and training institute director. This past May I ended my public service career in order to run for city council. I not only left a career I enjoyed; I also sacrificed a job that pays substantially more than I will earn as a member of city council.

"I am different from several other candidates. My work experiences make me uniquely qualified to address many of the issues that come before city council. Most candidates can only postulate about crime and police issues. I know these issues up close and personal. I have worked with and trained some of the people who are still on the front lines of that fight. I know how to help them, support them and, when needed, criticize them without making them feel unsupported.

"I am a Cincinnati resident and a homeowner. I understand the issues with neighborhoods. I have children in Cincinnati Public Schools. I understand the need for city council to work with our schools. I am a concerned citizen. I understand the need to support citizen initiatives and organizations. I support community councils, Citizens On Patrol and other citizen efforts that maintain and enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods and our city. I model what I preach. The primary barrier to getting things done in city government is the constant bickering in City Hall."



Editor's Note: Candidate Antonio Hodge did not respond to CityBeat's questionaire.

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