Three in race for two BG city council at-large seats PDF Print E-mail
Written by By HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Sunday, 25 October 2009 21:34

Three candidates touting experience versus a fresh perspective are seeking two at-large seats on Bowling Green City Council.
The trio had a chance to share their views Sunday night during the League of Women Voters of Candidate Forum.
Republican Robert McOmber is seeking a second four-year term, while former Fourth Ward Republican representative William Herald and Democrat Joel Kuhlman round out the three-some. Democrat Larry Sorrells chose not to seek a second term.
All three became residents as students at Bowling Green State University and decided to make the community their home. (Related story: Seven candidates compete for four ward council seats)
McOmber sees himself as a consensus builder. He cited the controversial rental inspection/licensing proposal as an example. "I suggested alternative language that was agreed to by landlords, students and the neighborhood residents. I'm a veteran of council but not a politician," he said.
McOmber also noted he pushed for a lower (0.08 percent) tax increase proposal than sought by the administration. "I will vote yes because I feel it is well worth the services that will be retained."
Herald offered himself as "change with experience." Having been off council for several years, Herald said he has attended most of its meetings the past three years and is a member of the mayor's Ad Hoc Committee on the City Building.

He offered qualified support of the tax issue. "I wish I could give you a definite answer. I'm still wrestling with it. If there is restructuring that comes with it, great, but if it will be business as usual then I am opposed."
Kuhlman said he "offers a fresh perspective" and has lived in Bowling Green as a student and as a full-time resident. "I am the candidate for the future."
Kuhlman said he approves the budget cuts made by council but called for a more exhaustive review of what is essential and non-essential in the city operations. "Then the essential must be made more cost-effective. The long-term solution is how do we create more jobs?"
The candidates also fielded questions on the unlawful discrimination ordinances passed last summer, town-gown relations and what cuts they would make if the tax issue fails.
McOmber voted for the unlawful discrimination ordinances and Kuhlman said would have voted in favor. Both said they had issues with some of the wording. McOmber recalled that he said on the night of the vote that the issues probably should have gone directly to the ballot and predicted a referendum, which materialized. The issue is scheduled for the November 2010 ballot.
Herald said he would have voted for the fair housing ordinance but against the ordinance that expanded protected classes. He said the controversy evident over the issue should have convinced council to send the proposal back to committee for revision.
McOmber said he does not agree with the premise of the question regarding town-gown cooperation.
"There are a lot of shared activities, with athletic teams, student teachers, university presidents involved in community activities and Mayor John Quinn personally greeting every freshman at BGSU orientation.
Herald said the issue is one he recalls from previous terms. He noted council formed a Community Improvement Committee during one of those terms, with one of its focal points being ties with BGSU.
Kuhlman said there is a strong relationship but it is not appreciated by some on both sides. He noted animosity on the part of some residents and a don't care attitude on the part of some students. "I've lived on both sides of the tracks. I know both sides of the community."
McOmber said he supports the planned list of cuts with the exception of school crossing guards and the yard waste site closing, while Herald said a budget is a beginning and not an end, which requires constant monitoring by council. Kuhlman said he felt comfortable with the proposed cuts and added council has to be proactive in finding ways to save money.
Other sponsors of the event were the American Association of University Women, Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, BGSU Retirees Association and BGSU Undergraduate Student Government.

Seven candidates compete for four ward council seats

Click here to read the League of Women Voters Guide published in the Sentinel-Tribune

Candidates vie for school board seats in Bowling Green, Rossford

Photo caption: Judy Knox of the League of Women Voters goes over the ground rules for Sunday night's candidate forum. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Last Updated on Monday, 26 October 2009 11:05

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