|BG mayor rebuffs threat, forms charter coalition|
|Written by HAROLD BROWN/Sentinel City Editor|
|Wednesday, 09 October 2013 11:20|
Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards said Wednesday morning he will not retract information about potential utility rate increases and other possible economic effects the city has offered in response to a proposed charter amendment on the Nov. 5 ballot.
“We are dealing in absolute facts,” Edwards said. “I do not intend to offer any retraction.”
His comments were in response to a statement by Lisa Kochheiser, on behalf of Protect BG, requesting that the city retract the statements by 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“If not, we will look into filling a formal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission,” she said.
The exchange occurred about 30 minutes into a press conference at the Wood County Senior Center that Edwards called Tuesday to announce the formation of a Bowling Green Coalition for Preserving the City Charter.
Edwards said one reason for the coalition is to protect the city charter from an amendment that “has nothing to do with the structure and processes of city government.”
The mayor detailed the city’s long history of developing and utilizing sustainable sources of electricity.
“We are a city that has long been promoting environmentally sound practices and policies and in becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. By 2015, Bowling Green, as a result in its investments in renewable energy sources, will be 37 percent renewable with an added 3 percent gained through energy efficiencies,” Edwards said.
He also emphasized the history of the city charter, pointing out that city council has enacted an ordinance criminalizing hydraulic fracturing in the city.
The mayor said the amendment is “vague and misleading,” uses language “couched and even disguised in lofty and well-intentioned terms,” and that it could cause irreparable harm to the city and customers of its public utilities. The amendment, Edwards said, is “potentially a job killer” for the city’s economic development efforts.
A letter addressed to Edwards from Protect BG said in part: “We believe you are promoting a campaign of distortions, false representations and industry-influenced assaults on the proposed charter amendment proposal. We hereby demand that you retract all references you and your campaign organizations have made respecting unconscionable rate increases for water, electricity and gas service in Bowling Green when the charter proposal is passed by citizens.”
The letter goes on to state the group is sticking to the facts “while you and your corporate front groups make unfounded threats. You know when the charter amendment passes, it won’t change anything about how water is purified and electricity is delivered to Bowling Green customers. You know that Bowling Green will still be able to charge for water service, that construction will not be prohibited because of noise, that city personnel will still be able to retrieve information for billing, and that electrical and water rates won’t change at all because of it.”
Proponents of the charter amendment also took issue with a brochure they found on the Bowling Green Community Development website titled “Facts concerning the proposed: Amendment to the Bowling Green City Charter.”
Charter proponent Jennifer Karches asked why copies of the brochure were in the City Building.
Edwards said the brochure is not sanctioned by the city and is among many other information items found in the same area.
Sue Clark, executive director of the BG Community Development Foundation said the cost of the brochure “is not from public funds, period.” The document is paid for by the BGCDF PAC, 121 E. Wooster St., Andy Newlove, treasurer. She said all funding for the political action committee comes from private sources.
Members of the coalition, many of whom attended this morning’s announcement, are:
Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce: Bruce Stevens, president; Ann Stott, past president; Earlene Kilpatrick, executive director; and members Michelle Evans, Jared Friar, Ryan Holley, Sandy Milligan and Ben Otley. The chamber went on record at its Sept. 6 meeting as opposed to the charter amendment.
Bowling Green Community Development Foundation: Paul Rankin, president; Sue Clark, executive director; Stan Korducki, Mike Marsh and Mike Rywalski, directors.
Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities: Bill Culbertson, chairperson; and Megan Newlove, vice chairperson. The five-member BPU adopted a resolution opposing the charter amendment at its Sept. 23 meeting.
Downtown Bowling Green: Floyd Craft and Dick Newlove.
Citizens: Roger Anderson, former member of city council; Galen Ash, former BG police chief; Mike Aspacher, member of city council; Al Caperna, Century Marketing Corp., community volunteer; Judy Ennis and Jim Gordon, community volunteers; Gary Hess, former member of city council; Mark Hollenbaugh, former member of city council; Ann McVey, superintendent of BG City Schools; Pat Ng, former member of city council; Jeff Nichols, teacher in BG City Schools; Colleen Smith, retired BG Municipal Administrator; and Stu Stearns, co-chairperson of the 2001 Bowling Green Charter Review Commission.
Quinn, Marsh, Newlove, Hess, Ng, Smith and Stearns are all former members of at least one BG Charter Review Commission.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:10|
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