Three in race for two BG city council at-large seats

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)