In the upcoming primary race for Mayor of Huber Heights, the most promising outcome would be a general election race between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Griggs.
I had the opportunity to talk one on one with each of the three candidates earlier in the year. Here are some of my considerations that lead to my desire to see Mr. Griggs and Mr. Wilson advance to November.
I had a nice hour long conversation with Mr. Gore while my daughter was taking a ballet lesson. I have also been monitoring his Facebook campaign. He has attended a few council meetings since he decided to run and we have run into each other a couple times.
I met Mr. Griggs at campaign events we attended this past Sept and Oct. He stepped up and took the place of a candidate for State Senate when the initial Democratic candidate decided not to run. I was impressed by his message and his resume. I first approached him to run for Mayor, prior to my decision not to run. I believe the three or four conversations we had prior to the filing deadline had a lot to do to convince him to run for Mayor but I know Glenn Otto and Richard Shaw also approached him, even going so far as helping circulate petitions. Mr Griggs also knows and communicates with Lu Dale so he should have some Democratic Club supporters.
Dave Wilson was the incumbent member of council when I ran for Ward 6 and ended up being the odd man out in the primary. But his commitment to the City was undaunted and he currently volunteers as a member of the City Planning Commission. Since declaring as a candidate he has been a fixture at council meetings and been very active publicizing his campaign online.
My initial assessment when I heard the slate of candidates was that your decision would come down to a choice between Mr. Gore and Mr. Griggs. Mr. Gore because he has always been local and on initial contact you get the impression he is familiar with the city. Mr. Griggs because of his professional experience. Mr. Griggs has owned a house here since 1995 but the cost of great experience often comes at the expense of moving around. I did not give Dave Wilson much of a chance.
Leading up to the debate last night, the things I’ve heard Dave Wilson talk about during the campaign impressed me enough to bring him into equality with Mr. Griggs as far as which one I would vote for if the election had been held the day before the debate.
Based on an objective evaluation, earlier I wrote that I thought residents would consider Mr. Gore one of the top two candidates For personal reasons, the night before the debate I told one of his school classmates I hope he ends up out of the race early.
Personally, I take offense to statements like this found on his campaign site:
“Integrity.....Integrity to me is character, honesty, and morals. To have integrity means that you are trustworthy, and the best way to become trustworthy is to show you can be trusted. Not a very difficult concept I know. When I say I want to restore integrity to the leadership of city government it means that I want to bring back a sense of "good faith". I believe there has been a lack of good faith in communicating between one another, and the tone of good faith is set by the individual in the center chair. When negotiating policy for the city, everyone involved must believe that those negotiations are being done honestly and for the good of the city, not personal agendas. I am not running against the current mayor, however there are obvious things that have been missing over the last few years, and it is my every intention to restore those things come January 1st 2018.”
I suspect after reading that statement some of you are saying to yourselves, “Tom, I understand why you wouldn’t vote for him but why should that statement influence my vote?”. That question makes perfectly good sense to me. I understand that most people really don’t care about insults directed at politicians. When it doesn’t affect me personally, I sluff it off as part of the process. On the other hand, the decision-making process that goes into making the comments shows a lot about the capabilities and character of the person who chooses to go down this path. Examining all that went into writing that post should cause you concern about Mr. Gore’s decision making abilities. We will look at those first. Later we examine Mr. Gore’s debate performance and it becomes obvious his election would prove disastrous to the city.
The reason that I am charitable to Mr. Gore and indicate that his statement should cause you concern but I do not immediately conclude the statement should disqualify Mr. Gore is because that statement is one that a lot of people might make if they weren’t paying close attention to our City’s political situation.
Those of you likely to be reading this article, probably recall that I was elected as an outsider. For the first two years in office I had overwhelming support despite numerous articles in the Dayton Daily News that were written with a tilt that when reviewed again today make me look bad. These articles did not have that same affect when they were written because the details of what really was going on was available first hand. Residents easily and correctly concluded the articles were inspired and controlled by politics.
Then came the Ward 5 resignation and appointment process. The process was at a stalemate because there were two factions on Council and each wanted different people appointed largely based on who they thought would fit into their click better. The process blew up when Council Member Lyons said his candidate would not get a fair shake because of sexism and racism.
To prove council was full of sexist and racists Mr. Lyons brought up an incident where I denied three female members of council an opportunity to go on a trip. The main problem with his sexist charge is that I received four travel requests on the day I implemented the policy that all travel requests will be discussed in public before I sign off on them. Mr. Lyons knew at that time he made the sexist accusation that it was the fourth travel request, from a male that wanted to go to a book club meeting to discuss Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy book, which caused me to implement the policy.
I had enough of the political maneuvering and posturing and reacted by issuing a dictate that both sides would either work together or neither of their candidates would be appointed. This surprised a lot of the people. It was obvious that one side thought that after Mr. Lyon’s public display of idiocy, it was a shoe in their candidate would be appointed. The disappointment in learning that they would not get their way, unless they showed they were willing to work with their colleagues, caused a lot of anger. I expected some of that anger to be directed toward me and it was. But I was willing to absorb that anger if it meant future cooperation.
My objective of finding which members of council would be willing to work “across the aisle” seemed to be met when both Mr. Campbell and Mr. Otto recommended Ms. Byrge. Hindsight shows that appointing Ms. Byrge was the worst decision I made on behalf of the City. Disappointing people that think you will always support their side proved to be my biggest political mistake. It may be because I am hard headed, but I still believe in the objective.
Notably, as far as I can tell, the “hard feelings” that make some people reflexively object to my inputs do not seem to be present in 5 of the council members. These “hard feelings” are more ingrained in some of the observers than the participants. When you examine the “need for Integrity” theme of Mr. Gore’s campaign, you see he comes to that conclusion from reading the Facebook posts of Click Clackers. There is no record of him trying to participate and contribute to any city issue prior to his decision to run for Mayor. Yet based on his close relationship to an internet troll, he concludes there is an integrity problem in this city and his superior character, honesty and morals will solve it.
Often political novices come to incorrect conclusions using partial or incorrect information. The reason you should be concern in Mr. Gore’s case is because his greatest attribute is supposed to be his knowledge of the city. Yet he does not know that the reason there appears to be infighting in council is because I champion getting all the details out to the public so that the public can contribute to the debate. I believe this input from the public gives us the best opportunity to come to the best decisions for our residents.
The day before the debate the concern was Mr. Gore promising to go behind closed doors and learn the issues so the public does not need to be involved. He promised his back-door conversations with individual members of council will prevent the kind of discussions that lead people to different conclusions and arguing their points in public. He thinks you long for the days before my election when all we got from council was spin.
I listened to the debate and realized it is much more likely that Mr. Wilson and Mr. Griggs will be the candidates in November.
Mr. Griggs obviously has limited knowledge of the historical political decisions made in the city --- but he was honest about it. No one can argue that his experience and history makes him stand out as an excellent opportunity for the city.
Mr. Wilson came prepared and shows he has the knowledge of city issues that can lead to logical conclusions and good decisions. He participated in the discussions that led to the public – private partnership between the city and the developer of Carriage Trials. He shows his willingness to contribute to the city whether it is in the form of elected official or board volunteer.
Despite my initial impression, Mr. Gore’s assertion he knows the city is nothing more than a sales pitch. It became apparent in this debate that he has no foundation. The private meetings and individual tutoring sessions he has chosen to pursue instead of joining the call for real information to be presented in public and documented for later reference, resulted in him promoting already discredited statements of his tutors.
For those that listen to the debate now, note;
· The Mayor does not vote often but in every piece of legislation the Mayor has the most powerful vote on council. Some candidates seem to understand this subtlety, one does not.
· There is reference to a high-pressure zone in some past water studies but there never has been a documented commitment to that plan. Just the opposite, specific actions and improvements indicate past rejections of going forward with a high-pressure zone. I am still looking for a proponent of new zone to address my real objection. When will we get any piece of evidence that this expenditure is needed for this whole area? Why doesn’t this plan address how to deal with the residents that will be negatively affected by water pressure high enough to lower the life expectancy of many appliances.
· No member of council has ever indicated a desire or advocated to violate the contract with the Carriage Trails developer. The contract is complicated. The revelation that the city was providing more than was required got some people, who think they benefit from the free money, riled up enough to create false rumors.
Watch the debate, read the candidate webposts, and look for their campaign events.