Kettering Council Splits On Endorsing Issues 28 / 29 -- Tea Party Members vs Majority

At their meeting on October 9, 2012, the Kettering City Council, by a vote of 5 to 2, approved a resolution recommending that Kettering citizens in this election reject two proposed changes to the city charter (Issues 28/29). The two members of the Council who identify with the Dayton Tea Party – Rob Scott and Ashley Webb — disagreed with the other five members of the counsel, and refused to support the resolution.

A Tea Party associated group, “Citizens For A Better Kettering,” are sponsors of the two proposed changes to the city charter. Issue 28, if approved, would limit the council members and the mayor to two consecutive terms of four years each. Issue 29 would reduce the pay of the mayor and council members by 50%.

Ashley Webb in his comments to the council, protested that, in his view, it is not appropriate for council to take a public stand on matters that directly impact council members. He explained that he is not in total agreement with the issues. He said that concerning these issues, he previously had remained neutral, but that now, he was forced to take a stand.

Webb said that “It is tough to beat an incumbent,” and suggested that, in some cases, council members use their salaries as a “war chest” to finance their re-election campaigns. He indicated that in a recent council contest, one candidate spent $11,500 — implying that this money had come from the salary this council member had saved from his or her salary. I have no idea who he was referring to.

Webb indicated improvements he would like to see in the proposed charter changes (Issue 28 and 29). Webb is now a candidate seeking election to the Montgomery County Commission and, no doubt, he is wondering how his stand on these two issues might impact his efforts to elected as County Commissioner. I wondered if Webb might abandon Scott and join the majority and approve the resolution. But, when the vote was taken, he and Scott both voted “No.” Scott, the founder of the Dayton Tea Party, and now the Chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party, made no comment.

Bruce Duke spoke for the majority and explained that in the late 1970’s, the City Charter was changed and term limits were imposed on the mayor, but, then, twenty years later, this change in the charter was reversed. He said term limits in Kettering have already been tried and that they didn’t work. He complained that the proposed charter revision (Issue 28), in his view, is poorly written and that, if approved, would likely result in individuals acquiring the office of mayor without sufficient experience. He named five previous Kettering mayors who, had the proposed changes been in effect, would have been disqualified from serving.

Concerning Issue 29, Duke said that, if approved, the salary for the Kettering mayor and Kettering counsel members, on a per capita basis, would move from the mid-range of salaries for city officials in the region to near the bottom.

Wow — In taping this, the distance separating me from the council members magnified the shakiness of my hand held camera. Next time, I’ll bring my tripod.

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18 comments to Kettering Council Splits On Endorsing Issues 28 / 29 — Tea Party Members vs Majority

  • Ashley Webb

    Mike,

    Actually, many of the “Citizens for a Better Kettering” members have not been happy with me because I did not support Issue 28 and 29 until this week’s meeting. I was content to sit on the sidelines and let voters decide the issue until Mr. Duke forced the issue by introducing his resolution. The bottom line is that there are many capable citizens in Kettering who have the ability to fulfill the duties of a Member of Council and there is merit to the idea of term limits. With regard to salary, the proposed amendment simply provides for a reset of pay, pay which can be changed by ordinance at any time by council if necessary. More importantly, the pay amendment also provides better transparency by requiring all future Council pay increases to be made in a stand alone ordinance that clearly states the amount of the increase. It also provides better accountability by ensuring Council Members do not raise their pay during their current term. These last two improvements were recognized by council and were the reason for our recent amendment of the City’s Personnel Ordinance to freeze Council Pay until they can be addressed.

    I have clearly stated my concerns from the beginning and because of those concerns I have attempted to stay neutral and let the voters decide these issues. I have two concerns with Issue 28. First, is my concern over the ability of the voters to choose a Mayor with more than 4 current and consecutive years of experience. Second, is my concern that a 4 year “waiting” period between terms is not practical for our situation where two thirds of the Council Members represent districts and are elected at a two year offset from the Mayor and At-Large Council members. To address the first I suggest we have separate term limits for council and the mayor set at 8 years each. To address the second I suggest the waiting period should be two years in order to allow Council members to complete 8 years, sit out two years and run for the other type of position should they choose (At-Large vs. Ward) or wait 4 years and run for the same position they held previously.

    With the exception of Mr. Scott, none of the other Council Members would consider offering alternative term-limit and pay amendments when I brought the subject earlier this year. Over the past month there has been significant political maneuvering by the Council Members that oppose these amendments. Regarding the Council pay freeze amendment to the Personnel Ordinance that I originally introduced (http://tinyurl.com/8docz2c), the Mayor subsequently modified it and introduced it as his own (http://tinyurl.com/8jbbr76). Someone has also initiated a PAC to oppose the amendments and has recruited volunteers to share talking points opposing the amendments. This activity leads me to believe that the rest of Council will not support any of the reforms embodied in the amendments unless the voters pass Issues 28 and 29. Given this disposition, my desire is to see Issues 28 and 29 passed by the voters. I would then push to convene a charter review committee to address the concerns that I outlined above. Without voter action, I do not think Council will act and no reforms will be implemented.

    With regard to the “war chest” comment, you can review finance reports online by visiting the Board of Elections website. You can find the report I referenced in my comments here: http://tinyurl.com/8ngoxkq.

    The one thing that I would like to reiterate from my comments at the end of the meeting Tuesday night is that we all need to remember that term limits and pay adjustments for Council do not affect the city staff that is actually serving our citizens on a daily basis. As Council Members we are policy makers and our only statutory requirements are to attend two Council meetings every month. I do not believe the quality of service from out City Employees will change at all if these Issues pass on November 6th.

    Given your experience running for School Board, I would also be interested to hear your thoughts on a comparison between our School Board members salary and that of City Council Members given that the School Board has a larger budget, serves more citizens, and has fewer members.

    I would be happy to discuss this further with you or any other residents that would like to know more about my views on these issues. I can be reached at mail@ashleywebb.com or 937-490-9322.

    Thanks,

    Ashley

  • Mark

    Mike, first of all, I want to say that I appreciate your website and the attention you give to Kettering issues. It was interesting to watch the video of the City Council comments on these two issues. This is my first reply to one of your posts.

    I also appreciate that Mr. Webb took the time to explain his position – in the meeting and then again in a reply to your website post. I wish more of our council members were more attentive to the voices/concerns of the citizens they represent.

    I agree with Mr. Webb. I think the two issues could be better written. However, they are issues that came from the citizens – I understand them to be grassroot initiatives and the intentions are in the right direction. Mr. Webb was also right that the council shouldn’t have taken an official position on issues that directly impact them – it’s a conflict of interest (like voting youself a raise with tax dollars). So, I believe it is better to pass them and then try to fix them than to just say they “have problems” (as Mr. Duke stated) and try to brush them aside with a council resolution. Don’t refuse something that’s good because it’s not perfect.

    Mr. Duke is my local councilman and is a big disappointment to me – has been for years. I get the impression that he doesn’t believe the simple citizens could possibly know better than the council members (this opinion is based on what he said in the video and discussions I’ve had with him in-person). In my opinion, he has been a council member for waaaaay too long and needs to go.

    As for the comparison of pay per capita – why does that make sense? Comparing different citys’ council members’ pay based on their populations is a lazy, over-simplified approach. That’s like comparing home values simply by the square footage of the homes. It ignores the scale of the tasks of one job vs. another. If a council member represents 10,000 or 30,000 citizens, is it three times harder? The only way that argument makes any sense is if the council member is required to contact each and every person he/she represents for every resolution vote.

    Frankly, I’d like to see their pay tied, in some fashion, to the welfare of their citizens. What do we want to incentivize via council pay? If it’s tied to population, then you encourage them to increase the population. Is that what we need in Kettering? What about tying it to the mean or medium income level of the citizens? Or tie it inversely to the city/local tax burden on the citizens – every time the (inflation-adjusted) tax burden (income & property taxes) goes up, their salary goes down. That would incentivize them to be more frugal with our tas dollars.

    Mr. Duke is upset that if the issue on council pay passes, then Kettering’s pay per capita will be “at the bottom of the list”. Maybe he’s looking at it upside-down. Wouldn’t it be something to be proud of – to have council pay at the lowest burden per citizen?

    As for the term limits, if a council member can’t make a difference in 8 years, then they really should go. With the apparent re-election of these council members over and over (and the occasional shuffling to take a turn at being Mayor), the council seems to contain a majority of these “club members” who then only seem to listen to their own echo chamber.

    I’d like to see both issues pass and then see the five council members who voted for this “vote no” resolution get voted out of their council positions at their next re-election opportunity. It’s time to break up the “club”.

  • Kurtis

    In other states our representatives receive a much lower `wage` for their service. For example, New Hampshire representatives are paid a mere $100 per year. I believe this is the way it should be. It is not a full time job, it does not require some highly specific skill-set, and it is a duty done for the community; not for one’s self.

    I have seen hundreds of these “Vote No for Issues 28 and 29″ signs around Kettering. After a quick search, I found this site. As a Libertarian-leaning individual, I am very happy to see this type of budget cutting effort made in Kettering. Every dollar counts. I will vote for better representation. Times are too hard and everybody needs to do their part; not just the tax paying citizens.

    Thank you Mr. Webb for making an effort to fix this town.

    Maybe next we can cut tax-payer spending on the Fraze Pavilion which our tax payers get no benefit from?

  • Mike Bock

    The group that is working to pass Issues 28 and 29 call themselves, “Citizens for a Better Kettering.” I’ve got to hand it to them. They’ve been putting a lot of effort into this.

    I like to think in terms of the ideal and, yes, there is an argument to be made that in an ideal world a city known for volunteerism would have a volunteer mayor and volunteer city council members. But, there is also an argument to be made that in an ideal world, the citizens would want to show their appreciation for the good work of their community leaders and would want to provide some token honorarium to its civic leaders.

    Kettering has been a city now for 57 years and has gained a reputation for excellence. It has had superior administration and Kettering citizens are proud to live here. I’ve not heard an argument why implementing Issue 29 would lead to a better Kettering. The payments allocated to Kettering mayors and council members, adjusted for inflation, have been pretty consistent, over time — very modest sums that, to me, seem more an expression of appreciation, honorariums, rather than salaries. This expression of appreciation, to me, is appropriate and a good use of my tax dollars. If anything, it seems to me, if we believe the power of gratitude has any positive affect, there is a stronger argument to be made that we might have a better Kettering if payments to the mayor and city council members were increased by 50%, rather than reduced by 50%.

    Ashley asks about my opinion about the low payments to school board members as compared to the higher payments to city council members: school board members are only paid per meeting. Interesting. I think, historically, in Kettering there has been much more competition for council elections, rather than school board elections. The evidence might support the notion that it would be good public policy to offer school board members a payment equivalent to council members.

    Issue 28 calls for term limits, and, again, I’ve not heard the argument that implementing term limits would lead to a better Kettering. I asked former mayor, Chuck Horn, if he thought term limits for the State Assembly had brought improvement to the Assembly and he said, “Probably not.” And though he supports Issue 28, he really couldn’t give any reason why term limits at a local level might work. I believe there is a strong reason to conclude that term limits are more likely to bring about deterioration in an elected body, rather than to make an improvement.

    So, I appreciate the fact that I live in a community where there is an active grassroots effort working to bring about community improvement. But, I simply can’t see that approving Issue 28 or Issue 29 can help, and in fact, it seems approving these issues is more likely to hurt our community.

    I’m inclined to agree that the council should not have voted on a resolution concerning Issue 28 and 29. As individuals, of course, it is appropriate for each council member to take a public stance, but, so far as taking an official position as a council, it doesn’t feel right to me.

    The central question that’s worthwhile to discuss is, “How do we make a better Kettering?”

    What can make a better community, I believe, is a vitalization of our democracy. David Matthews is the president of the Kettering Foundation and he makes the point in his book, Reclaiming Public Education by Reclaiming Our Democracy, that there is a direct link between the quality of a community’s public school system and the vitality of its democracy. The importance of a vital democracy is overlooked, but vitalizing our democracy is what would lead to big improvements in a community’s quality.

    We already have term limits — called elections, but elections are ineffectual in imposing needed term limits if the citizenry is uninformed or unengaged. In this last election, I voted against Bruce Duke and for Lisa Crosley, because, in the election, Mr. Duke refused to discuss any of Mrs. Crosley’s ideas. As citizens we should not tolerate such anti-democratic behavior. But Duke was reelected because not enough citizens had any knowledge that he was using such a selfish and anti-democratic election strategy. Such anti-democratic election strategy evidently happens frequently. When I ran for school board in 2009, the incumbent school board members refused to attend more than one public meeting and the second meeting, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, had to be cancelled. Again, this all happened without penalty for the incumbents — because so few in the public even knew of their refusal.

    So, I expect Issue 28 and 29 to be defeated. But I hope some good can come from this effort and that the “Citizens for a Better Kettering” might turn its attention to developing ideas that can gain public support.

  • Kurtis

    How do we make a better Kettering? I believe the answer to that question is simple: Democracy.

    Allow the “average Joe” to represent his/her fellow community. If we decrease the term length each representative is eligible to serve then we will avoid stagnancy in the system. If we lower, or even remove, the wages paid to our city representatives and leader then we will effectively filter out most individuals running for the purpose of financial gain.

    As I have never been mayor and have no clue on the day-to-day “doings” of that position, or the council member’s for that matter, please describe to the readers what it is they really do and how they justify their wages.

    You stated that this is not a salary but more of a showing of appreciation. In that case, why not “appreciate” our community service members through other means? For example, we could give them a tax credit of X dollars. However, I know several volunteer fire fighters who do a *whole* lot more than the council members or the mayor on a daily basis and receive relatively little “appreciation” for their lives they put on the line every day.

    In the case of pursuing a “Better Kettering”, I believe that is the ultimate goal of everyone who cares about the city. Unfortunately, “Better Kettering” is a matter of opinion. In my opinion, we need smaller government, less taxes and a strict upholding of individual rights. This is an area of which Kettering suffers greatly.

    There are many community services which I will admit I enjoy. For example, taking my boy to our wonderful parks. However, I believe that there are many items in our budget that could be cut or otherwise made more efficient while still delivering our public services. Lowering taxes through budget reduction and upholding individual rights through proper representation are a great way to keep our community happy and even draw in new businesses. Issues 28 and 29 are just the start to a series of great changes I can envision happening for our wonderful city.

    I’m glad to see they are on the ballot but I only wish those who are affected by the salary reduction weren’t loudly affecting voter’s opinion.

  • Charles P.Shanesy,III

    Mike,

    Concerning the issues 28 and 29, I really appreciate your comments on “How would Term limits on City Council Members benefit Kettering and its citizens? I to don’t understand this either! I still feel as mentioned in my comments after the City Council Meeting on October 8th, that “grass roots organizations” such as The Dayton Tea Party use these positions to further themselves along in their own political careers taking time away from the job at hand concerning issues with the people of Kettering.
    An example: Mr. Ashley Webb. Mr Webb has not even finished one term in office and is already working on his future political agenda , by running for County Commissioner against the incumbent Debbie Lieberman. Really ? Mr Webb ? I have seen “Ashley Webb” signs all over the City Of Kettering more than I care for. I am sure Mr. Webb is spending a tremendous amount of time on his campaign and thus taking considerable time and effort away from the position at hand of being a City Commissioner for the people of Kettering.
    I would say Mr.Webb is a prime example of what will happen immediately, if the term limits issue is passed. Kettering was founded on Progress in 1955 and this would be taking 3 steps or more backward for this community. We need vitalization not de vitalization for this community of Kettering to continue to grow and prosper. We need to vote “NO”
    Thanks Mike

  • Charles P.Shanesy,III

    Mike,

    Concerning the issues 28 and 29, I really appreciate your comments on “How would Term limits on City Council Members benefit Kettering and its citizens? I to don’t understand this either!
    An example: Mr. Ashley Webb. Mr Webb has not even finished one term in office and is already working on his future political agenda , by running for County Commissioner against the incumbent Debbie Lieberman. Really ? Mr Webb ? I have seen “Ashley Webb” signs all over the City Of Kettering more than I care for. I am sure Mr. Webb is spending a tremendous amount of time on his campaign and thus taking considerable time and effort away from the position at hand of being a City Commissioner for the people of Kettering.
    I would say Mr.Webb is a prime example of what will happen immediately, if the term limits issue is passed. Kettering was founded on Progress in 1955 and this would be taking 3 steps or more backward for this community. We need vitalization not de vitalization for this community of Kettering to continue to grow and prosper. We need to vote “NO”
    Thanks Mike

  • Charles P.Shanesy,III

    Mike,
    As for City Commissioner Mr. Ashley Webb,
    Mr. Ashley Webb has not even finished one term in office and is running for County Commissioner against the incumbent Debbie Lieberman. Really ? Mr Webb ? I have seen “Ashley Webb” signs all over the City Of Kettering more than I care for. I am sure Mr. Webb is spending a tremendous amount of time on his campaign and thus taking considerable time and effort away from the position at hand of being a City Commissioner for the people of Kettering.
    I would say Mr.Webb is a prime example of what will happen immediately, if the term limits issue is passed. Kettering was founded on Progress in 1955 and this would be taking 3 steps or more backward for this community. We need to continue to make progress for this community of Kettering.
    Thanks Mike

  • Kurtis

    Charles,

    I’d like to quote a few of your statements and then make some inquiries into your logic, if you don’t mind.

    “Mr. Ashley Webb has not even finished one term in office and is running for County Commissioner against the incumbent Debbie Lieberman. [...] I am sure Mr. Webb is spending a tremendous amount of time on his campaign and thus taking considerable time and effort away from the position at hand of being a City Commissioner for the people of Kettering. I would say Mr.Webb is a prime example of what will happen immediately, if the term limits issue is passed.”

    I do believe there is a cause and effect relationship between term limits and election-time distraction. If anything, I would imagine that an elected representative of the community would be less distracted during their final term. Please feel free to elaborate on your opinion or share some data instead of just presenting assumptions as facts.

    “Kettering was founded on Progress in 1955 and this would be taking 3 steps or more backward for this community.”

    I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say with this comment. Kettering was founded in 1955, you are correct according to what information I’ve found available on the web. Your keyword ‘progress’ seems to indicate that the city was founded on the idea of `moving forward` or founded on `advancement`, which may be the case since it is named after a famous Inventor. However, on your stance regarding take our community “3 steps or more backward” I am completely lost. Feel free to elaborate.

    “We need vitalization not de vitalization for this community of Kettering to continue to grow and prosper.”

    Perhaps I’m not an expert in the art of political-lingo but I’ll do my best to try to understand what you are saying here. According to a dictionary, the word vitalization means “to endow with life”. If that definition is correct in the context of your statement, I fully agree with you; Kettering needs to be endowed with life. However, currently Kettering stands as a boring, big-government, high-tax, building-block suburb turned city with very low tolerance to individual rights. That is not just my opinion; many others who have grown up in this community in the last 20 to 30 years will agree.

    Assuming that I properly understood that statement, please explain to us how Issues 28 and 29 will by any means deaden (the opposite of “vitalize”) our community. I do not have the records in front of me to see how long we’ve been without term limits and the current salary rates have been set; but I imagine that it’s been this way for quite some time. Perhaps it is time for some change?

    One last question for both of you. Why fight term limits and salary reductions? As a tax paying Kettering citizen who is not remotely connected to the political web in our area, I see no benefit for me to oppose Issues 28 and 29. This is the first time I’ve seen Kettering take a stance that actually represents me (a pretty average person) in a long time. It makes me believe you have something personal to lose. Are you getting some sort of special treatment by a long-elected representative or otherwise trying to protect a special interest?

  • Charles,

    The most important thing that you may be unaware of is that when I made the decision to run for County Commission I left my full time consulting job in order to focus on the campaign. That decision has allowed me to devote many hours a week to the campaign, continue my work as a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard, and spend even more time than I did before on City Council matters.

    My family is making a significant financial sacrifice by foregoing my full time salary in order to allow me to run for County Commission, but I feel called to serve, so that is what I am doing. In order to be prepared to serve as a County Commissioner I spent February through June of this year getting ready. I did so by visiting every County Department, interviewing their Directors, reviewing their budgets, and touring the physical plant for every operation that I would be responsible for as a Commissioner. In addition, I made dozens of visits to local businesses to learn about their operations and ask them how County Government can best help them bring jobs back to Montgomery County. I also talked to the leaders of our non-profit community to understand how these organizations serve the Dayton Region and interact with County Government.

    Regardless of whether I serve the Citizens of Kettering as a County Commissioner or as a Kettering Council Member after January 3rd, I am certain that my efforts over the last several months have made me more knowledgeable regarding local government and better prepared to serve in either capacity.

    One thing we agree on is that Kettering is a very professionally run city. This is because we have a very competent and dedicated staff led by the City Manager. That is not going to change, whether the Charter Amendments pass or not. I have proposed some changes if the Amendments do pass. If that does happen, I hope you will consider helping me make these changes because I believe they help address some of your concerns.

    I hope you will also agree with me that we have many intelligent and dedicated Citizens in Kettering that are willing and able to step up into leadership roles when they are needed. That being the case, I am confident that if I am selected by the voters to serve as a County Commissioner, other qualified leaders will volunteer to serve on the City Council.

    I would really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the County Commission campaign and be able to share in further detail why I believe we need new leadership at the County level. I’d also like to share with you what I’d like to accomplish if elected. I can be reached at 937-490-9322 or mail@ashleywebb.com. I look forward to speaking with you.

    Thanks for taking the time to look at things from my perspective.

    Ashley

  • Charles P.Shanesy,III

    Kurtis,
    Thank you so much for your comments! I appreciate you breaking down my opinion! First of all , I attempted to submit twice and it would not go through so My Opinion was changed 3 times before I submitted it the third time and all three went through to dayton OS. by accident. Obviously you have not read my opinions from the October 8th council meeting on Dayton OS/ but that is okay I will repeat again for you. Why should a Grass roots organization put an issue on a ballot and pass it , which tells me I can only vote 2 terms for a man who has done a great job for me and I want him on for another? But “NO” he has spent 2 terms in office and now has to sit out for 4 years. Kurtis, alot can happen in 4 years and I doubt that person will come back for another term in 4 years / Thats right , you have to sit out for 4 years before running again. That my good friend is “deadening” That limits my power in the community to vote for who ever I want to vote for!
    As for ” Kettering stands as a boring ,big government, high tax building -block suburb turned city with very low tolerance to individual rights” Excuse me! Low tolerance to individual rights!” Really? Kurtis ? You say ”
    many others who have grown up in this community in the last 20 to 30 years will agree” Have you and your friends of 20 to 30 years ever gone to city council meetings and explain what your upset about ? Or, Do you just sit back and complain about paying for high taxes and getting nothing for your money in return? As for Kettering Ohio, I think you need to see what this City has to offer. Take a look at our Parks and places of Recreation. The Fraze, some of the best in the United States compared to many other cities in this state and country. Our schools are awesome, we have to pay more in taxes because the State has decreased the monies to the Cities and left it up to our own city Governments to raise the money and of course that is through levies.
    As far as term limits goes, they attempted this in the 1990″s and Mr. Duke commented on this in Our last city Council Meeting on October 8, and it did not work/I believe you can read his comments on Dayton OS.

    As for cutting salaries, what if your boss came in said we are cutting your salary in half next year . How would you feel? Ever had a problem in the community Kurtis and went to City Council for help? I have ! And no not due to” some sort of special treatment by a long -elected representative” I am talking the City Council as a whole! With crime and problems in my neighborhood. They are worth every penny and more . Most people move away from the problems in their community, not me. I dealt with them head on with more than 300 persons and The City Council, and I can honestly say they were there for me.

    As far as ” trying to protect a special interest” What do you call” The Dayton Tea Party, or “Citizens for a Better Kettering” same thing is it not?

    As far as taking 3 steps back if these are approved, This city has taken 2 steps forward and would take 3 back if these issues pass/ Go ahead Kurtis, you vote for this so called “change” and watch this City go down hill real fast / See if anything really gets done by these Tea Party People and their future agenda’s (not mine or yours but theirs!!!), The salaries would be comparable to the 1980′s per Mike Bock’s article 2 weeks ago / So I guess we will not make “progress ” will we.

    Kurtis, really think this one out , it is not good for our city, it really is not !!I Sincerely and thank you for your opinion and I respect what you had to say! That is what voting and making choices are all about!

  • Amy Schrimpf

    Mike –
    As mentioned in the comment from Mark, I would also like to thank you for posting information and maintaining this blog to promote dialogue on the issues facing our community. Mark indicated that he wanted other Council members to offer their comments to the residents. As Vice Mayor, I am happy to do that. I will admit that I have been reading the discussion here but have been reluctant to comment. While I certainly want to shed light on these issues, I was also afraid my comments would instead be viewed as self-serving or promoting rhetoric. Unfortunately, that is what I’ve seen lately in Kettering. In the past few weeks I have been screamed at on the phone, received nasty email messages, and seen my name smeared in the paper and on social media. Unfortunately, none of this anger and rhetoric – whether promoted by or directed at either group – does anything to advance the interests of our city. I am going to do my best to refrain from such commentary here.

    The video clip you posted does not include the statements I made during the October 9th Council meeting; however I did speak out and explained my vote at that meeting. Viewers can go to the Miami Valley Communications Council’s website to find the full recording of the meeting. Our Council reports are presented at the end of the meeting, so I suggest that viewers watch the entire meeting to get all the comments and opinions presented that night.

    I would also like to address Mark’s comments on how Council pay is set. Frankly, he asks some good questions and offers some good suggestions. Let me reiterate that Council has agreed to review how pay is set. I expect a thorough and detailed report from Councilmembers Klepacz and Duke, who have been charged with leading this review. I support this review and think it will result in a better outcome for our City.

    To answer the question as to what a Council member does, the fact is that it varies among all of us. As in most things in life, the better Council members spend more time at it. In any given week, I spend time on the phone or emailing residents; I attend Kettering committee meetings (for instance I am a member of the Wilmington Pike Task Force and the Board of Community Relations so I attend these meetings each month); I represent the City at regional events hosted by such groups as Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Dayton Development Coalition, or other local jurisdictions (last week I represented Kettering at the City of West Carrollton’s official opening of the I-75 Exit). In addition, I make myself available to meet privately with residents at their request; I spend time reading memos, budget documents, and a weekly packet prepared by staff; I attend Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings and networking events to stay connected with local business people and find out what they need from the City. Some weeks I may spend 20 hours doing my job, other weeks it might be closer to 10. I also use my Council salary to pay my dues to the Kettering Rotary Club, as I view service in the club to be an important extension of my job. This is just a list of some typical tasks for me, but other Council members may provide a different answer.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to respond to Mark’s comments. All Kettering residents are welcome to reach me at 545-6915 or ajschrimpf@sbcglobal.net if they want to engage in polite and professional dialogue on this subject.

    And lastly, in response to Kurtis’ comments, while the City does budget for an annual subsidy to the Fraze, that subsidy is no longer needed. Fraze has been self-sufficient for the last few years and now contributes to the City’s general fund.

  • Kurtis

    Hey Charles,

    Thanks for replying. I definitely appreciate you taking the time to do so.

    Honestly, I’ve never went to the City Council for help. I imagine they would not take my complaints seriously or have a very opposite opinion to my own.

    I did not mean any insult when I mentioned my opinion of Kettering. However, in contrast to other cities which are very free and efficiently ran, Kettering’s government is a large bloated system (to put it plainly). I don’t want you to take offense to my description of the city so I will try to see if I can shed some light.

    The reason I believe Kettering is boring is because it’s been engineered and structured around automotive traffic and has no epicenter. It is very much an example of common urban sprawl. We have few historical buildings. Our roads are extensive, constantly under maintenance, and the traffic has grown exponentially since I was a kid. Very few people come to Kettering unless there is a very specific destination, function or business bringing them in. This is in contrast to places which many would not consider boring: Yellow Springs, Brown Street UD Region, Oregon District, the recent changes made in South Park (of Dayton), various small towns scattered throughout the region. When most people picture Kettering, I am going to make an assumption that the first thing that doesn’t come to mind is “fun”.

    You did mention some of the highlights of Kettering which I will agree with. Specifically the schools and the parks. I am the second or third generation in both sides of my family to go through Kettering school systems. My son will attend next year when he is old enough to start. My family and I have made great use of the parks over the years as well. I will not contest that those are some great services Kettering provides. On the other hand, I have absolutely no sympathy for the Fraze; I’ve seen the budget (have you?) and we dish out a TREMENDOUS amount of cash for something that the tax payers were banned from sitting outside of during concerts.

    You mentioned that the state is unable to provide as much money as it used to. I can see that being a reality although I have not witnessed it myself. Unfortunately, if we are unable to afford to maintain our existing services then I think it is time for a reality check. We need to make decisions and they need to be made sooner than later. Everyone in the country is going through a hard time and simply burdening tax payers isn’t going to help the situation at all. I’m sure there are ways to cut the budget (e.g. counsel salary) without completely removing the services. These are things that need to be made transparent, discussed, and a plan needs to be coordinated.

    Why do I believe we have a big government? Well, the amount of tax dollars Kettering uses is much higher than a lot of major cities per capita (no source off hand, I’ve done the comparison before). I know several people who work for the city (Roads Department, Parks & Recreation) and I can see how many people the city employs instead of working with potentially cheaper private enterprise. I don’t want these people to lose their jobs by any means but I do know private enterprise works better than government in cases like these. The city is very keen on keeping its reach into every corner; from small things such as setting high standards on the appearance of people’s homes to large things such as requiring every citizen to maintain trash service with a specific company. Those who run Kettering are so worried about the “image” of Kettering that they tend to overlook the citizens’ liberty.

    The individual rights is a particular important topic to me. This is one of those situations where I would talk to the city counsel but know I would only be challenging the status-quo. I mentioned a couple of small items in the previous paragraph. There’s many, many more boundaries that Kettering oversteps. For example, unless you are rich; our police force tends to be very aggressive when it comes to issuing tickets, sporadically following vehicles and pedestrians, abusing their power to search vehicles, stereotyping, and treating ordinary people as prospective criminals. Our city hosts many cameras at intersections that serve no purpose other than to `supposedly` monitor traffic. Our gun rights are not observed; I can assure you that if I openly carried a registered weapon (which is legal by federal and state law) then the police would quickly intervene and file some false charges. We have many ordinances which restrict us heavily from operating businesses on our residential property. In fact, we have many ordinances which basically cover every detail of our private property and heavy fees + fines to go with it. Would you like to grow a vegetable garden in your front yard? I know I would. If you had a larger parcel of land, would you like to sit your house back a reasonable distance from the road? I know I would. Kettering denies many rights and if I had time, I would be more than thrilled to write a paper covering every one of them individually. You say you want the right to vote for someone for more than 2 elections, I can actually agree with you that you should have that right. However, the “Tea Party” has a lot more agreement in terms with my opinions on individual and property rights than the city’s record has shown.

    When I used the term building-block, I think the word I was actually looking for was cookie cutter. I believe that is obvious and probably doesn’t require any explanation. I know a bit of the history (Huber Homes, among other large-scale building projects) but our city is simply a large jumble of houses with little strips of commercial repetition scattered about. I believe Kettering can be much better than that.
    Sure, we are a suburb; but we’re also a city and we have a very capable community. We should strive for more.

    You mentioned the cutting of salaries. I don’t have a boss so therefore no-one can tell me they are cutting my salary in half next year. However, if I was employed instead of a business owner, I would simply go work somewhere else. That is not reflective of the reality, though. In reality, the counsel are representatives of the city. If the people they represent believe they are paid too much then they should simply understand. If they were working for monetary gain then, unfortunately, they’re in the wrong business and their term should be ended. If they weren’t working for monetary gain, then I’m sure they love serving the community regardless of how much it pays. If they need more money, I suppose they could take the situation as a boss cutting their salary and simply quit. No-one would blame them if they needed to make more money and couldn’t carry on the position at the same time. There are a lot of great people in our city who could fill in for them.

    I get the feeling that one of your big fears is that the “Tea Party” or whomever is behind the agenda. I can understand that. Until recently, I was scared of the Tea Party. I’m not a republican by any means. I actually have voted Democrat since I was old enough to vote. However, I have recently seen the mess our country has fallen into since it started becoming “progressive” — pursuing much more than simply defending our borders and enforcing the constitution while using violent force (police, IRS, etc.) I know Kettering is not the same as the federal government but I do believe there is room for change at all levels of the government. If people want to have neighborhoods where every house looks the same with the exception of the paint, they should follow Texas’ lead and use Homeowner Organizations. If cops want to keep our city safe then they should work with the community; not against them. If the elected representatives want to help our democratic society then they should simply listen to the people they represent; even if this is the people asking them to take a pay cut during hard times.

    I am not moving away from the community any time soon. Unless I come up with the finances to get out to the country (in the pursuit of freedom) then I will stay in Kettering to make sure my son enjoys the same, if not better, level of education that I was able to enjoy. I have always had a distaste for some things that go on in Kettering. It wasn’t until the last few years (when my son was born) that I decided I should instead seek change instead of, as you mentioned, simply leave.

    I don’t believe those two issues will cause the city to do a landslide any more than I believe Obama’s second election will cause the end of the country; as many like to tell me. I vote based upon Logic and the factual data laid out in front of me. There’s many cities out there who have a much stronger Tea Party influence and I highly doubt they have been stagnant or are going down hill any faster than the economy is pushing them.

    Thank you again, Charles, for taking the time to discuss these matters with me. I do see your viewpoint on some issues; particularly your right to choose someone to be elected for a third (fourth, …. Nth) term. However, in regards to the wage cut; I would have to say my mind is pretty much made up there. Maybe I’ll vote YES for one and NO for the other :)

  • Kurtis

    I just want to mention one quick thing: I have a lot of respect for a representative who volunteers to take a wage cut. Conversely, I fear representatives who fight to retain or even increase their salaries.

  • Amy Schrimpf

    Kurtis, please give me a call or shoot me an email as I think we would both benefit from a conversation about the City. 545-6915 is my cell and Ajschrimpf@sbcglobal.net is my Email.

  • Charles P.Shanesy,III

    Mr. Webb,
    I thank you for your response to my comment from october 22, 2012 and apologize for it being submitted 3 times (by accident).
    Mr. Webb, I just don’t understand how I can have dialogue with someone on City Council such as yourself when you don’t even show up for scheduled meetings! My entire family was present and spoke before City Council to encourage Kettering residents to vote no! On issues 28 and 29. Where were you? Were you attending a meeting of your own for your campaign to become County commissioner?
    The night of October 8, 2012 , the night you voted “no” to the issues of 28 and 29 resolution I noticed you really only came in time to vote on the issues as you were late / Do you not owe it to this City to attend all its Council Meetings for the residents of Kettering Until that is if you are voted in as County Commissioner !
    You see Mr. Webb, you are a prime example of the kind of person I don’t want on my city council , you are already doing what will happen if the term limits issue is passed. You have not even been on for a full term and you are hard at work on your campaign for your own political agenda! To become the next County Commissioner ! Now I really need to know , was that your attention from the beginning? You cannot tell me that You know all the “ins and outs of this city on one term!” I just dont’ believe that! I look at the commissioner who has at least been on for 2 terms, knows what he is doing for the Community and runs for a third term as well and wins! because of his proven track record and history!
    Mr. Webb, Our City Councils cannot operate effectively with this kind of activity / It just is not prudent
    and it is not taking the City in the right direction for progress.
    Mr. Webb, I am sure you are a nice person but as a Community Activist, how can I honestly condone your absenteeism at this crucial time with our City facing these 2 serious issues! 6 persons stood to talk and state “NO” to the issues including myself and one opposed of course as part of the Citizens for a Better Kettering/ should you have not been there!!

  • Charles,

    From the tone of you message I’m not sure if you really want answers to your questions. Regardless, I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

    Your comment regarding not showing up for scheduled meetings is incorrect. I did not miss multiple meetings. I did not attend this past Tuesday’s meeting in order to attend a Candidate Night at Precious Blood Church in Trotwood. While I have skipped Candidate Nights this election season in order to be at City Council Meetings, this event was held in conjunction with 6 other churches in the northern part of the County and over 75 voters were expected to attend. After reviewing the Council Meeting Agenda I was comfortable with all of the voted items and I determined attending the Precious Blood event and giving these voters the opportunity to meet me and ask questions about my plans for the County was the appropriate thing to do. The event was scheduled from 7-9 pm and it was located nearly half an hour drive away from the Kettering Government building. This precluded me from coming back to the Council Meeting. Fortunately I have the ability to review the meeting online thanks to the MVCC taping and online streaming.

    You mentioned I came in late during the previous meeting. You are correct. I was present for all votes and all citizen comment. I was late to this meeting because I had been at three separate candidate night events prior to the Council Meeting (Patterson Park, Riverside, and Burkhart Road).

    I believe last Tuesday night is the only Business Meeting that I have missed this year. Other Council Members have had absences for everything from medical reasons to vacations.

    With regard to my decision to run for County Commission, I understand you do not see value in having a choice in November for this position, but I do. This is because my opponents’s proven track record and history you are referring to includes over 30,000 jobs lost from our County, a Veteran’s Service Commission whose budget has been cut 37%, Deep cuts in our Sheriff’s Department that have resulted in 43 fewer sworn Deputies on the street, and scandals that include a contractor stealing 50,000 dollars from the taxpayers and a county employee’s felony theft that was swept under the rug without being reported to law enforcement. Even without considering Commissioner Lieberman’s personal missteps while in office, it is clear to me that it is time for new leadership on the County Commission. That is why I am running.

    I will offer again to talk to you directly. I can be reached at 937-490-9322 or mail@ashleywebb.com. While I am available to speak to you at any time in the future using the contact information I’ve provided, I will not be monitoring future comments to this DaytonOS post. If you continue to feel unable to “dialogue” with me for whatever reason I wish the best in your Community Activism!

    Ashley

  • Charles P.Shanesy,III

    Mr. Webb,

    Obviously we do not see eye to eye and I do not think discussing your views by personal e/mail or by phone would be beneficial to either of us and our differences of opinion/ however, I do wish you nothing but the best on your future endeavors as well as your political career! Thank you for your time and good luck and I appreciate your well wishes for my continued Community Activism in Kettering.

    Charles P. Shanesyiii

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