city 4/15

Bowling Green residents hear 12 lobbyists talk about social issues during the April 15 packed Council meeting. Madison Stump here campaigns for a city plastic bag ban.

candidates 10/24 (7)

Neocles Leontis - Democrat, Council-at-Large

Jake Klinger | Reporter

Q: Why did you decide to get into local politics?

A: I’m running so that we can put in some regulations that would require fire and health inspections for off-campus apartments. Also, I’m a scientist, I bring a scientific approach.

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for city council?

A: Over the last 10 years I have gone to many City Council meetings to lobby. Just shows you that a small number of people, when they have the right idea, can influence city government.

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: Not having a tenant’s bill of rights. People should have rights when it comes to renting property.

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: We do not periodically fire inspect, or health inspect, the apartments in Bowling Green, and we really should.

 


candidates 10/24

Mark Hollenbaugh - Democrat, Ward 1

Patrick Dearwester | Reporter

Q: Can you describe the platform you are running on?

A: Application of the city’s land use plan with a focus on revitalizing our neighborhoods. 2. Increased collaboration between government, business, and education. Our community offers many benefits companies need to be successful: our proximity to transportation, our educated workforce, our outstanding public utilities, and many more. I would like to see us aggressively explore modern partnership and collaboration models to fully leverage these community assets. I will also utilize the guiding principles of the Community Action Plan (CAP) focusing on the quality of our neighborhoods. These principles are vital for the sustained and healthy growth of the city of Bowling Green.

Q: Why did you decide to get into local politics?

A: I believe governance is lacking at both the State and Federal levels, and as a result the one place an individual can make the greatest positive impact on people’s lives is at the local level.

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for city council?

A: I served a previous term as the First Ward council member from 2009-2011, after that I served as a member of the city planning commission and as a board member of the Wood County Historical Society. I’m also on the executive committee for the Eastside Residential Neighborhood Group and the Wood County Democratic Party. I’m union president for the North Baltimore Educational Association and have taught history and government at NBHS for twenty years.

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: Application of the city’s land use and CAP plan is the most important work single issue at this time. These studies provide guidance and opportunities for moving Bowling Green into the future. We need to make Bowling Green a more attractive place to live and work by aggressively working to revitalize our neighborhoods particularly those East of Main Street.

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: I have been a resident of Bowling Green for over 35 years, I am a graduate of Bowling Green High School, and received both my BA and MA from Bowling Green State University. My vision for the city of Bowling Green has been honed over a lifetime of public service.

candidates (8) 10/24

To get to know the local candidates more, voters can go to this event in 210 University Hall on Oct. 30.


candidates (3) 10/24

John Zanfardino - Democrat, Ward 2

Courtney Brihan | Reporter

Q: Can you describe the platform you are running on?

A: I've been on council for 15 years and we've accomplished a lot of things, and we haven't addressed the housing stock in a more aggressive way.

My greatest emphasis next term is to implement the type of oversight that other college towns do. At Miami University every rental on that city is inspected every two or so years. Rentals should be superior in BG; we have no oversight on that whatsoever, and other cities have mandatory inspections. They also have a voluntary self report type system which is still more than we have here, too.

If we were to implement something like (a self report type system), it would mean that I would have to declare that my home is up to code on electrical systems, etc. Even if we achieve that here, if a subsequent came and reported some concerns, that would even be an improvement which is an absence of the system.

My single greatest hope is that we proactively look at the housing units in BG. I've been on council a long time and about 12 years ago there was an attempt to add this in and it was resisted by the landlords.

Q: Why did you decide to get into local politics?

A: I got involved almost by accident and I'm sure glad I did, but it was in 2004 for the John Kerry campaign – it was a heated election back then. I started volunteering on the weekends but it almost became a second full-time job. But with that campaign I became much more married to politics and after that I was approached by the Democratic Party to run locally.

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for city council?

A: Just a lifelong interest, but with the 2004 presidential campaign, I became much more involved with politics. I have always been interested and it only further increased my interest. I would read about politics all the time.

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: Two studies did a curb appeal analysis of every house on BG and they concluded based that the home owners in BG have lost a collective $54 million in value because of these rentals. That study was five years ago so that number has not gotten smaller. People buy homes as an investment and they don't want to sell it at a loss, but the bigger issue for me is that the suggestion of what the rentals are like.

If they are that bad that they are bringing down the collective number that much, we need to do more than what we are doing.

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: If someone is renting and they feel there electrical is not safe, the fire department will come in and inspect it for free. Most renters don't know that though. The system is not known enough and it's really weighted toward the property owner and not the tennant. I've been doing this for a long time and I don't want to criticize the tenants but my concern is beyond that $54 million.

 


candidates (5) 10/24

Ryan J. Holley - Republican, Ward 3

Q: Can you describe the platform you’re running on?

A: My goal is to address responsible economic development.  An overhaul of the zoning code will allow for less restrictive and costly development which is attractive to business and housing developers.  At the same time, there is a Welcome BG initiative aimed at fostering inclusiveness and population growth, particularly as it relates to immigrants.  A major problem in BG and Northwest Ohio is finding potential employees willing and able to work.  More conducive zoning and a focus on increasing the affordable housing stock while attracting new residents is paramount to the future success of BG.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved in local politics?

A: I am a believer that we all have unique experiences and talents.  It is our duty to use those for the benefit of all.  Given the work that City Council has done in terms of analysis and laying the framework, my experience and background lends itself ideally to putting the Future Land Use Plan, the Community Action Plan, and those ideas into motion.  Also, I believe that you can either complain about something or jump in and offer solutions.  I like action.

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for City Council?

A: I have spent over 9 years on the City of BG Planning Commission.  Over 3.5 of those years, I served as the Chairman.  When I stepped down from that role for the birth of my twin boys, I became the Planning Commission’s liaison to the BG Economic Development Foundation’s Reinvestment Council. 

I have been an active member of the BG Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs project team for over 7 years, and am an alumni of the Leadership BG program.

I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Deputy Registrar’s Association

I was president of the Wood County Apartment Association and served on the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Apartment Association for 10 years before I left the industry.

I served on the Board of Trustees for the BG Housing Agency for over 9 years

I am a small, local business owner

I am an Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Business at BGSU

I am a lifelong townie, having been born in BG and receiving all of my education at BG City Schools and earning 2 degrees at BGSU

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: A lack of progress in terms of supporting economic development and a lack of focus on the priorities outlined by Council, the Future Land Use Plan, and the Community Action Plan.

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: More information can be found at www.Facebook.com.CitizensForHolley

 


candidates (4) 10/24

Rachel Phipps - Democrat, Ward 3

Cornasia Sandford | Reporter

Q: Can you describe the platform you’re running on?

A: I have been talking to folks about encouraging re-development along East Wooster and about supporting a more vibrant downtown.  I’ve also been talking about the city of Bowling Green more fully living by our sustainability values.

Q: Why did you decide to get into local politics?

A: I have two small children, a five and two year-old, and I loved raising my family in Bowling Green. I see great possibility all around us and this was an opportunity to get involved and to help our community get where I think it could go. 

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for city council?

A: I am currently an attorney. I started my career as an environmental attorney and then I actually did communication work for the University of Toledo College of Law for five years; I was the Assistant Dean for Communication...right now I do some free-lance writing and some contract review, but I have never ran for elected office before. This is all brand new. 

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: As far as something I want to act on immediately on council if I'm elected, is to quickly talk to the Ohio Department of Transportation about re-routing the state Route 25 on Main Street; I’d like to see that re-routed so we can make downtown more vibrant. Also, the climate sustainability issue is very important to me, especially having small children and having been this environmental lawyer… we do a really great job in Bowling Green but I would like to see us appoint a sustainability commission, come up with a climate action plan, and I'd like to see the city institute a curb-side composting program.

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: We are a community of really hard working people and I think we have a great story to tell, we just need to tell our story clearly and often.

 


candidates (6) 10/24

Jeff J. Dennis - Democrat, Ward 4

Lauren Gregory | Reporter

Q: Can you describe the platform you’re running on?

A: My four goals are: (1) neighborhood revitalization, (2) updating our zoning code, (3) promoting sustainability and (4) improving our ability to attract and retain young families especially.

Q: Why did you decide to get into local politics?

A: I am a BG native. I graduated from the high school and university, and my family has been here for generations. I really appreciate everything our community has to offer and I am so excited about the opportunity to give back. I think we have a lot of opportunities that we are not taking advantage of. I think there are a lot of cases where we aren’t using time efficiently. We’ve got a lot of people who are working very hard, and I’d like to take that hard work and turn it into more impactful progress. 

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for city council?

A: I have a lot of volunteer work. I worked on a few political campaigns. Currently I am studying law at the University of Toledo, property law and zoning. Property law and zoning are some of the most important issues we will face in the coming years, and I have some experience in those issues that I think will be valuable. 

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: It’s hard to narrow it down to one issue. I think out of the four things I listed on my platform, every one of them needs to happen. I don’t think we can limit it to one issue. I think we have a lot of work to do if we want to really fully take advantage of a lot of the opportunities we have here in Bowling Green. In terms of what is going to have the biggest impact, zoning. Zoning is the most important decision this group if going to make. It is going to shape the look and feel of our community for the next 100 years, so I would say that’s going to be the most important, but it all really needs to happen. 

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: Just to check out my website if they have any more questions. It’s all laid out very clearly and transparently in terms of what I hope to accomplish if elected. Also, remember to vote on November 5th!

 


candidates (2)  10/24

William J. Herald - Republican, Ward 4

RC | Reporter

Q: Can you describe the platform you’re running on?

A: … my key goals and general approach include: (i) assisting and representing citizens in their interaction with their city government; (ii) proactively identifying ways that our local government can better fulfill its legitimate role in the community; (iii) using my city experience and analytic background to logically and thoroughly analyze problems with citizen input as a vital part; (iv) going beyond just talking about issues and actually taking action to solve long-standing problems; and (v) doing my part to facilitate genuine respectful dialog.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved in local politics?

A: To make a positive difference by using my analytic approach and knowledge of public administration/policy.

Q: What background or experience qualifies you for city council?

A: Pertinent experience includes: (a) almost ten years of experience on Bowling Green City Council (1984-1991, 2018-2019); (b) faithful attendance at 23 years of BG Council meetings; (c) attendance at close to a thousand other city-related meetings; (d) decades of business experience (including current job as Data Scientist at First Solar); (e) over a decade of university-level, full-time teaching experience (BGSU and UT); (f) resident of BG for over 40 years; (g) four university degrees (BGSU: B.S.-Math & Computer Science, M.S.-Applied Statistics, M.A.-Public Administration/Policy, Ohio State: Ph.D.-Public Policy and Management).  More information is available at: www.williamjherald.org.

Q: What is the most important issue affecting the city?

A: The foundational issues are: (1) service to citizens including responsiveness,(2) providing for the safety needs of citizens including top-tier safety forces, and (3) fiscal prudence.  Building on these, there is immediate need for (4) maintenance of infrastructure including streets and sidewalks, (5) neighborhood revitalization, (6) appropriate economic development.

Q: What is one thing you think Bowling Green citizens and voters should know?

A: That they live in a great city!

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