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 The Ortonville Mayoral Debate 2009

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PostSubject: The Ortonville Mayoral Debate 2009   Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:08 am

The mayoral debate of the city of Ortonville occurred on October 24, 2009 at Fairway View with 28 people present.

Paul Zahn acted as moderator of this stage of the debate, with Richard Ash, Julie French and Sue Kaercher as people asking the questions.

In this question-and-answer part of the debate the personalities, style and methods of resolving problems are as different as night and day.

Blair Johnson made it very clear that he supported the existing city clerk and the number of staff members currently employed by the city clerk's office. He justified this significant expenditure by claiming that the city was obtaining more grants.

He supported new user fees by increasing fees at the swimming pool, the golf course, by increasing electric rates and by increasing income by increasing cost of other essential services. He voiced his concerns to people on fixed incomes, but just did not see any other way to maintain the current level of expenditures.

When point blank asked by Sue Kaercher about the city clerk, he said that he saw nothing wrong with the current city clerk and supported the city clerk's performance.

When asked about the current bickering between council members, he said it needed to stop but did not have a solution to the problem.

David Dinnel used an entirely different approach and indicated that there was a need for significant changes in the direction the city was headed.

In almost a humbling type of way, he apologized of his own inadequacies of not being able to bring a city together in a united fashion a few years ago. His demeanor was sincere as he spoke about his own shortcomings.

In a way that was as different as the two candidates were dressed, he vowed that he would make every reasonable attempt to have a more united counsel that is currently present.

In a stark distinction between the two men, he advocated cutbacks and conservative budgeting policies that would help the city overcome the budget shortfalls. He did not advocate an increase and even opposed a sales tax which was recently proposed by the city clerk.

Also, the candidates differed on the issue of the city clerk's performance. Mr. Dinnel pointed out that this office has become extremely inefficient and assured voters that he would make significant changes in this office. He was unsupportive of the city clerk.

He also pointed out that he was a lifetime resident of Ortonville and he came back to Ortonville to serve his community. He made this comment, attempting to hold back his emotions, but he was obviously very touched and wanted to serve the community in a way in which we can be proud of the city.

An observation related to this debate/forum was the demeanor of the candidates. Mr. Dinnel gave a moving and emotional closing and told the electorate that he would be proud of serving them.

Unlike, the debate/forums of the city Council forum, this forum clearly delineated the difference between the candidates. Blair Johnson advocating tax increases and more expenditures for EDA, while candidate Dinnel advocated a conservative financial approach, attempting to make cutbacks in attempting to improve efficiency of the city.
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PostSubject: Council members are bickering?   Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:12 am

reporter wrote:
When asked about the current bickering between council members, he said it needed to stop but did not have a solution to the problem.

I am puzzled by the above sentence. Over the past year of attending many council meetings I do not recall observing a problem of bickering. There were some issues with a difference of opinion. In the case of the attempt by Blair Johnson to slip in Dan Oakes as the replacement city council member before the vote was supposed to take place Mike Dorry and another councilman (I think it was Steve Berkner) stood up against him and would not allow Blair to do that. In another issue Mike Dorry and Bob Meyer stood against the council and for the people when they refused to vote for the McCloud Street project.

What bickering was Blair Johnson talking about? Since when does the city council HAVE to agree? Isn't it better that different opinions are present so that varied views can be expressed? The citizens of Ortonville were gratefull to Mike and Bob for representing the people and not buckling under to the pressure of the other council members.

Does Blair Johnson think that anyone who doesn't agree with him is bickering? Since when is voicing an opinion bickering? It appears Blair Johnson doesn't like to hear from the citizens at city council meetings and one is left to wonder if he doesn't like to listen to councilmen who don't agree with him either.

One important question for Reporter. Who asked Blair Johnson the question about the bickering? Were any of the other candidates asked that question?

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
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PostSubject: There is some discourse.   Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:44 am

There is some discourse in the discussions but the Mayor often times cuts off the oppostion. Mr. Dorry is almost always shunned.

Most importantly, the citizens are treated rudely by the Mayor. I cannot help but remember the Peninsula fiasco where the citizens were in an uproar and the Mayor just kept making sure his point was heard. I remember meeting after meeting where the Mayor interrupts those who oppose his thinking.

I think this lack of listening skills has created this anger from the citizens and from the employees of the city. His handling of the Hormann fiasco was just a disaster and lacked tack.

I am hoping in the new election a0 the mayor makes some personal changes or two they elect someone who is willing to listen.
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