Citizens For A Better Norwood 2

Friday, October 30, 2009

NCT's schedule of candidate forums on Cable Channel 4

Saturday, October 31:

Start Time & Title
12:00:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
12:30:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
1:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
2:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
2:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
3:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
3:30:00 AM Candidate - Council President
3:45:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
4:15:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
4:45:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
6:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
6:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
6:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
7:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
7:45:00 AM Candidate - Council President
8:00:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
8:30:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
9:00:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
10:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
10:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
11:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
11:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
12:00:00 PM Candidate - Council President
12:15:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
12:45:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
1:15:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
2:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
3:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
3:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
3:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
4:15:00 PM Candidate - Council President
4:30:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
5:00:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
5:30:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
6:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
7:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
7:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
8:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
8:30:00 PM Candidate - Council President
8:45:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
9:15:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
9:45:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
11:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
11:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
11:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3

Sunday, November 1:

Start Time & Title
12:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
1:00:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
1:15:00 AM Candidate - Council President
1:45:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
2:15:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
3:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
4:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
4:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
4:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
5:15:00 AM Candidate - Council President
5:30:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
6:00:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
6:30:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
7:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
8:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
8:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
9:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
9:30:00 AM Candidate - Council President
9:45:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
10:15:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
10:45:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
12:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
12:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
12:37:50 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
1:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
1:45:00 PM Candidate - Council President
2:00:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
2:30:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
3:00:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
4:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
4:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
5:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
5:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
6:00:00 PM Candidate - Council President
6:15:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
6:45:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
7:15:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
8:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
9:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
9:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
9:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
10:15:00 PM Candidate - Council President
10:30:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
11:00:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
11:30:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large

Monday, November 2:

Start Time & Title
12:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
1:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
1:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
2:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
2:30:00 AM Candidate - Council President
2:45:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
3:15:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
3:45:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
5:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
5:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
5:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
6:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
6:45:00 AM Candidate - Council President
7:00:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
7:30:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
8:00:00 AM Candidates - Council at Large
9:15:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 1
9:45:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 2
10:00:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 3
10:30:00 AM Candidates - Council Ward 4
11:00:00 AM Candidate - Council President
11:15:00 AM Candidates - Auditor
11:45:00 AM Candidates - Treasurer
12:15:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
1:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
2:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
2:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
2:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
3:15:00 PM Candidate - Council President
3:30:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
4:00:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
4:30:00 PM Candidates - Council at Large
5:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
6:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
6:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
7:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4
7:30:00 PM Candidate - Council President
7:45:00 PM Candidates - Auditor
8:15:00 PM Candidates - Treasurer
10:00:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 1
10:30:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 2
10:45:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 3
11:15:00 PM Candidates - Council Ward 4

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Candidate blog series: Auditor candidate Jim Stith (R)

Jim Stith, Auditor.
Hard Work and Common Sense

In January 2008 I was appointed to the position of Auditor for the City of Norwood. I must now run for the remainder of the unexpired term. I have dedicated myself to this position and brought a strong work ethic and common sense to the office. I now ask for the chance to finish the job I started.

Since becoming Auditor I have brought responsibility, professionalism, transparency and a strong work ethic to the Auditor’s office. I continue to fight for a balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, and excellence in financial reporting.

As Auditor I have made myself available regularly during weekly office hours for department heads, elected officials and our citizens. I also attend every City Council meeting making the Auditor’s office accessible to City officials. I have modernized our City’s financial systems and technologies and updated and converted the City’s accounting system to be compliant with Federal and State accounting practices. We have worked with the law department to save the City over $13,000 a year in property taxes and uncovered almost $50,000 in available stagnant funds.

Since becoming Auditor I have appointed an excellent staff with financial, accounting, and technological experience. This staff includes the Deputy Auditor Marcus Patterson who holds a Masters Degree in Accounting. Together we have created true Transparency in Government identifying and correcting inefficiencies, finding and correcting problems. There are those who want to hold this against me. I insist that finding problems and correcting them is not a bad thing, hiding problems and sweeping them under the rug is!

Every month we generate reports for City Council and the Administration. We prepared and filed the 2006 & 2007 Annual Financial Reports, prepared a Five Year Financial Forecast for the City and we are completing the first Comprehensive Annual Financial Report since 2003. Every report is available for viewing by the public in the Auditor’s office or online

I am not a life long resident of Norwood, Jen and I moved here 9 years ago. This is where we choose to live, where our children go to school. We do not have generations of family in the City, we are the start of new generations for the City. We represent people who see how special this community is and come here to raise our families.

I am not City government as usual. I became involved in local politics because I care about our community and noticed problems which were not being addressed. There was a need and I knew I could help. I had to take a stand for what is right. This is not about pride, this is not about personal gain, this is about the community in which we choose to live and raise our children.

I am hopeful that the voters of Norwood will give me the chance to finish the job that I started.

  • Keep Responsibility,
  • Keep Professionalism,
  • Keep Transparency,
  • Keep Fiscal Responsibility,
  • Keep Jim Stith working hard for You!

For a detailed bio and more information please see my web site

Jim Stith

Candidate blog series: At-large candidate Victor Schneider (R)

For too long Norwood has been struggling under a cloud of senseless negativity. It is time to put those attitudes and destructive criticisms in the past. I am committed to bringing positive energy and a resurgence of honest civic pride to our great City.

I feel confident that my background qualifies me to continue to represent the citizens of Norwood. I have held the position of Mayor, Service Director, and Superintendent of Public Works. I have also had the honor of being elected to 2 terms as a Council at Large member of Norwood City Council. I have completed the State of Ohio Police Officer Training Academy. I have received all certifications necessary and worked as a firefighter. I have maintained water and gas systems as a General Mechanic/Technician in the private sector as well as worked as a production and business manager for a $100 million dollar international corporation. I have many years of experience managing people to maximize productivity and results. Currently I am working as a Community Manager in the private sector.

Please carefully consider the candidates for Norwood City Council, President of Council, Treasurer, and Auditor. I will commit to asking questions, getting answers and doing my best to protect the overall best interest of Norwood. I would appreciate your support.

Please vote for Victor Schneider.

Candidate blog series: At-large candidate Michael Gabbard

As a lifelong resident of Norwood it has been my honor to serve my community on council.

Family: Wife Vicki and 4 children

Education: Norwood High Grad 1983, BA Biblical Studies from Temple School of Ministry, Paramedic since 1986, former firefighter (12 years), Police officer (3 years).

Employment: TriHealth PTS (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service)

Committees: Finance & Audit Committee, Chairman of Safety, Police & Fire. Past member of Community Development, Streets and Infrastructure, Parks & Playgrounds

Affiliations: Member of New Bethel Baptist Church and serve on the Children & Youth Leadership Board, Norwood City Schools Business Advisory Council, Norwood Soccer Association (President, coach, sponsor), Relay for Life (chairman), Voice of NHS Boys & Girls Soccer Games.

As your representative I have:
  1. Pushed to make our sexual predator ordinance stronger to keep the children of Norwood as safe as possible.
  2. Pushed to have a juvenile court held here in Norwood.
  3. Pushed to streamline the grass cutting of vacant properties.
  4. Pushed to keep our own health department here in Norwood.
  5. Supported more attention to our parks - addition of restrooms in Hunter, Saving Burwood Pool and new equipment at Fenwick.
  6. Supported:
  • Vacant Building Ord. and removal of vacant properties.
  • New CRA Ord.
  • Street Resurfacing Program
  • New developments
This council has accomplished much over the last few years but we still have much to do. We have been able to work through some serious financial issues without losing any of our vital services. We have worked through loses of companies by seeking new companies and developments.

As your councilman I DO NOT play political games. As your elected official I don’t represent just a certain group of people – I represent and serve ALL the citizens of Norwood. I don’t seek attention and do most work off camera and behind the scenes. I don’t speak a lot on council floor but when I do it is to bring a strong voice for YOU.

I would like to continue to be your strong voice on council as we work to continue to improve our city. Please Vote and keep Michael Gabbard as your Council at Large on Nov. 3rd. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at 531-4999 – I will actually respond to your call.

Michael Gabbard

Candidate blog series: At-large candidate Andrew Clark (R)

I am excited to be running for a seat on Norwood City Council. I love the City of Norwood and know I can help take our city to the next level. Norwood needs a combination of all ages on city council. A combination of wisdom and experience with new and fresh ideas is powerful. I promise you that I will never be outworked. My grandpa and dad have shown me the importance of hard work and dedication and I want to put that to use for you and our city.

Here are some facts about me you may want to know:
  1. I am a life long resident of Norwood and attended North Norwood for preschool, Sharpsburg for kindergarten through 5th grade, the middle school for 6th through 8th grade and the high school for 9th through 12th grade.
  2. I just recently (May 2009) graduated from Miami University (Oxford, OH) with a B.A. in Political Science with a focus in English Literature and Creative Writing.
  3. In February of 2009, my mom, Vicki (life long resident and NHS graduate c/o 1977), and I started the Norwood Star Newspaper after the loss of the Norwood Times. I was writing for the Times when it shut down and knew Norwood needed a newspaper to keep the positive news flowing.
  4. I am a member of the Norwood Community Chorus and have been since it started in January of 2008. I truly love being a member of this choir. Judy White is a great instructor and I would love to see more of you join the chorus. It is more fun than work!
  5. I attend Trinity Pentecostal Church on Norwood Avenue and have been a life long member. At times I have been the Youth Leader, Drama Director, Choir Member, and responsible for the Media Relations in the Youth Department.
  6. I currently work at the Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS in the Education Department. I hope to bring the tools I have learned about real estate to Norwood and help us attract more businesses to fill our vacant developments and new families to fill our vacant residences. If elected I will also work with the board to set up a showcase of our schools and community for local realtors so they can see the available housing and commercial properties available and better communicate our city to potential buyers.
Here are more specific things I hope to do for Norwood:
  1. Improve Norwood’s Reputation
  2. My experience with the Norwood Star and as a Communication Director at Trinity Pentecostal Church has shown me the importance of positive press. I will work with the media to ensure that we receive more coverage on the good things rather than just the bad. I am willing to take on anyone who thinks Norwood is an awful community-even Tracy Jones!
  3. Improve and Maintain Norwood’s Infrastructure
  4. I will work to improve our roadways, parks, and public facilities to ensure that Norwood has better roadways and great facilities for us to use.
  5. Ensure that Public Safety is a Top Priority
  6. I will work to make Norwood the safest place it can be. I will work closely with the Norwood Police Department and the Norwood Citizens on Patrol to find ways to build upon the great work they are already doing and find new ways of making Norwood safe.
  7. Help the School Board to Improve our Schools
  8. As a NHS graduate, I was given a great education, which landed me in a top public university. I want to ensure that every child in Norwood has the same opportunity and better. I want to see our kids excel in the classroom and on the field. I want them exceeding expectations, not just meeting them.
I am excited for what is in store for our community. We have a lot of great people here in Norwood who are willing to work hard to make our community better. I am excited to work with these great people. I promise I will never forget that I serve you and I will always be available by phone (706-6893) or email ( to address any concerns you have or any suggestions you have to make our city a better place.

Andrew Clark

Candidate blog series: Treasurer candidate Tom Brown (R)

My name is Thomas Brown and I am the Republican candidate for Norwood City Treasurer. I have always been concerned about the City of Norwood’s financial stability and business growth, but none more than now. The City Treasurer’s office needs leadership, organization, and efficiency so that your tax dollars are used wisely. I am apprehensive that the current treasurer does not have these ideals as his main interest. It is for this reason I have decided to offer the voters of Norwood a real choice in this November’s election.

My dealings with the Norwood Treasurer’s Office started when I worked for the City of Norwood. In 2000, I raised concerns to City Council about the inefficiencies, disorganization and overall poor performance of the Treasurer’s Office with other City Departments and the public.

Nearly ten years later, nothing has changed.

There are many problems in the Treasurer’s office that impact taxpayers:

  1. The closing of the office every day in the mid-afternoon, thus making it impossible for the public to pay their bills owed to the City.
  2. The current City Treasurer does not keep regular office hours, attend City Council meetings or attend Finance meetings.
  3. The current City Treasurer does not employ a full time Tax Commissioner to run the Tax Office.
  4. The Treasurer’s poor communication with other City Departments and City Council.
  5. The mailing of tax evasion letters to Norwood citizens whom in fact have paid their taxes properly.

The most recent State Auditor’s Review of the City Treasurer highlights many noncompliance citations and material weaknesses relating to the poor management of the accounts by the current City Treasurer.

In the State Auditor’s Review, they stated, "The City Treasurer did not prepare accurate cash reconciliation of the general account during 2004 and 2005."

The State Auditor commented the following while discussing the lack of balancing of the City Treasurer’s checkbook bank accounts by stating, “There is no evidence that the monthly reconciliations are reviewed upon completion.”, “The Auditor of State does not “approve” methods and components used in completing reconciliations.” and “the City could not account for differences between their book and bank balances in the amounts of $21,455 and $17,142 at December 31, 2004 and December 31, 2005 respectively.”

Even more shocking, the State Auditor was so critical of the way the Treasurer’s Office is run, they “recommend that Council or an appointee of Council, review and sign off on the reconciliations thereby indicating approval and promoting timeliness of reconciliations.”

While council has no statutory authority over other elected officials, the State Auditor is so concerned they are recommending oversight nonetheless. Norwood’s citizens should be concerned about the lack of accountability in the Treasurer’s office.

I stand ready to offer the voters of Norwood the leadership experience and commitment to excellence needed in the Treasurer’s office. My experience with staff supervision and meeting goals in the private and government sector will serve me well. My previous jobs have required me to streamline processes and initiate new procedures to save my employer money. My engineering degree provides me with the analytical skills needed to get the Treasurer’s Office running properly.

My wife and I are very involved in community events. From the Norwood 4th of July Fireworks Committee, Norwood Moose Lodge, and Relay for Life to WCET’s Action Auction, we are always looking for fulfilling volunteer opportunities. We have lived here for 12 ½ years and are proud to call Norwood home.

I understand that too much government, as well as too little, is a waste of taxpayer’s money. The basic and efficient operation of our government offices is critical, so our tax dollars are spent wisely. So I pledge to have the office maintain regular business hours, hire a full time qualified staff to work to restructure and modernize the office, as well as work with both the City Auditor and City Council to balance the city’s budget.

I will be accessible to the Administration, City Council and Department Heads to assist in any financial issues. Additionally, I personally pledge to keep regular office hours and to attend City Council meetings.

Finally, I will bring accountability, efficiency and real change to Norwood’s Treasurer’s Office.

You can contact me via the web at, via email at, my website at or by phone at 396-6683.

I am running for City Treasurer because…it’s Your Money, My Money, Our Money.

Tom Brown

Monday, October 19, 2009

Candidate blog series: Ward 4 candidate Todd Tittle (R)

My name is Todd Tittle, candidate for Norwood City Council in Ward 4. For the last 10 years my wife Missy and our four children have enjoyed living in the neighborhood surrounding our home on Warren Avenue. In that time I’ve been active in the Norwood Relay for Life, the Norwood Fireworks Committee, and in serving our church community.

I work in the Information Technology field but have also committed myself to using my skills to help others in both the local and global community, including efforts in developing countries in southern Africa and in our local community. My belief is that your community is what you make it and that when you give back with your time and talents it benefits the city as a whole. As your elected representative I will bring my skills and commitment to community to my job on Norwood City Council.

Over the last several years I have walked the streets, spoken with residents, participated in community events and listened carefully to your concerns about our Ward. I’ve heard you talk about quality of life issues like street repair, sidewalks, safety, parking, traffic, litter and our parks. As a private citizen, I’ve advocated for change and action. As an elected official, I’ll make sure your voice is heard, your concerns are respected and that action is taken

During Council’s evaluation of the Norwood Health Department, I joined the voices of those supporting the continued operation of this valuable department and its critical services. I heard many wonderful stories about how our Health Department helped a loved one, responded to a health-related issue, and generally made our community a better, safer place to live. That is why I stood in support of our Health Department. My opponent instead chose to stifle the voice of the public. Several people I talked to felt he was disrespectful of those who chose to express their concerns. Public input and opinion are an important part of what makes Democracy the greatest political system in the world. It provides each of us the freedom to speak our mind and to vote to make a difference in where we live.

With your vote, I can continue efforts to improve our neighborhood and our city. As your elected representative, I can give you a voice in our great city’s future. As always, feel free to contact me via email at or by phone 631-7268 just to ask a question or voice a concern.

Todd Tittle

Candidate blog series: Ward 4 candidate John Mumper (D)

Dear CBN Readers:

I am John Mumper and I am running for re-election to Council Ward Four.

Here are a few comments:
We have brought the City of Norwood back from financial disaster, but there are reasons to believe that this economy and the loss of some of our earnings tax base may cause us to experience some slippage in the next year and a half. We must continue to tightly monitor our expenditures and secure our revenue sources to guarantee that we do not slip back into fiscal trouble. There are no government entities that are currently in better shape that we are, at present, but there is still a threat of the recession hitting us in the near future.

During the past term, Norwood City Council held open meetings to review the expense of maintaining our Norwood Health Department. During these meetings I constantly tried to inform the public that the review of any city department was a function of city council. I emphasized that it was a review. During this review we brought in the Hamilton County Health Commissioner to inform us on the cost of having them provide the service of our health department. At the end of this departmental review council voted to maintain our own health department. These meetings were never intentionally slanted to one side or the other on the question of keeping our health department. This was a review of the health department. We had similar reviews of our Building Department and the 911 Communications Department. We found out during these reviews that these
departments were well run and much better for our city to maintain. I feel that I must set the record straight because of comments arising during this election season.

I promise to continue a careful watch on our City by maintaining a balanced budget and reviewing the city departments and their expenditures.

Please see my Bio below.

  1. Chairman of Committee of the Whole, Active Member of Safety Committee, Finance
  2. Committee and Law and Ordinance Committee.
  3. Prior Council Experience: 1976-77, 1984-85, 2004-present.
  4. Lifelong resident of the 4th Ward.

  1. BSBA in Accounting from Xavier University.with 39+ years experience in accounting.
  2. Currently working for Wayne Coates, Hamilton County Recorder, as his Finance Director.

  1. Past: Norwood Knothole, Norwood YMCA, Norwood Bi-Centennial Committee
  2. Present: Norwood Day Parade, Holy Trinity Festival, Variety Players, Men's Club and Building & Grounds.

Family Man: Married to Kathy (Dettmer) 39 years. We have been blessed with 6 children and 11 grandchildren, most currently residing in the City of Norwood.

Real Results:
  1. Active member of Finance Committee that maintained city services during three years of negative cash flow brought on by past Administrations.
  2. Instrumental in obtaining grant funds for 2009 Hunter Park addition of restrooms.
  3. Linden Pointe development has replaced a 20 year eyesore and will continue to progress. The majority of the first building is now occupied.
  4. Old Kaesemeyer Dairy building, at Carthage and Dale, has been dramatically remodeled for a new Norwood business, Cinna Health Products.
  5. Support aggressive procedures in dealing with absentee landlords and problem properties. We have been responsible for the demolition of 11 “eyesore“ vacant properties, 6 in Ward Four, and continue to pursue more.
  6. Approved the funding of new playground equipment for Fenwick Park in 2009 with a NatureWorks grant providing the majority of the funding.
I can be contacted at 531-3863 or with your issues and concerns.

John Mumper

Candidate blog series: Ward 3 candidate Donna Laake (R)

“Working for the good of the City.” It’s more than just a campaign slogan…it’s been my way of life since moving to Norwood in 1975. You probably know me best as the health commissioner at the Norwood Health Department since I served in that capacity for over 13 years and as a public health nurse for over 3 years. My years serving you at your health department were very rewarding and I saw the need for services in the community every day. That is why I fought so hard to keep the Norwood Health Department open in 2008 despite attempts by several members of the current Council to shut it down. With your help, we won and the health department continues to serve Norwood residents. With H1N1 (swine flu) at our doorstep, imagine the difference in planning and preparation if the opposition had their way and the health department were closed. Today as we speak, personnel that were hired during my tenure are continuing to implement the “Pan Flu Plan” that I authored several years ago and are working closely with Norwood City Schools to protect your children and grandchildren. I heard you loud and clear in 2008…now it’s our turn to make government open and honest and receptive to residents’ concerns.

A registered nurse by profession for over 38 years, I currently work part time at a local pediatric hospital as an Injury Prevention Coordinator. I was the first woman elected to Norwood City Council in 1979 and served 4 years during some of the hardest financial times in Norwood history. I served as Clerk of Council for 2 years and organized that office from years of neglect. I am involved in many activities and organizations in our city. I am a member of the Norwood Tree Board (you’ve probably seen me planting flowers throughout the city each year), Norwood Business & Professional Women’s Club, Norwood City Schools Health Advisory Council, Norwood City Schools Business Advisory Council, Norwood Moose, Norwood Relay for Life and several other civic/service organizations. I was fortunate enough to receive the “Indian Award” from the Norwood Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008, the Knights of Columbus “Woman of the Year” in 2007, “Distinguished Service Award” from the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners in 2008 and the Kiwanis “Woman of the Year” in 1994.

I have been married to Robert (Bob) Laake, a lifelong Norwood resident, for over 37 years. We have two adult, married children: Kevin (Norwood class of 1995) and Rebecca, Norwood class of 1999). We were blessed two years ago with our first grandchild and have been the typical grandparents. I am very active at Holy Trinity Church.

I will bring the same dedication and passion to City Council that I brought to the Norwood Health Department. My top priorities if elected include financial stability, improving city infrastructure and marketing Norwood as a great place to do business, work and live. I believe that we need to keep a very close watch on our housing stock and assure that complaints are investigated promptly and to a conclusion. We must keep our local court system so that offenders are dealt with quickly and firmly in Norwood. City personnel should be provided with what they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. I believe that your councilperson should answer phone calls and emails from constituents and work to help resolve concerns of residents in Ward 3. My only promise is this: to be PROFESSIONAL when representing you and your concerns and to keep you informed, not just during campaign season, but throughout the year. Norwood is a much different city than it was in 1979 because of planners and visionaries who believed we could survive and even thrive. I would like to be a part of the planning for what Norwood can be in the next 30 years. I ask for your vote in November to help me continue “working for the good of the city.”

Visit for more information or email me at

Donna Laake

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Candidate blog series: President of Council candidate Jane Grote (R)

I have spent the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (except July) for 23 of the last 24 years at Norwood City Council meetings as either the President of Council or Clerk of Council. This has given me a unique position as an observer of the tremendous changes which have occurred in my hometown.

I have seen Surrey Square built and I have seen it transformed. I have seen factories closed and I have seen retail stores never known in Cincinnati opening. in Norwood. I have seen railroad tracks removed from the Central Business District and debates on light rail which would return railroad tracks to Montgomery Road. I have seen police cars sponsored by local businesses because the city had no money to buy them and new police officers hired when no other community could afford to do so. I have seen houses change from multiple sleeping rooms to one-family dwellings and over 150 houses disappear altogether. I have seen grade schools close and technical colleges open. I have seen Norwood made the butt of jokes and Norwood admired for its progress. I have seen lawsuits, bickering, and citizens coming together for the good of the City. I have seen three Mayors, two Treasurers, two Auditors, five Law Directors and nearly a hundred different council members. In the words of the poet, what a long, strange trip it has been! And one that I have enjoyed thoroughly. I hope to have another two years as a witness to history of the town I truly love.

Jane Grote

Friday, October 16, 2009

Candidate blog series: Ward 2 Steve Thornbury (R)

Today, the CBN Blog has invited all of us who are running for office to tell you why we think we deserve your vote. In a minute I’ll tell you why I think I’ve earned your vote to once again represent the great folks in Ward 2. First, however, I want to talk about what I think is the most important vote you’re being asked to cast on Tuesday, November 3.

Roughly a month after I was sworn into office on January 1st of 2008, Jim Stith was chosen by the Norwood Republican Central Committee to fill the vacant position of Auditor for the City of Norwood. He inherited a department that was badly in need of, well, just about everything. What it needed most, however, was strong leadership to re-energize a demoralized the staff, re-organize its operations and update a seriously antiquated IT system. What Jim Stith has achieved in the last 20 months as Auditor is nothing short of miraculous. In less than two years he has taken a department that was spiraling into chaos and transformed it into, without question, the smartest, most efficient office in City Hall. He has been present for administrative reports and to answer any question asked of him at every Council meeting and nearly every Finance Committee meeting and has created the most open, transparent and informative web site in Norwood City Government. (

Now, because of a ruling by the Ohio Secretary of State (a Democrat), Mr. Stith is being forced to run in November for the remaining two years of the Auditor’s four-year term. Frankly, the ruling was a procedural victory for the local Norwood Democrats who understood that, given four total years of outstanding work by Mr. Stith and his staff, they would have no chance of unseating him. Their hope this November is that enough people will still be unaware of Jim Stith’s outstanding work and will, instead, choose to vote for an old Norwood political family name in the person of the son of the current Safety/Service Director. And while “Junior” appears to by a nice guy, clearly he’s no Jim Stith.

That’s why it is so important that when you fill out your absentee ballot in the coming days or visit your local polling place on Tuesday, November 3 to make sure you cast your vote for Jim Stith for Auditor.

So, why have I chosen to spend roughly half of my 700 words allotted to this blog entry advocating for Jim Stith? The simple answer is that if I’m going to remain involved in Norwood City Government, I want Jim and more people like him running our City. He proves the point I’ve been trying to make to anyone who will listen for the last ten years: That, with the right people in office, government works. Sometimes it just has a hard time getting the word out.

That’s why in my first term on Council as a member of the Streets and Infrastructure Committee I took it upon myself to publish details of the 2009 Street Maintenance Program in the Norwood Star and online here on the CBN Blog (as well as on my Ward 2 web site - And why, when the current Administration began quietly pushing the idea of shutting down the Norwood Health Department, I forced the discussion about the future of the Norwood Health Department out of the back rooms and onto the floor of Council.

Keeping citizens informed has been a big part what I do for my constituents and will continue to do as long as I’m representing the people of Norwood.

Bottom line: As an elected representative and I take the idea of representation very seriously. That’s why I am asking for your vote for re-election to Norwood City Council and asking for your vote for Jim Stith for Auditor. Thanks, and congratulations for reading this far.

If you would like to speak to me about any issues or concerns, please call me anytime on my cell phone at 373-9653 or email me at

Steve Thornbury

Candidate blog series: Ward 2 candidate Gordon Williams (D)

My name is Gordon Williams and I'm running as the Democratic Candidate for Norwood Council in Ward 2. The question that I have been asked a lot is why am I running? One of the reasons that I chose to run, is that in the neighborhood I grew up in (Regent Ave), there has always been problems between Xavier students and the residents. But it has gotten worse in the past two years.

To give you an example on Friday September 25, 2009 at the corner of Regent and Wayland two doors up from the house I grew up in (My brother still lives there), Xavier students that live there had a block party that got out of hand. You had people throwing beer bottles across the street (almost hitting some of the residents’ cars) and 15 to 20 people urinating outside. At one point, a bus from Xavier brought students to the party. I will give credit to our police force because when they were called, they broke the party up in about 10 minutes. The problem I have is that we are reacting to the problem, and I would like to be proactive to these problems.

I have already had a meeting with James McShane Senator, Xavier Student Government Association and Kathryn Rosenbaum Editor-in-Chief Xavier Newswire on this subject, and we are working on solutions to resolve these types of issues.

If I'm elected to council, these are some of things that I will address for the residents of Ward 2.

Gordon Williams

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Candidate blog series: Ward 1 candidate Al Boehme (R)

Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!
Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! and Blah! Blah! Blah! again.
I am tired of the political rhetoric. Promises, promises; but only partially kept. Oops I’m sorry I ended a sentence with a verb: or was it an adverb? I wasn’t very smart in school but I sure am now!

I’m tired of our governments, both federal and local, being on this agenda and forgetting about us. That’s one reason why I am running. I also want to serve my community with my lifelong residence experience.

I will use my several years Zoning Board Experience to help correct the zoning errors of the past: my 40 years as an electrician/contractor on safety and building issues, my 10 years as a Real Estate agent to help with the local housing issues.

I wish to demand more clarity in government, not keep secrets. Professional politicians and bureaucrats hide under rocks in the dark with their political works and bring them out to dazzle people in time to win elections, like now.

The present administration hasn’t done anything great. What has been accomplished is what I expect my government representatives to do. Oops I ended a sentence with a preposition. Sorry Mrs. Schmidt. Forgive me!

Any government official elected, or appointed, is expected to work hard in the best interest of the citizens, regardless of the party in power.

I am a middle of the road person politically with Christian/conservative values. I am not a professional politician! I am not a bureaucrat! I am a regular guy. I feel comfortable going to dinner with my congressman or at your back yard barbeque. I’m a retired Real Estate Agent and a semi- retired electrician. I was relieved of my Zoning Board appointment as my term expired.

I still work and get my hands dirty. I do volunteer work in and around the city. I do electrical work for schools and churches at no charge. I put back into the system.

I think it is appalling that all 16 years old must file taxes, especially if they are non-working students; that an attempt was made to sub lease our health service out to another government agency; that we have a childish recycling program; that criminals are terrorizing the community and then being released back to repeat again and again and that major city projects are not being bid out and just given to select people. I am tired of closed door meetings which are a violation of Ohio Sunshine Laws.

Let’s get a clear plastic suggestion box in the main area of city hall so residents can express themselves or make suggestions. Of course the president of council and/or the secretary should have the key.

Less government, open government, fair government: I will keep my nose in our ward, not the whole city.

I will get my motorcycle out now that election time is here and the roads are being repaired.

I need your vote on Nov. 3rd so I can serve you.

Al Boehme
AKA: Big Al, Too tall
Any questions or thoughts call me.
Home phone: 631-6607
Email: bafo@current@net

Candidate blog series: Ward 1 candidate Keith Moore (D)

Dear CBN Readers –
I’m Keith Moore, and I’m running for reelection to Council Ward One. Before we get to who I am and why I’m running, let me ask about something that recently came up. Not a totally new idea, but a slightly different focus.

Over the years, there have been a number of groups formed to work on quality of life in Norwood. The more notable ones include CBN (which produced this blog) and the Norwood Citizen’s Association (or something like that), which kind of morphed into the West Norwood Neighborhood Association, which produced the Substation and Citizens on Patrol. Members of WNNA also worked on a Neighborhoods of Choice program for Norwood.

But I was recently asked about a Housing Committee, and it was the Housing part that stuck in my head. I like that. It’s focused. There are a hundred ideas out there with potential, maybe too many. But narrowing the field down to housing could be a great start.

I’m curious whether there would be support for a group like that and, more importantly, people willing to get and stay involved. Personally, I’d start with the Neighborhoods of Choice materials and work from there. Let me know.

And now back to our regularly scheduled campaign blog:

I’m Keith Moore and I’m running for reelection to Council Ward One. I live on Carter with my wife Lisa and two sons, Nathan (9) and Elijah (9 months). On Council, I serve as Chairman of the Community Development and Small Business Committee, Chairman of the Law and Ordinance Committee, and President Pro Tem.

We have made a lot of progress over the last few years putting Norwood on solid financial footing, addressing neighborhood problems, improving streets and infrastructure, and attracting new and better businesses. Some recent highlights are:

Commercial Development
■ Linden Pointe
■ Surrey Square with Kroger, Chipotle and Daata India
■ New Medical Buildings at the old MAB and on Sherman and Norwood
■ Seek Research’s first class rehab on Norwood Avenue

Parks and Buildings
■ Waterworks Pool renovations
■ Waterworks/Lindner Park upgrades
■ Hunter Park restrooms
■ Burwood Park repairs
■ Fenwick Park playground & lights

■ CRA Tax Abatement for improvements to property and new construction.
■ Comprehensive Housing Study
■ Eyesores torn down
■ Building Permits Streamlined
■ Shopping Cart Containment Systems at Kroger and Walgreens

I also arranged for Property Advisors and the Community Building Institute to identify problems areas and the best next steps to pursue - at no cost to Norwood. Some have been implemented, like the CRA.

Certainly, there is a lot more to be done, and I would like the chance to keep working on issues like these. What happens in the next two years depends on how the economy does. Revenues are up significantly through the first half of the year, but we’re starting to see some slippage that makes me think that things will be tight next year. But thanks to the work we have already done, we are in a better position than Cincinnati, Hamilton County, or the State.

If reelected, my priorities will be continuing work on the ideas from the Comprehensive Housing Study, full implementation of the CRA and Vacant Building programs, and a Sidewalk and Curb Assistance Program. And, depending on the response, a Housing Committee.

I welcome your comments and questions, whether here or at

Thank you for the opportunity to make my community a better place.