LOCAL VOICES: Attack politics is killing Sandusky

By RONALD G. KAUFMAN What is wrong with Sandusky? The answer is clearly on the editorial page o
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

By RONALDĀ G. KAUFMAN

What is wrong with Sandusky? The answer is clearly on the editorial page of the Dec. 7 Register. All you have to do is read between the lines to really get the answer.

A local columnist at the top of the page criticizes the Marina District and the potential option of passing the legislation on an emergency basis to eliminate the second vote of the citizens of Sandusky on the project, presumably because the first vote didn't get response the opponents wanted: a no vote. Why did our city leaders put a non-binding vote on the ballot in the first place? Why didn't they eliminate that step and let the referendum take place then? This current referendum would not be possible, had our leaders done their job in the first place. Now we have a duplicate cost that could have been avoided.

The same opinion asks some very appropriate questions about how the project would be financed and the costs to the taxpayers, but also clearly is an attack on those of us who are successful, lifelong residents of Sandusky. Why is it necessary to attack those who live on the Chaussee, pay the highest taxes of all in the city and get the least service: no street lights, no snow plowing, no street maintenance and no reduction in taxes. And by the way, we happen to have high rise condos on one end and a rather large commercial development on the other end, that we live with every day.

Battery Park is and has been a commercial marina for as long as I can remember, available to whomever can pay the price for the dock spaces, that have to compete with the other spaces on the waterfront.

On the bottom of the page is the Register's publisher's column; he criticizes the re-election of the same old tired leadership to the Erie County government. It recognizes Murray was using the city commission seat as a way of "getting to the statehouse and that he'd work party angles as needed to secure that position."

My question to Mr. Phares is, "Are you really surprised?" Hasn't it been apparent to you that this community has been controlled primarily by the supporters of one political party for a long time, with only token representation of the other party. Didn't you recognize the campaign for state representative was going on for over a year?

But party politics really shouldn't be the problem. More importantly, it is the problem with our citizens voting what they perceive as good for themselves and their personal desires; from the pitting of one segment of the community against the other, based on wealth, religion or race; from too many of our elected officials doing what they need to do to stay in office and not making the hard decisions based on the best interest of the community or country as a whole.

Having lived, been educated and having worked in this community for over 60 years, it is apparent to me that the leadership you desire won't be elected as long as we continue to vote for any of the selfish reasons stated above.

The Erie County and Sandusky city governments are very large businesses with very large budgets. Years ago we used to have leaders serving in those positions who were successful business owners and operators who brought a great deal of experience from those businesses. They served for little or nothing.

Today, we seem to confuse the work ethic of the candidates for the commission seats or their representation of a segment of the community as the only criteria needed to fulfill the duties of the office. All else is ignored.

We need the leaders. Their age and experience will make the complicated big business of government work for all of us, if we elect people willing to serve for the good of the community, and not the personal benefits or prestige. We need to make certain this type of candidate is being elected. Neither political party has the corner on this market of candidates. We need leaders who are used to making important decisions, willing to do so, and willing to take responsibility for them.

We need leaders who recognize that government cannot do all things for all people and should not do things that only serve a small segment of our community. Leaders who see public service as a responsibility, not a perk, will be needed to turn this city and county around. Leaders that recognize that limited government will better serve all of us.

This type of leader stopped stepping up to the plate long ago when politics became personal attacks. When the rare candidate with this attitude does come forward, we as citizens get lost in the negative political rhetoric, party politics and selfish demands so they are lost. Until we change, this community will not prosper.