Endorsements: Vote for just three

Matt Westerhold
Oct 14, 2013


The Erie County Business Political Action Committee endorsed four candidates this week in the Sandusky city commission race: Dick Brady, Dennis Murray Jr., Scott Schell and Naomi Twine. 

The business PAC left out one candidate: Commissioner Diedre Cole. The PAC only considered candidates whose names will appear on the ballot. 

Cole is a write-in candidate. If residents want to re-elect her they will need to "place an "X" in the circle and write-in her name, "Diedre Cole."

My recommendation is for voters to place an "X" in the circle and write in "Diedre Cole" in the space provided. 

Cole's write-in status makes it a greater challenge for her to get re-elected, but her nearly four years on commission make her a worthy candidate nonetheless. She was part of the successful 2010-11 city commission term, and since then she's refused to sit back silently while the current majority coalition on commission moved like a school of blind fish swimming aimlessly the last two years.

Cole fought to right the wrongheaded approach the police chief search committee took before it finally chose John Orzech to be police chief. She took enormous heat for that from other commissioners. If you're pleased Orzech is the police chief, commissioner Wes Poole and Cole are the only commissioners to thank for that. 

She also has stood against the majority coalition on commission and attempted to hold city manager Nicole Ard accountable for skipping finance committee meetings, for cobbling together a 2013 city budget that did not address the city's fiscal challenges and for fouling the disciplinary and termination processes for city employees that has cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in less than two years. For city employees, getting fired by Ard seems to equal to job security. 

While members of the majority coalition continue struggling to finish a performance review of Ard that was due 10 months ago, Cole submitted an exhaustive report on the deficiencies she sees that detail Ard's shortfalls and includes an action plan for improvement. Poole, who is in the middle of his first term on commission, also already completed the task, also submitting a review critical of Ard's job performance.

So here's who I will vote for Nov. 5: Dennis Murray Jr., Dick Brady and an "X" in the circle writing in "Diedre Cole" in the space provided on the ballot. 

Murray is the most experienced legislator among all the candidates, having served on city commission as ex officio mayor and also two terms in Columbus as a state representative. His demeanor is patient, thoughtful and deliberate and he will serve the city well if elected. He also should be appointed ex officio mayor — again — if he wins, based on that legislative experience. 

Brady will bring a businessman's experience and perspective to commission and he knows the challenges the city faces. He will be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and understands how important it is to seize every opportunity to expand the city's and the region's reputation as a world class destination place. He's shown he can listen to residents and business leaders, hear them and act upon the many important issues the city faces. 
That's who I'm selecting Nov. 5 — Murray, Brady and an "X" in the circle writing in "Diedre Cole" in the space provided on the ballot — but voters would be wise to also consider Twine and Schell based on the endorsements from the PAC, which was started in 2006. 
The PAC chairman, Allen Nickles, a Sandusky business owner and CPA, has volunteered his services to the city for more than three decades. He knows more about the city's budget and its finances than anyone. The other members of the PAC are Lee Alexakos, a Cedar Fair vice president; Sharon Barnes, owner of Barnes Nursery; Bob Hower, owner of Lee's Chicken; John Pheiffer from the Battery Park marina; and former ex officio mayor and business owner Craig Stahl. 
That's a stellar pro-business slate of people whose opinions are very much worthy of consideration. The best path to addressing the city's challenges is prosperity, and all the individuals on the PAC committee have the business experience to know the paths to prosperity. They know prosperity brings jobs, and jobs will solve many, even most, of the problems the city faces. 



I must have missed something, why is Cole not on the ballot?


Ms. Cole failed to properly file papers to be placed on the ballot. I can't remember if the issue was the Petitions were improperly prepared or some other issue.

In any event, while I believe she should be re-elected; one could see where voters would question her work ethic/professionalism for not taking the ballot seriously.


Yeah, you have a point there... It really does not look good if you mess up your paperwork to run for office. Thanks for the info.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

From what I know she missed the deadline because she was out of state caring for her dying mother who did end up passing shortly after the submission deadline. I don't believe it was a question of work ethic on her part especially as she is trying to still go for it as a write-in candidate.

That is something that I could not do as I was the one who didn't sign two of my petitions thus invalidating them and dropping me below the requirements. If you call out anyone's work ethic or professionalism regarding city office let it be me.


Thank you for the full story.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You're welcome and what I said was meant to be informative and not challenging or condescending to anyone. But I don't want Diedre's circumstances confused with my mistake. Thank you for trying to figure out candidates, hopefully others are putting some time into picking who they want to serve them on this council and others!


Tim....She stated she was not running "due to family problems", a sick mother I believe who recently passed and she did not have the time for it. HOWEVER, Ms Cole knew her seat was up soon and I would have thought she might have gotten help from someone if she really wanted to maintain her seat. Passing a petition does NOT require the candidate to do so by themselves I am told by the election board.

Julie R.

I wouldn't vote for an attorney if GOD HIMSELF told me to ...... not that GOD ever would.

Stop It

god has no say..."if" he exists, he just watches..


Schell, are you kidding me? This guy has a history and he isn't even on the commission yet. What gives with this PAC and their credibility when they can endorse someone who has a past with the city?

Truth or Dare

Schell isn't the Lone Ranger here! As for that Income Tax hike, won't be voting for it. Question; With FRMC being one of the city's largest employers, if not the largest, how many working there won't get a vote on a raise in their income tax? How bout we raise the Admission Tax, and why isn't that ever an option?


Too bad you don't have to be a homeowner to run for public office. Or vote for that matter.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks milemarkerzero. It sounds like you also would approve a poll tax and other methods to limit who can vote to just those who meet your standards. Interesting. 


I don't know about the voting part, but I think our so called political figures, even at the grass-roots level, should have some credentials in order to lead. And If they have credentials, they should be able to work.

That isn't limiting anyone to run for office, it just might make them a better leader. We ask that of most leaders in other fields, why not our politicians (and not just the one's in Washington, either)?

Truth or Dare

How bout this, all those getting paid by the Taxpayers, which I am, a taxpayer, maybe, just maybe due to the huge conflict of interest there seems to be and the inability to serve the public in an open, honest manner, no one on the government payroll, elected, appointed or otherwise hired/fired, or receiving some kind of grant, subsidy, tax break, kickback or using an underhanded way of getting tax $$$'s and property shouldn't be able to vote, whether they own their home or not. Now that sounds fair to me! What do ya all think, good idea or what?!

By the way, I don't really anticipate an answer to the Admission Tax question. It's quite clear why it's a taboo subject/suggestion! We're not all asleep, in a trance, drinking Kool-Aid or high on crack!


From the "Between the Lines" article last week with Stahl and Nickels.

Schell was fired from the position of Economic Development Head for his role in working with former City Manager Kline in trying to return $100,000 in City funds to the botched Marina District Project and laughing at racist remarks made by Kline.

Brady decided to not run for City Commission after filling a one year vacancy sighting "spending time with family" then opted to announce a run for County Commissioner weeks later. The City paid him 5 figures for a sign his company designed while he was a City Commissioner.

Why elect candidates with questionable practices and history with the City?


Truthfully this sounds more like a campaign message for Ms Cole than anything else.

To me there are several problems I see with Ms. Cole. I have to agree with Truth or Dare on accepting substities, etc, while taking any kind of tax money to live. While I hadn't thought about it until he/she brought it up, that comment is filled with truth.

Ms Cole brought a great deal of uproar over the police chief committee and since I was physically there that Monday night at the commission meeting. In my opinion, she "backpedalled" a great deal on BTL on what she said that day VS what she said the previous Monday. Unfortunate thing to do. (And before anyone jumps my throat for it, including the SR people, it wasn't her entire statement, but most of it to which I am referring.)

As for the disciplining of Ms Ard, Ms Cole had JUST AS MUCH TIME as the others to take care of what needed to be done and failed to do so. In my book, Ms Cole has failed in her duties as well. Doing a multipage document "during the uproar" is hardly doing one's job. The entire Commission failed the residents the year before by not doing the FIRST evaluation. I hardly think she is the "lone voice of reason" in the Ard fiasco as much as some people think she is.

I will not pretend to like Ms Cole's leadership or lack thereof, but it seems to me that she has had a chance, as has Brady and Murray. They failed to live up to expectations as well as anyone else.

Pavedparadise doesn't seem to have much nice to say about any of the others. Perhaps this city would be better off if we just had a total write in for filling all positions and be done with it.


Well Matt, that is my opinion. Truth of Dare, and Gramafun just spelled it out better. And yes, I do have standards that I use when voting. One is that the candidate is qualified, has a business and/or law background, and no adjendas. I don't like Diedre Cole, nor have I ever. IMO the only way she was elected in the first place was that she was a co-pilot on the Nuesse bandwagon. But, that is just my opinion which like yourself, I am entitled to.