Prelude to debate

Matt Westerhold
Mar 23, 2010


The Register will present candidate forums for the Sandusky city commission, Sandusky school board and the Perkins Township trustee races later this month at the State Theatre. 

A prelude to those took place Thursday at Sandusky High School, however, during the Erie County Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Sandusky High School. It was a pretty good presentation by the chamber, given the unwieldy nature of these “debates,” but the Q&A was not as penetrating as one might like. Hopefully, the Register can build on the fine work the chamber began by providing deeper answers from candidates to difficult questions. 

The big winner Thursday was challenger Mike Printy in the Perkins Township race. In the city commission race, candidates Diedre Cole, incumbent city commissioner Craig Stahl and challenger Kim Nuesse stood out. 


Printy came out of the gate strong, questioning incumbent trustees Bill Dwelle and Tim Coleman about “turmoil” in the township caused by out-of-control lawsuits and counter lawsuits and the status of fired police Det. Al Jenkins, who is awaiting an arbitrator’s ruling on his termination.   

Printy was calm and confident. Dwelle and Coleman held their own but fell a bit short in their explanations in response to the concerns raised by the challenger. 

It was a good exchange among all three, but left more questions on the table than answers. 


It’s obvious city commission challenger Deidre Cole has given great thought and a lot of time studying the issues. Every time she spoke there was power in her voice that showed passionate commitment. She tooted her own horn eloquently and spoke of waterfront development, openness in government and collaboration with clear conviction. If performance equals leadership, then Cole won the night, hands down. 

Then there’s Craig. Craig, Craig, Craig. You have to love this guy despite all the baggage he brings to the table. 

In his opening statement, ex-officio mayor Craig Stahl held up his lightly clenched right hand, his thumb on his index finger and waved it in a circle as he ticked off all the things he said had been accomplished over the last four years. It was theater and it was well done, almost Bill Clinton-like. My guess: Stahl’s gotten some great coaching these past few weeks. He never once said, “I love Sandusky. We all love Sandusky.” 

Fired police Chief Kim Nuesse was the other winner in Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce forum. 

Nuesse was clear, but reserved, in every answer she provided. There’s so much meat on the table where she could have gone, but she chose decorum over hard debate. From a political standpoint, that might be a wise path for a candidate who very well might already have huge support due to the serious and costly mistakes Stahl and others made during the past two years. My guess is there will be more meat on the table during the Register’s candidate forum. 

Nuesse’s integrity shined through despite the expensive “integrity probe” of her launched by city manager Matt Kline, with a huge assist from Stahl and others, way back in February 2008. 

Nuesse wins just by being at the table, and if ever there was a woman with courage and commitment, she’s her.     


If you’re unsure who has integrity and who does not, just go back and read the transcripts from Nuesse’s civil service hearing. The transcripts are available at, but you’ll need more than a few minutes to read through them. The coordinated accusations from the frightened Sandusky police command staff and other public officials who wanted Nuesse out, are a mile wide but just an inch deep. 

And as you read the transcripts, remember this: Most, if not all of Nuesse’s accusers refused to allow their testimony to be videotaped, opting for a cloak of darkness over openness.   

But Nuesse, who was grilled by the city’s expensive hired attorneys for more hours than any other witness, allowed all of her testimony to be videotaped. She had the courage of her convictions. The other side had none.   

The city’s Civil Service Commission could finally bring an end to Kline’s integrity probe as early as next weak. The commission will meet Wednesday and can vote to accept the recommendation written by the city attorney for the hearing officer, judge Joseph Cirigliano; reject it and reinstate Nuesse; or table the whole matter for further deliberation. 

Whatever happens, it’s sure to put a twist in the trajectory of the campaign, and it very likely will come up when the candidates meet again at the Register forums later this month. 

It will be interesting.




Will the Sandusky Register cover the Huron City Council forum on October 22nd?

From the Huron Library website:

Huron City Candidates Night at McCormick School on Thursday, October 22 at 7 pm. Meet the eight candidates running for four City Council seats in the November 3 election. The Candidates Night will be conducted according to the guidelines of the League of Women Voters.

Scheduled to participate are Sam Artino, Joel Bickley, Russell Critelli, Richard Hardy, Brad Hartung, Nancy Thornhill, Phyllis Wassner and Richard Wennes.

Sponsored by the Huron Chamber of Commerce and the Huron Public Library.

Oliver Hardy
Mr. Westerhold, I did view the three videos that Firelands411 posted on his web site concerning the three Perkins candidates, two of whom are up for re-election. I still see that you are after Dwelle.
How and why did you form this opinion of Dwelle? Is it because he went after questionable practices in the Perkins Police Department by making sure the inventory of the PPD was all accounted for? From the Youtube videos provided by FIrelands411, it appears that some Perkins residents got tired of the waste of money and the questionable practices of former trustees. Therefore, they asked Dwelle to run as a trustee again, even though he has been slammed for years by the biased reporting of the Sandusky Register in the "news" and commentary (opinion) articles. Mr. Westerhold wrote: "Printy came out of the gate strong, questioning incumbent trustees Bill Dwelle and Tim Coleman about “turmoil” in the township caused by out-of-control lawsuits and counter lawsuits and the status of fired police Det. Al Jenkins, who is awaiting an arbitrator’s ruling on his termination."   Does Mr. Printy feel that Jenkins was unjustly fired for dishonesty? Does Mr. Printy feel that McClung, Matthews and Fant, all connected to the PPD, were justified in filing a lawsuit against Dwelle? Does Mr. Printy feel that Perkins was being run in an honest way and accountable to the Perkins residents before Dwelle was elected? Those are questions only Mr. Printy can answer. From my observations of the three Perkins candidate videos, Dwelle came in first, Coleman second and Printy a distant third. There was a BATF raid on the PPD, the former police chief was indicted by the Feds and Jenkins was fired because of dishonesty due in part because of the BATF raid. Plus there is an old SR video that shows Jenkins yelling at a public Perkins meeting and telling Dwelle how to do his job about checking the inventory of the PPD. Township trustees must follow the law and must make sure that inventories and money are all accounted for, not have some police person yelling at them and telling them how they will do their job. Those Perkins lawsuits involved the Perkins PD and were started by McClung, Matthews and Fant. Then you had more lawsuits also involving the PPD, one of which included the Fostoria police chief against McClung. But there were no "turmoil" events in the Perkins Fire and Highway departments, only from the Perkins PD. Perkins PD now has a new police chief and therefore new leadership. Perhaps Mr. Westerhold could interview the new police chief about Dwelle. My opinion is that Dwelle has a pair of brass ones and he went through with his promise to bring ACCOUNTABILITY back to Perkins. Dwelle took the hard road by facing personal lawsuits filed by members of the Perkins PD. BTW, the BATF court trial of the former police chief still is not finished. It is my belief that Deidre Cole will make an excellent city commissioner if she follows through with her campaign promises. I am somewhat neutral about Nuesse at this time but she does have excellent credentials. In addition, I believe that she was railroaded by the powers that be in Sandusky and Erie County. In other words, I believe that she was railroaded by the powers that be, some of whom also railroaded Elsebeth Baumgartner. Mr. Westerhold,
Before you write your commentaries (opinions), do you ever listen to or look at both sides to a story? It appears to me that you make up an opinion first and then refuse to look at ALL of the facts. As a journalist, you must look at ALL of the facts and report factual news.









Just Asking

I agree with Oliver Hardy.  Printy seems to be stuck in the past.  The lawsuits that he talked about have been settled and belong in the past.  With the appointment of Chief Klamar it seems that most people have been able to get on with their jobs and lives for the betterment of the Township.  I say most, because unfortunately there are still a few such as Jenkins, that seem to believe that they should still have loyalty to McClung.  It boggles my mind, but who signs their paychecks?  I believe that McClung would sell out just about anyone if he thought he would gain by it.