elections

An Open Letter to Councilman Neal Oury Regarding the Non-Partisan Loveland City Council

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Dear Councilman Oury,

My name is Ryan Kulik. My wife and I were city dwellers who wanted to find a growing and quiet community to raise our family. Loveland had all the things we wanted, good schools, beautiful scenery, and welcoming people. I moved my family to Loveland six years ago because we fell in love with the land.

Sorry for the bad joke.

Over the last six years I have become increasingly involved with the community. I volunteer for various groups, I ride the bike trail regularly, and I have been very active in voicing my own personal opinions on the politics in our great community. Not long after your election to City Council I helped create a watchdog group known as Eye on Loveland that distributes a weekly podcast where we highlight the actions of the City Council. I also write under the byline RD, The Loveland Tattler. I pay close attention to what is going on all over our community, and I have been paying extra close attention to the 2019 municipal elections.

That brings me to why I am writing you. Recently I posted an article on this very website that discusses the endorsement of current city council candidates by the Hamilton County GOP. The article seems to have upset you. In recent social media postings you have indirectly referenced my thoughts and have championed the idea that the Loveland City Council is a non-partisan body, and it is good for Democrats like Councilman Kent Blair and Republicans like yourself and the rest of the City Council to work together in harmony. You claim that partisan politics has no place in our community’s government.

I agree with you Councilman Oury.

I do not think any political party should be endorsing any candidate in the Loveland City Council race, and I do not believe any candidate should accept the endorsement of a partisan political group. We invite partisanship into our community when the leaders of our city go out and seek endorsements for partisan groups. I for one have never voted for any candidate in Loveland who has a partisan endorsement. In my mind that means the candidate cares more about their political party than they care for the entire community. Unfortunately that means I did not vote for you in 2017 because you proudly ran as an endorsed republican, and I will not vote for Kathy Bailey or Andrew Bateman because they are the only two candidates that have actively sought partisan endorsements. Bailey and Bateman are causing the problem you speak of Councilman Oury.

So I ask you this question Neal, what can we do to stop partisan political groups from taking over our city government? Do you have a plan? I personally believe in the right to free speech granted by the first Amendment to the United States Constitution, so I do not think the Hamilton County GOP should be silenced. Nor do I think any voices should be silenced, including ones that you, or the government, may not agree with. I am sure as a fellow American you would find dissension as an important part of what makes our country great.

Maybe we could encourage our leaders to practice the collaborative form of government you champion when you advocate for Democrats and Republicans to work together. We should start by encouraging the two candidates with a partisan endorsement, Kathy Bailey and Andrew Bateman, to reject the endorsement. We can bring the non-partisan ideals of our council back when we have leaders who act in a non-partisan manner.

I look forward to your leadership on this issue Councilman Oury. Be a man of your word and ask your supporters to reject any candidate who seeks a partisan endorsement. As you claim, partisanship has no place in our community. If you did not mean what you said, and you are trying to trick your Republican friends into voting for a Democrat, well I do know quite a few Democrats in Loveland that would like to move their ideas and philosophies forward in our fantastic community. Let me know how I can help.

Sincerely

Ryan D Kulik

Loveland Resident, Taxpayer, and The Loveland Tattler

Loveland Republicans Have Endorsed a Democrat

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On November 5th, the citizens of Loveland will go to the polls and elect three people to serve four years as their representatives on the City Council. Mayor Kathy Bailey and Councilwoman Angie Settell will be asking the voters for their support again, Councilman Kent Blair who was not elected to his seat, Mayor Bailey appointed him, will be asking voters for their support for the first time. Previous council candidate Andy Bateman, along with first time candidates Cory O’Donnell and Pat Ahr, round out the six person field.

Loveland’s municipal elections are considered non-partisan. You will not see a political party affiliation next to any candidates name on the ballot. Yet the candidates themselves are not non-partisan. All but one of the city council candidates has a declared political affiliation. Pat Ahr is listed as a registered independent. Mayor Bailey, Councilwoman Settell, and candidates Bateman and O’Donnell are all registered Republicans. Councilman Kent Blair is a registered Democrat. While the election is non-partisan, most of the candidates have a definite partisan loyalty.

Mayor Kathy Bailey has been particularly active in local republican politics over the last few years. She is a ward chair, she campaigns and works with other Republican campaigns to get their people in office. She has been called a “good republican” by many people associated with the local party. She has even selected a fellow Republican, Andy Bateman, to run on the ticket with her in the upcoming election.

Oh, she also picked the Democrat Kent Blair to run with her.

It should not be a surprise that Republican Kathy Bailey has decided to run, fund raise with, and promote Democrat Kent Blair. Kathy Bailey’s first significant act as mayor was to appoint Kent Blair to the open seat on Loveland’s City Council. She choose Blair because she felt like “he shared her values”. While Mayor Bailey has been trying to strengthen her Republican Party support, she also strengthened the Democratic Party by giving one of their members an influential place in the City of Loveland’s political future.

Yet Mayor Kathy Bailey is not alone in endorsing the values and philosophy of Democrats in Loveland. Recently the Hamilton County Republican Precinct Executives met to hand out endorsements for the upcoming 2019 municipal elections. The Republican Precinct Executives in Loveland are the people who are elected by Republicans on a partisan ballot to represent the party at the local level. These are not non-partisan “reach across the aisle” type positions. The Precinct Executives are the arm of the County party that is supposed to represent the philosophy and strategy of the GOP. The Precinct Executives voted 6-1 to endorse only Kathy Bailey and Andrew Bateman. The other candidates were not even present to speak on their candidacy. By being secretive, and not inclusive, the Loveland Precinct Executives supported Kathy Bailey’s chosen slate of two Republicans and one Democrat. The Loveland Republican Precinct Executives have decided to make a shadow endorsement of Democrat Kent Blair. They have helped Kathy Bailey legitimize and strengthen the opposition party in their own hometown.

It is obvious that Kathy Bailey, Andrew Bateman, and the large majority of the Republican Precinct executives wanted to have this meeting with no opposing voices. Mayor Bailey wanted to increase the chances of her victory by using the Hamilton County GOP’s endorsements, and at the same time wanted to enhance the chance of victory for Democrat Kent Blair by not having all the endorsements filled by republicans. This was a typical “back room deal” made between the republicans and democrats to work together and circumvent the wishes of the people who elected them. The endorsement process in Loveland was one of strategy and not one of promoting a political party’s philosophy. The Republican Precinct Executives want to ensure the elections of Kathy Bailey, Andy Bateman, and Kent Blair, and they do not care about ensuring the victory of the Republican Party. These kind of secret deals are why the younger generations are giving up on the current political organizations. Loveland’s Republicans are the authors of their own party’s failures.

It did not have to be this way. There are three seats and four Republicans running. The Precinct Executives are elected by republicans to serve the interests of their party. Yes, Kathy Bailey and Andy Bateman are Republicans, but so are Angie Settell and Cory O’Donnell. Ms. Settell is very active in the Hamilton County GOP being the leader of multiple Republican Clubs and a strong fundraiser for the party. Cory O’Donnell is an elected Republican Precinct Executive.

You read that right. A Republican Precinct Executive was passed over for endorsement by local Republicans so they could shadow endorse a Democrat. The Hamilton County GOP, who has not had a lot of successes in the last few years, decided to secretly back a Democrat for office rather than endorse a person who was elected by Republicans to represent the party’s philosophy and vision. The Hamilton County GOP did not even let Mr. O’Donnell or Ms. Settell the opportunity to make their case for being endorsed. Again, this is why the younger generations are giving up political parties. The powers that be in the Hamilton County GOP are allowing ill advised tactics by trying to trick loyal Republicans in Loveland to vote for a Democrat.

In the upcoming months, and throughout all of 2020, the local Republicans in Loveland, and the Hamilton County GOP are going to tell the voters that their party needs to band together and not let the Democrats continue their winning streak in Southwest Ohio. They will tell you this hoping that you forget that in 2019 prominent Loveland Republicans met in secret to shadow endorse a Democrat because Kathy Bailey wanted it that way. They hope you will forget about their deceit. Do not be fooled.

RD

RD Kulik  is a resident of the City of Loveland.

Contact him on twitter @TattlerLoveland.