Last night’s council meeting

Sorry for the pause in updates. Had to clear my system from social media. But I’m not going to stop providing transparency into your city government. Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

Capital projects

We heard a presentation about the storm water projects completed in 2018, and those getting starting in 2019. The ones this year included the Arndale culvert replacement (necessitated by the caved-in road), the Marhofer Road retention basin, and an increase in rainwater storage capacity near the east end of Mohican. For 2019, we plan to create a bypass sewer to assist Holy Family Church, to replace a storm sewer near Greentree and improve ditches on Baumberger. The 2019 projects will cost about $1 million — all made possible by our storm-water fees that you see on your water bill.

We also heard from our service director about the 2018 road-repair program. We spent a record $2.2 million to fix roads in 2018. The only road we didn’t get to was Norton, from Hudson Drive to Darrow; but this will be the first one tackled in 2019. Next year’s biggest project will be the Graham Road resurfacing, taking place from the Silver Lake railroad tracks to Elm Road. Before that, watch for the traffic signals at the Seasons Road/Route 8 exit to be functional within the next few weeks.

Council shakeup

In the last two weeks, At-Large Councilman Pribonic became Mayor Pribonic. Mayor Costello became Ward 2 Councilman Costello.  Ward 2 Councilman Doug Herchick became private citizen Herchick. With this reshuffling, we are down one councilperson — an at-large member. In order to fill that one-year vacancy, Council President Riehl has determined a process whereby people can submit resumes and cover letters to the council office by Dec. 20 at noon. Each sitting councilperson can choose one applicant to include in the interview process. Then the interviews will be held the Friday after Christmas.

Leaf pickup

This has been a challenging fall season for leaves, because they fell so late and snow started so early. This caused piles of leaves to freeze, and required our service department to focus on snow removal rather than leaf pickup. By the time we are completed, every district will have been collected twice. As of Wednesday, we completed Section 1. We are now collecting Section 2. It might be 2019 before we finish the second collection on Section 3.

Downtown Stow

The city’s request for proposals came up empty. But strangely enough, several developers have shown interest after the proposal deadline. So we remain optimistic that we can create a downtown Stow, without using millions of your tax dollars, but rather with millions of private dollars. Mayor Pribonic is every bit as committed to this as I am. Stay tuned…


My thoughts on last night

I sincerely congratulate Casey Weinstein for his successful result last night. The unofficial tally is 49.5% to 50.5%.

I am so thankful to my wife, my parents, my staff, my friends and family, and all of the supporters who wrote a check, accepted a yard sign, or told their friends. You made this difficult journey a lot easier. I had a group of determined people behind me, and I’ll never be able to repay them.

We were losing by 11% in early September. Then a judge in Youngstown made one of the most befuddling and unsupportable court decisions I’ve ever seen, levying sanctions against me and my firm. We looked dead in the water. But my team rallied. We ultimately took a lead in October. However, that lead apparently vanished in the last stretch of the race. Regardless, I’m proud of how we did this.

From the very beginning, I knew we were facing a big challenge for two reasons:

(1) Independent voters in the district had turned deeply against President Trump. Only 22% had a favorable opinion of him; 66% had an unfavorable opinion. As much as we explained that a State Representative has no impact on federal government, I think a lot of independents were motivated to vote a straight-ticket Democrat ballot, from U.S. Senate to Ohio House. It’s noteworthy that the 37th District voted about the same for me as it did for Congressman Dave Joyce, who is actually involved with federal government.

(2) Casey was the best Democrat running in any Ohio House district, incumbent or newcomer. I’m referring mainly to his marketing skills, military background and speaking ability–but also other intangibles, such as the ability to motivate his base. In our conversation last night, I half-jokingly told him I wished I had a different opponent. Like him or not, he comes off very well. Casey has earned this by working hard, and he deserves a lot of credit for a huge accomplishment.

I have received probably hundreds of messages, calls, texts, etc since last night. People know how much I poured into this race. Conventional wisdom is that someone who invested so much, only to lose, would be devastated.

I’m not. I have no sorrow. Rather, I have genuine joy.

“Joy? You’re nuts, Mike.”

I believe in a supreme being who is personal, who cares about me, and who has wisdom that far exceeds mine. My plans were to serve people in the State Legislature. His plans are something different.

I’ve gone through disappointing career shifts in the past. Layoffs in the journalism industry led me to law school. A poor market in the legal industry opened an opportunity to run for city council. A narrow disappointment in running for the State House will lead to …. I don’t know, but I’m not going to pretend my plans are better than God’s. I trust God, because he has proven the truth of Romans 8:28 to me, time and time again (“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”).

This race took a lot out of me over the last year. I basically took a sabbatical from my law firm, foregoing a chunk of income. I gave up my favorite things in life (golf, the daily newspaper, working out). Laura and I dug into our personal funds to pay for campaign expenses. I missed valuable time with my daughter and wife. The stress and anger of being shelled with false and negative attacks is not something you can fathom.

For those of you asking, politics is off the radar.

Two final notes for my supporters:

  • Please don’t grieve for me. I have a lot of peace about this.
  • Give Casey Weinstein a fresh start in your mind. Why? Because the divisive nature in politics won’t change unless we take the lead. Someone has to set the example. Why not us?

I plan to go dark from social media for awhile. I can’t wait to be a dad without being a candidate.

Meeting Notes

Press Releases