Last night’s meetings

In lieu of my normal blog post, I want to say a few words about Lou Dirker.

As many of you know, Lou served as Stow’s police chief until his retirement a couple years ago. I worked alongside him for the first 4 years that I was on council. He passed away last week from cancer.

dirker-rasorLou ran our police department with a passion for protecting the residents. His integrity was unmatched from any person I have ever worked with, in any job. Lou served in the Marines, loved his country and trusted his Creator. It is telling that it took nearly two hours to make it through the line at his calling hours last night. If you knew Lou, you respected him. It was just that simple.

One quick anecdote: Lou and I had a big dispute over the proposed tax increase in 2013. He supported it, to fund additional police officer hiring. I thought the additional revenue would be diverted to other areas. We both fought vigorously for our positions. One evening, a club in town asked us both to provide our positions on the tax. It turned into a public shouting match between us.

But, even in this heated battle, I never thought to question his motives, because he had such great integrity. I trusted him to keep it clean–and never say anything behind my back that he wouldn’t say to my face. Even when in political combat, deep-down, I knew Lou had my back, and he knew I had his. After the dust settled from our shouting match, we shook hands and went home. It didn’t negatively affect our relationship at all.

I will miss Lou.


Last night’s council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s meetings:

-At the beginning of this month, council unanimously elected me as its President. I take the role of leading this group very seriously, and I look forward to it. Last night was the first full meeting that I served as President.

-I kept most of the committee assignments the same as last term, except that Bob Adaska and John Pribonic switched chairmanships. John is now chair of Planning Committee, and Bob chairs Public Improvements. Matt Riehl is Vice President of Council, and Jim Costello is Pro Tem.

-We debated the mechanics of how and when to approve a settlement regarding the Dollar General store at the corner of Stow Road and Fishcreek Road. As you may remember, dozens of residents were incensed last year when a proposal was made to develop that parcel for a Dollar General store. But the law was clear that council had no choice but to approve it. Council ignored that advice and rejected it. The city was promptly sued.

Our law director has now negotiated a settlement, whereby the city will approve the development, but Dollar General will split off an undeveloped parcel and rezone it to residential. The mayor and law director (and most of council) wanted to approve this settlement last night — in an empty room, and on the same night that the public first got notice of it. Given the amount of community interest in this topic, I urged council to give the public adequate notice before ramming it through. A procedural vote to “ram it through” failed, so it will appear on the Jan. 28 agenda.

-Council will meet next on Jan. 28.

Meeting Notes

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