FIVE QUESTIONS: Oberlin city council candidate David Ashenhurst


1) Some of what I want to do I will pursue whether I am on city council or not. I want a charter amendment that rolls back council salaries and makes future idiotic salary increases impossible.

I want a charter amendment that says a majority of council members, but not all of them, will be elected every two years.

I was on the charter review committee that said council rules needed to be declared; the subcommittee reviewing these hasn’t met in months.

2) As a neighbor for my first dozen years here, I want to see the site developed in a way that takes local views into account better than the recent process has. I want real mixed-income and real mixed-use. I want it developed, because it is one of the last sites within the current city limits that allows for a singular vision to control the site rather than visions that apply to a lot or two (or three). This is another example of where the citizens have good ideas, and council’s been deaf to their entreaties. Listening is the watchword.

3) Our greatest strength is our charter, promulgated during a spasm of progressive activism in the 1950s. One of our major problems is council’s reluctance to challenge appointed officials when they exceed their charter authority, and our electorate’s reluctance to hold their council accountable for doing their job in this system.

4) Knowing specifics here requires participation in the upcoming budget session, but my immediate reaction is to suggest some changes within departments rather than shifts between them. I do not think we need more police officers, but I’m very supportive of the new chief’s emphasis on foot patrols downtown and more community-oriented than drive-by policing. I am for finishing sidewalks where they are needed, but I want the city’s emphasis to be on encouragement and outright support of property owners rather than unilateral action in a few areas and in ways that do not treat property owners equitably throughout the community.

5) I don’t think I’m “the best” candidate. Rather I’m one of the best, deserving of election. I have leadership experience, both civic and organizational. I also have legislative experience, at the top of a list of roles and competencies that consist of getting things done by working well with others.