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CHIP Candidate Forum & Roundtable, a summary

By Antonio Barrios

Lorain, April 10, 2013: The Coalition of Hispanic/Latino Issues & Progress (CHIP) held its 13th Candidates Forum and Roundtable on April 10th. This year due to the work being done on the St. Joe’s Auditorium the much anticipated event was held at El Centro de Servicios Sociales at 2801 Pearl Ave thanks to the efforts of Mr. Victor Leandry, who graciously accepted to host the event on the 2nd fl conference room of his building.

The room was tightly packed with residents, elected officials, and, of course, the many candidates looking to get their views out to the public. This event is always well attended for many reasons especially with the video taping of the event by Lorain City School’s video dept and then it is aired on the Lorain County Community College’s television network channel 20 as well as the LCS TV 19. This is a major advantage for the candidates to get their face connected to their name on the ballot.  Also, WEOL was there to send some sound bites on the air.

Joel Arredondo, president of CHIP, opened the proceedings with a welcome and explained that only local races that are opposed are invited. Mr. Arredondo then went on to introduce the two moderators for the event—Mr. David Arredondo and myself. Mrs. Mary Santiago, the other co-chair of the political committee for CHIP, was not able to be our other moderator.

After explaining the ground rules for the forum [that each candidate would have a 2-minute opening statement after which the candidates will be asked a series of questions with a 1-minute answer then concluding  with a 1-minute statement], I started the forum with calls to the local candidates for their respective positions on ballot-issues for their respective communities. The primaries will be held in Amherst, Elyria, North Ridgeville, and Lorain.

Half way through the program two special roundtables were held, one with the superintendent of Lorain public schools—Mr. Tom Tucker—and the other with the mayor of Lorain, Mr. Chase Ritenauer. For the roundtable with Superintendent Tucker the questions were posed by Mr. Michael Ferrer and Mr. David Arredondo. In one statement Superintendent explained why he was quoted as being happy the state came in to take over control of the Lorain City Schools—he believed the state coming in was a good thing because they were here (Lorain) to help get the schools back on track. He stated he wasn’t concern about anything other than the children of Lorain getting the best education possible.

The next roundtable was of the mayor of Lorain, Mr. Chase Ritenauer, with myself and Mr. David Arredondo asking the questions. Asked as to the future of Lorain, Mayor Ritenauer stated that cleaning house was one of his first activities and that he found many so-called case studies for the development of Lorain that he threw in the trash can. The one significant study done for the City of Lorain was done by the Staubach Group, which basically pointed out the difficulties the city was facing and had to fix before any major investor would consider Lorain as a viable option for development.

In a nutshell, the study reiterated the same facts that have been previously identified by all of the preceding studies. One was fixing the streets and clearing the blighted areas, but the major obstacles were two: bring down the high tension towers along Black River Landing and move the sewage treatment plant at the mouth of the river. The Mayor stated that work was started on the removal of the high tension towers and that plans have been made to move the sewage treatment. He is hopeful that the remediation of these obstacles would open the door to a brighter future for Lorain.

The evening continued with candidates answering the questions posed to them by the moderators. Joel Arredondo closed the event with a “Thank You” and reminder that CHIP was hosting its 18th Annual Hispanic Leadership Conference at Lorain County Community College on April 20, 2013 and to visit the CHIP website: www.chiplorain.org for more information.

Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/16/13 20:19:15 -0700.




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