Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide for the Nov. 5, 2019 elections are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot. Guide does not include uncontested races.

Yellow Springs Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Vote for 3

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  • Candidate picture

    Laura Curliss

  • James Johnson

  • Lisa Kreeger

  • Candidate picture

    Marianne MacQueen

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Biographical Information

What are the two biggest challenges facing Yellow Springs?

What is the best way to police a small village?

Does the fact that Yellow Springs attracts a lot of tourists and out-of-town visitors change how you think a small village should be policed?

The village issued a statement about reviewing policies and procedures following the arrest of Miguel Espinosa, who is not a legal U.S. citizen. What changes in policies, practices and procedures would you support during your term in office?

In your opinion, has the village police department done a good job of investigating serious crimes in the last two years? Kenneth Livingston’s death is still an open case 10 months after it happened. Leonid Clark was missing for four months before his body was discovered and his death is being investigated as a homicide.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

Website http://N/A
Experience Manager, Village of Yellow Springs 2 years; City administrator for City of Wilmington - 8 years; Attorney, 26 years
Education JD, Notre Dame Law School B.A. Gov't, Univ. of Notre Dame
Affordability, and not just in housing. Taxes, utilities, how money is spent all need to be discussed by Council. A housing study showed a need for all types of housing, from low income through moderate income. It will be a challenge to meet the housing needs of moderate income folks, young families and older adults who need to downsize.

Governance. Council does not currently use a committee system to oversee the departments (and their spending) on a monthly basis. The effectiveness of government can be enhanced by the use of Council Committees. I'm also in favor of more direct citizen control over the Executive Branch, with an elected Mayor who runs the departments, and Council having the budgetary and legislative duties.
Great question and Yellow Springs is discussing/studying that. Many Ohio villages (under 5000 people) don't fund their own police force. Some feel that Yellow Springs is "over policed," often "aggressively policed." Many want some type of police service with a friendlier, more "community-oriented" police force.

The Council-Manager form of government means leadership by a committee - 3 votes of Council - to make anything happen. Policing crises will occur. These situations need civilian authority to take decisive and swift action. Decisive action can't/doesn't/hasn't happened in Yellow Springs. Council asks for a study or other expensive investigation and then many feel nothing happens. The Justice System Task Force met for two years and made recommendations which were mostly ignored. The citizens would get more responsive government with an elected Mayor who is head of the Executive Branch and therefore the police.
No. If we have police at all, the policing culture has to be one that is friendly and helpful. With public input, a local group suggested policing principles that were adopted by Council and apply to all officers. Fully trained and equipped officers could be supplemented by a different type of officer. On a trip I took to another country, I noticed they had "tourist police," men and women dressed in a simple short and pants with no gun, body armor, none of that. Very friendly, providing tourist-oriented service in a destination city. The times when we have more visitors are predictable and we can staff accordingly, maybe with "tourist police" - tourist information, traffic control, services assistance.
One policy that was improved was to state clearly that every case that could be cited into Mayor's Court should be cited into Mayor's Court; in practice, police still feel they have a range of discretion.

Maybe we start with something as simple as the form of the ticket. The ticket can have a "check the box" format to make it simpler for officers to know which offenses the community/civilian authority wants cited into Mayor's Court...not take them to the jail.

Going back to my earlier comment about the advantages of a Mayor/Executive form of government, it's easy for a Mayor to have a conversation with the Greene Co. Sheriff as to why low-level traffic offenders who may not have the right immigration status are being reported to ICE and then sent to Butler County. Yellow Springs Council can pass a resolution saying they oppose this policy, don't want their tax money spent on such a thing. That will take time, three votes, and eventually, someone talking to the Sheriff.
Policing has become very jurisdictional. If a major crime happens in Yellow Springs, it's generally going to be a "YSPD case." Other jurisdictions sometimes help if asked. The exception would be some murders, then BCI is called, or the Attorney General's office and then we get high level forensics and detectives involved.

It is almost impossible for a small town to fund the type of forensics and have highly experienced detectives that are needed for major crimes. I'm in favor looking into having some type of "mutual aid" agreement with other agencies who are automatically called in when certain major crimes happen. With that said, I would say that hundreds of people in the YS community were looking for Lonya, including in the woods south of town, where his body was eventually found.
The first order of business for local government is to provide basic services like water, sewer, streets, parks & recreation, public safety, do it well, and cost-effectively. People should not feel like they have to leave Yellow Springs because of cost or how we provide services. Shared services is often the most cost-effective way to provide services to keep them affordable. It's simple math.

I have twelve years of experience in local government administration and another five years in prosecution. I understand municipal budgeting and finance. I will bring a cost-sensitive approach to governance.
Experience Higher education administrator and fundraising professional for 25 years
Education Yellow Springs High School, 1978 Miami University, 1982 (Political Science) Case Western Reserve University, 1987 (JD)
I believe sustainability and economic development are the two biggest challanges and are closely linked. Yellow Springs is a bedroom community, with a majority of local residents either working elsewhere or retired. A majority of local jobs are held by employees who live out of town. I do not believe this is sustainable in the long-term and it goes against our historical character and soul as a community. To continue to thrive, we must find avenues of real economic development that create good jobs accessible to all residents. Our Village is justifiably proud of its independence, from the school district to our utilities, to our local police. Few communities our size take on so much in terms of self-governance. If we are going to continue to be able to afford that level of self-determination, we must nurture a community of individuals and families that are both thriving economically and diverse in age and background. This requires a focus on concrete action to create good local jobs.
Community policing practices are the best way police our village. Police officers should get out of their cruisers and spend time walking downtown's major streets and bike through neighborhoods. They should also attend local events such as high school sports and the performing arts. Encouraging police officers to live in town is also an important goal. I would offer an annual cost of living stipend of $5,000 for officers who choose to live in Yellow Springs.
Again, police officers need to get out of their cruisers and spend more time walking through downtown particularly on weekends and evenings when we have a lot tourists in town. I believe we should assess the need for non-armed safety officers (instead police officers) who could patrol the downtown during busy weekends and evenings. We could assess the value of installing a net work of highly visable and well lighted 911 call boxes.
I trust the current Village Council has done its job to evaluate this case and has made the appropriate adjustments to practices and procedures.
I believe Village Council should assess the village police departments overall performance and not medle on a case by case basis. Village Council should evaluate hiring practices to make sure we have the most qualified police force in terms of training and experience.
I am running for Yellow Springs Village Council because I love my hometown. I grew up here in the ‘60s and ‘70s and moved back in 2012. My parents ran the Erbaugh and Johnson Drugstore (formerly Town Drug and now Benzer Pharmacy) for 30 years. My family has lived in the same house on Dayton street for over 52 years. Local elections are one of the purest forms of representative democracy. This is why I am running for Village Council with a campaign that is engaging with the residents of Yellow Springs. While I have ideas about how our local government can address current issues facing our community, I believe in listening and learning from Yellow Springs residents before setting out concrete plans and goals. Before the election, I plan to issue statements on how my conversations with residents, experience, research, and analysis inform my vision for the next Village Council. You will find these statements on my Website: johnsonforvillagecouncil.com
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Experience Non-profit director, current Village Council member
Education BA, Biology MA, Teaching MA, Conflict Resolution
The two biggest challenges for Yellow Springs Village Council are managing a workload where there are so many things we want to do and, at the same time, effectively interacting with our citizenry about those issues. Village Government faces a number of interconnected issues. Basic public services – water, sewer, electricity, trash collection, street and public safety – are fundamental. However, maintaining the vibrancy and richness of Yellow Springs mandates that Village Government support more than just the basics. It is a question of balance, timing and prioritizing.

How to engage our community members and be engaged by them; how to listen to the loudest voices in the room but not be dominated by them; how to encourage those who do not speak up: this is a daunting task. Yet is critical that we can have effective representative democracy at the local level in the face of a dysfunctional national government and a less than supportive state government.
The best way to police a small village is to have a police force that has a strong relationship with the community. Officers need to get to know and understand those who live and work there. They need to understand the community’s history and values. When people believe that their police department cares about them, then there is trust. Trust means that folks are much more likely to reach out to the police when they are aware of a potentially dangerous situation and when they need help. They are much more likely to accept an intervention from an officer when they feel they have been treated fairly.
No. Yellow Springs has a long and rich history of attracting tourists and out-of-town visitors. Tourism does mean that we may need more officers, especially during high volume times, than similarly sized communities with less influx of visitors. However, our officers should treat those who visit our community with the same respect that they treat community members. One thing that has changed is the impact of increased mass shootings. There is a new level of fear. When our state and federal governments refuse to establish sane gun laws, even small communities like Yellow Springs need to start instituting new safety measures. We have begun that.
The fact that we have a broken immigration system at the federal level puts local communities in a difficult situation. Even before the unfortunate incident with Mr. Espinosa, Village Council and our Justice System Task Force were working with our police department to ensure our policing practices meet community values. I support the work of our Chief and Village Manager who are looking at any procedural changes that can be made to protect vulnerable populations such as targeted racial groups and immigrants. I support the type of role-play training that our Chief had already begun. These interactive exercises give officers a chance to practice and discuss together the variety of options that might exist when facing a challenging situation. I support our officers putting safety and compassion first.
I believe our small, dedicated police department has done a good job of investigating serious crimes in the last two years. The Kenneth Livingston case has just been closed. The delay was caused by the need for forensics information to be released and verification that Kenneth’s death was not related to Leonid (Lonya) Clark’s murder. After Lonya’s disappearance, our Chief reached out to get aid from the Greene County Sheriff’s department. Lonya’s body was found outside of Yellow Springs and the investigation is now being carried out by Greene County.
I am running for re-election to the Yellow Springs Village Council because I enjoy working on Council and believe I can make a contribution in this way. Having lived and worked in the Village for 47 years, I have an understanding of what makes our community great, what needs to be preserved, and what needs to be addressed in order for Yellow Springs to be a thriving resilient community. I spearheaded the development of the Glass Farm Conservation Area with our Environmental Commission in collaboration with Tecumseh Land Trust. I worked with the Energy Board as we developed the public-private collaboration that resulted in our Village solar field on the Glass Farm. I want to continue the work I started with the Village Manager’s Housing Advisory Board to develop a mixed-income housing development on the Glass Farm.