“Outsiders • disruptive • liberal • partisan amateurs • anti-growth • anti-business • felony • liars • scheming • filled with rage and discord • group of 12”

4

 

These are just some of the terms used

by Shanda Gentry,

These are just some of the terms used by Vice Mayor Angie Settell, Council member Pam Gross, ex-mayor Mark Fitzgerald, certain business owners in Loveland, and supporters of the former majority to describe Loveland Community Heartbeat PAC and the 2,000 signers to the recent recall petition. Angie Settell and Pam Gross have said that the successful recall effort was a travesty, disingenuous, dishonest, shameful, and a miscarriage of the charter. They have said our resident stakeholders came from “nowhere,” were put up to it by Council member Rob Weisgerber, have stopped the business of the city, and have no new ideas. So, for the benefit of these individuals, here is a history lesson of how we arrived at this point in our city.

So, for the benefit of these individuals, here is a history lesson of how we arrived at this point in our city.

In 2016, the city of Loveland drafted a new Special Event Policy and announced that they had registered “Christmas in Loveland” as a trademarked name with the state of Ohio. Then, they declared the city was now the owner of the event that the Chamber of Commerce had put on for many years and that was originally started by residents. Next, in December of 2016, City Council passed a fee ordinance for special events put on in Loveland. The special event application fee was $1,500 per event. Other fees included permits for music and a fee per vendor (at the Loveland Farmer’s Market this amounted to $100 for four one-day visits or $500 for twenty-five one day visits, equaling an unjustified expense to the market of approximately $20,000, a 4000% increase in a single year). This brings us to January 2017. 

Loveland: Meet Chester, the fried chicken you’ve been awaiting!

In 2017, the city woke up from the holidays, and a flood of residents began attending City council meetings to express their displeasure. Doug Portman and the Amazing Charity Race threatened to once more leave Loveland. The Farmers Market management discussed leaving for Symmes Township. The city was forced to reconsider the new fees. A vote on January 10, 2017 showed a clear dividing line on Council. Council members Rob Weisgerber, Ted Phelps, and Kathy Bailey supported a motion to table a vote on the proposed Transient Business and Vendors Ordinance pending more information from the City Solicitor as well as to re-consider the fees (that were set to go into law in two days). But Angie Settell, Pam Gross, and Stephen Zamagias, with ex-Mayor Mark Fitzgerald, voted no on the fee question; although, Stephen Zamagias and our ex-mayor also voted to table the second vote on the Transient Business and Vendors Ordinance. Many of the faces and speakers from that January 10, 2017, City Council meeting are now part of Loveland Community Heartbeat.

As if these fees weren’t enough to bring us all to this point, the majority on City Council (Fitzgerald, Settell, Gross, and Zamagias) wasn’t done.  

As if these fees weren’t enough to bring us all to this point, the majority on City Council (Fitzgerald, Settell, Gross, and Zamagias) wasn’t done. As part of the Transient Business and Vendors Ordinance, the majority passed a provision requiring all people and businesses supporting private or public events in the City to be fingerprinted and have background checks. Council member Kathy Bailey had worked many hours negotiating a compromise agreement for Council to vote on; yet a replacement ordinance appeared at the meeting that she had never seen and was not what had been negotiated. The votes on this mystery ordinance made clear who was behind it, the majority council members, which includes Pam Gross, Angie Settell, Steve Zamagias, and now ex-mayor Fitzgerald. Pam Gross and the majority had pulled a fast one by agreeing to a completely different ordinance than that worked on by Kathy Bailey and Pam Gross (with Mr. Braun acting as an intermediary) 

Pam Gross and the majority had pulled a fast one.

On April 14th, I personally joined the Loveland Community Heartbeat as a voting stakeholder. I had never met a single council person or a single member of the Loveland Community Heartbeat, but I was sickened by what I saw occurring in my city that I love and have lived in for 20 years.  

We, the residents of the Loveland Community Heartbeat PAC began attending all council meetings and making public records requests for additional information to look for other areas of concern because of what we had already seen. We also initiated the resident recall petition against ex-Mayor Fitzgerald for reasons well documented. Our public record requests uncovered additional transparency problems including a contract that had become illegal and an appointment made to the Community Improvement Corporation in violation of its regulations. We also were greatly disturbed by the move to downsize the CIC from eleven trustees to only five, which removed representation by the school district, the chamber of commerce, and gave the mayor and his few chosen people too much decision-making power over development projects.

Loveland Community Heartbeat grew as residents awoke to our message, and we allied with another grassroots resident organization, Neighbors for Loveland. This grassroots movement comes from all neighborhoods, all economic backgrounds, and all political parties continued to grow, as other residents began to work in their individual neighborhoods to obtain recall petition signatures from their friends and neighbors.  

In early Summer, we saw a surge of residents who did not want City Hall to be demolished especially without any community involvement.

In early Summer, we saw a surge of residents who did not want City Hall to be demolished especially without any community involvement. In response, the ex-Mayor Mark Fitzgerald, and councilmember Pam Gross responded with intimidation and insults. The public fury around plans to demolish city hall without resident input led to more people joining the resident movement for a recall of Mark Fitzgerald, which eventually resulting in 2,050 signatures on the first recall petition. The fact that the Board of Elections did not accept the first petition did not deter us. We experienced an even greater response when we collected 1,800 signatures in just one week. Our grassroots movement was now working full-steam-ahead to make sure that our Council members are transparent, that they support resident engagement, and that they operate by high ethical standards. More, we sought to replace those who were not responsive to residents.

From February on, Loveland Community Heartbeat invited anyone interested in running for office to throw their name into the hat to be vetted by all resident stakeholders to determine, by a democratic vote, who we would endorse with financial support in the November 2017 election. We chose Neal Oury and Kent Blair, (Blair has since dropped out of the overly large candidate pool). More, we decided to publicly endorse four candidates (Neal Oury, Tim Butler, Ted Phelps, and Rob Weisgerber) for their pledge to bring transparency, a high standard of ethics, and resident engagement across all neighborhoods to Loveland. 

These four gentlemen were not brought as a block by anyone, as recent misinformation propaganda suggests. Loveland Community Heartbeat chose to endorse Oury, Butler, Phelps, and Weisgerber because of prior service to our community and their pledge to residents. And the Loveland community should have no expectation that these candidates will always vote together or necessarily agree always. But we can expect them to uphold their resident pledge through respectful public service.

Loveland is fortunate that Mr. Fitzgerald resigned, and now we need to move our city forward by voting for individuals who are willing to think independently and act respectful to each other and residents alike.  

We are not outsiders, disruptive, liberal, partisan amateurs, anti-growth, anti-business, felons, liars, scheming, and neither are we filled with rage and discord nor are we a group of 12.

We are not outsiders, disruptive, liberal, partisan amateurs, anti-growth, anti-business, felons, liars, scheming, and neither are we filled with rage and discord nor are we a group of 12. 

Here is who we are: We are Loveland voting residents from across all counties and neighborhoods. We support a master plan that allows for business and other growth but with proper planning for necessary infrastructure. And we believe in representative government that includes residents from all neighborhoods in the planning process. We are residents who love Loveland and who are proud of what we have in this town, and we believe that we deserve better than what we’ve been served up the last few years. Yes, Loveland. Let’s end the tale of two cities. Let’s vote out the those who are not respectful and willing to engage with residents this year and demand only the finest public service from our City Council in the future.



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4 COMMENTS

  1. Isn’t it fun to play the call-them-names game? It sure beats reasoned arguments! Here is how I describe the Fitzgerald-Settell-Gross triumvirate:

    “Cabal • group-thinkers • authoritarian • professional parasites • anti-quality of life • anti-free market • fraud • manipulators • plotting • filled with arrogance and disrespect • gang of 3 and those who benefit from the gang’s votes”

  2. Thank you for a well-written summary of recent events leading to the current state of affairs in our city government.

    The Fitzgerald/Settell/Gross/Zamagias shenanigans may have played a part in something else: after 20 great years, the demise of the Loveland Art Show. I hope somebody will tell me I am wrong and missed a memo somewhere…

  3. Exactly!!! As a customer of the farmers market, attend activitie, live in Loveland as well as vote here; this is how it went down in our council. Outsiders have tried discrediting these facts by trying to stear away from them with charter changes, for one example. Collaboration between the left over 3, Settell, Gross and Zigamias still exists, even after 2,000 people have spoken.

  4. Very very well said. A person that is part of the ever stronger heartbeat of Loveland. Proud to call her a friend.

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