Oberlin City Council Candidates Differ on Climate Actions

The dozen candidates vying for Oberlin City Council in the Nov. 5 election offer their differing views on the city’s Sustainable Reserve Fund and its Climate Action Plan goals in a Voters’ Guide published Tuesday, Oct. 15 by Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy.

Present Council member Heather Adelman, who worked on the recent rewrite of the CAP, said, “The next frontier for the City is to look at space heating and how we can move away from natural gas.” Also running for re-election is council member Kristin L. Peterson, who stated, “What concerns me most about the plan is the possible disagreements in the community about the best way to address the plan and its goals.” Longtime council member Ronnie J. Rimbert wants to “see [the SRF] coordinate with the building of the new schools, including a solar array.” Kelley Singleton, who has served one term on City Council, wants SRF funds used for “City generated truly green [energy] production through solar.” Linda Slocum, also running for a second term, said “providing energy-efficient public transportation addresses social equity.”

Two former Council members are seeking to return. Scott Broadwell wanted the $2.8 million SRF “being dispersed into the community at this time last year,” but “not spent on pet projects put forward by a select few.” Elizabeth J. Meadows sees that City Council is challenged by the need to fund projects to help “reach environmentally sustainable goals” while meeting the expectations of citizens “convinced that they are entitled to a ‘rebate’ to their electric bill.”

In the race are five new contenders. Peter Comings, who rejects the idea of spending the SRF on a specific timeline, wants any project to “include educational outreach to others if it can be replicated.”  Ray English argues for “a residential solar program that is income-sensitive” but also wants the City to build “a large solar farm” in the longer term. Concerns about “balancing the need for development with the preservation of green space” are expressed by Bill Miller, who also recommends Oberlin purchase a “Fuel Cell Electric Bus.” Mary Price said, “Time is of the essence to use the Sustainable Reserve Fund,” but wants to “prioritize spending the SRF in ways that regenerate the fund.” According to Steven E. Thompson, “the best way to use the dollars from the sustainable reserve fund is to earmark a healthy portion that should be slated for Oberlin POWER for immediate use.”

Copies of the questionnaire are available at https://www.facebook.com/oberlinCSSE/ under COMMUNITY and at the Oberlin Public Library, the Oberlin College Libraries, and the Kendal at Oberlin Library. For further information, contact David Ashenhurst at [email protected] or Rev. John D. Elder at 440-774-2947.