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Candidate divisions heat up race for Campbell council chief

Published: Tue, November 1, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By jeanne starmack



In the race for council president, an appointed incumbent is taking on a newcomer to politics.

Juanita Rich, who was 4th Ward councilwoman before becoming council president in January, is running against George Levendis.

Rich became council president after former mayor George Krinos resigned and former council president Bill VanSuch replaced him. She moved up because she had been president pro tem.

Levendis says he believes the city needs changes. He has been attending council meetings for the past two years.

Levendis is concerned about a problem the city’s finance director has had with reconciling monthly bank statements to the city’s books. Sherman Miles, who now says he does not want to discuss the matter in public, was trying to reconcile April 2010’s statement as of September. VanSuch confirmed Miles has not been able to reconcile $7,000. Without up-to-date reconciliations, the city can’t ask the state for release from fiscal emergency by the end of this year as it had hoped.

“I’m just concerned about getting the finance director to do his job reconciling books and doing what a finance director is supposed to do,” Levendis said last week.

He also said he is concerned about improving the city’s Insurance Services Office rating, which was downgraded from a 6 to a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 last year. The rating, which is based on a municipality’s ability to provide firefighting services, affects insurance-policy costs for businesses and homeowners.

Levendis also said he believes the city council should have allowed the mayor and the city administrator to talk to a company that wants to lease city property in the brownfields for a fracking-fluid waste disposal well.

VanSuch and administrator Jack Dill had asked council to allow them to negotiate with D&L Energy. A lease could mean up to $90,000 a year for the city, along with $20,000 for the right to drill the well. VanSuch and Dill said the talks would be for information-gathering only and council would have a say over whether the city would enter into a lease with D&L. But council sent the issue to its environmental committee.

“I think we should listen to what the [Environmental Protection Agency] says about these wells, and have a public forum,” Levendis said.

“But if there’s no harm and revenue for the city,” I think we should do it,” he said.

Levendis also said he would not take health-care benefits from the city, and that he favors eliminating pay, benefits and cellphones for council members.

Levendis had some criticism for current officeholders. “They aren’t open to new ideas,” he said. “In the real world, they would all be replaced.”

Rich, who prides herself on her knowledge of the city’s home-rule charter, said she has concerns Levendis does not follow rules.

At issue recently, she said, was a blinking road sign he erected on property along U.S. 422 at Sycamore Street. The road sign had a campaign message. Rich said the city cited him and the property owner because it is a zoning violation to have a blinking lighted sign anywhere in the city.

Levendis took it down, but several days later he put it up again on another property along U.S. 422 across from the flea market.

“It was very defiant. I went to the police,” Rich said Monday.

Levendis said he told city council that if his sign is a violation, then so are blinking Christmas lights.

Rich also took Levendis before the Mahoning County Board of Elections in August to have him thrown off the ballot because he indicated on his election petition that he is running for “president of council” rather than “council president.” Her contention is that the charter did away with the position of “president of council” in 1971, and the positions have different responsibilities. But the elections board supported Levendis.

Rich took issue with Levendis’ assertion that he will not take city health benefits.

“I’d like to remind people of the last elected official that didn’t take benefits,” she said. Former mayor Krinos agreed not to take them so he could hire a secretary in his office, then took them, creating an unbudgeted expense for the city.

“See how that turned out,” she said. “A lot of people just say what they think people want to hear to get elected.”

Rich said that on the fracking-waste disposal issue, council is proceeding cautiously. “We have done research, and we’re concerned with what we’re seeing,” she said.

She also said she believes the council has accomplished a lot toward getting out of fiscal emergency, a status its had since 2004.

“Our five-year forecast shows us in the black,” she said.


1tribe(1 comment)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

This article really upset me. I cannot believe that as bad as things are in our city, a blinking sign is what worries some people. Really? Let's focus on the real issues!

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2gleekgal(50 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Once again Juanita is so scared of losing that she makes uneducated comments about a sign. All of George's concerns are valid. He is calling on accountability for you jerks to do your jobs. He is calling people out on the truth. TIME FOR A CHANGE PEOPLE !! GO TEAM GEORGE !!

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3concerncit(13 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Let's see, Rich is real good on the rules, Levendis thinks we should contact D and L Energy for information about capitalizing on unused city property. Aren't we in fiscal emergency? How can gathering information possibly hurt? If the EPA approves it, someone is going to get the money for that well. Let's get another committee involved to slow things down. This is just another example of Council being unresponsive to the needs of the city and it's citizens. If your 911 call is slow to be answered, it's because the police are out chasing down that sign. IT"S TIME FOR A CHANGE.

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4onlyincampbell(35 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

It really seems Jean failed to fully do her job! Why did she not mention that Mrs. Rich tried to pass legislation to prevent layoff's with the upcoming budget cuts? Why didn't she report on any legislation that Mrs. Rich helped pass to have our fire department better manned FOR YOUR PROTECTION and to help lower our homeowners insurance? Why didn't she report that George's concerns over the finance department is only with the reconsiliation of the books but fails to say that Mr. Miles took this City from the RED to the BLACK in the short time he's been there? Does he even know that the problem month he is having is WHEN HE WAS SUPPENDED when other's were in his office and who knows what they did??????
Why are so many of you so ready to put the cart ahead of the horse with this fracking waste water? Do you not wonder why Pa. doesn't want it????? Is the money really worth the dangers that they have yet really determined??????
Why did she not state that since Mrs. Rich has been put in as COUNCIL PRESIDENT that there has been more things COMPLETED BY COUNCIL THAT WAS REQUIRED to get OUT of Fiscal emergency? Oh and gee it wasn't Levendis's idea for D and L it was VanSuch and Dill oh........never mind I can CLEARLY see that connection between those 3.
Why didn't she ask or dig into Levendis's past as a good reporter should do? What skeletons does he have in the court system? Just read his year book ambition in life statement that will point you in the right direction. Huh lets see a law breaker becoming a law maker....yep I guess his one quote would be dead on....."In the real world" It does seem to be a trend among republicans. Why didn't she refute his being with the same company 25 years.....they have only been in business since 2004, or did they change names, if so why? Or that he was not cetified by ODOT until Dec. of 07 for bridge painting?
Why didn't she report either that Our current Mayor is just like Krino's? He does it because he's the mayor that's why we are only getting 30% of the money from the scrap in the Brownfields! And that is after the Mayor himself sent the whole idea to committee and it never came out! I'd like to be that contractor!

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5campbellcitizen(25 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Brief comprehension of the city charter.
EMERGENCY ORDINANCE: Council yes does pass them. But tell me what would happen if they voted no when the MAYOR and City Administrator entered into the illegal contract with a company who performed the work and presented the bill and the City doesn't pay it. I'll tell you, a law suit. So this does not fall on her its VanSuch's fault.
CITY ADMIN.: Council has NO say in whom THEY MAYOR choses...once again VANSUCH's fault.
FINANCE DIRECTOR: He now knows how to do that task after paying from his own pocket on how to but, the employees who remained on the job during his suspension which is the month that is in question just dont want to help nor will the MAYOR instruct them to do so. Also he did as someone say took us from deficit to a surplus, my my my how terrible of a job that is!
POICE: Don't know what to tell ya there other than Dill laid them off I believe not Juanita, the mayor has the hire and fire powers, and I am sure if the city could afford it they would be back..
HEALTH DEPT. Got me there but I think your right we dont have one.
CIVIL SERVICE: Once again nothing to do with council it was VANSUCH once again who did that little ditty.

To me it sounds like you are very confused about who is to blame and your post should have Bill's name where Juanita'a is and it should be on the Mayor race article. Because almost everything you have recited is the Mayors job not hers. And last I knew it took more than 1 vote there is a total of 5 persons who vote on legislation.

Also while I'm at it can anyone here answer what starmack should be asking like, how do we have an increase in our income tax revenue fund, which in prior years we did not, when the city residents are mostly retiree's or on public assistance with fewer than either being that of working class? The only conclusion that makes sense to me is, that we finally have a finance director who puts the money where it belongs and it is accounted for. And no the levy has nothing to do with income tax before you say thats where it came from.
If you really think she is the problem go see Mrs Hamilton and look thru legislation and minutes of meetings you may see that if George really wanted to make a difference he'd of picked her to work with and what ever ward he is in he should of run against him, that's one that needs to go.

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6sweetcheekz(8 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

@onlyincampbell, you obviously skipped the remedial english course...or maybe your anger is getting the best of you! Since you seem to like hiding behind your computer screen that may be why you need that neck brace. By the way, you forgot to mention that Levendis cheated on his spelling test in 6th grade. Give us a break! Let's look and see what your amibition was when you were 17. @LOL you seem to be hitting the nail right on the head! NICE!!

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7campbellcitizen(25 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

The difference between Krinos's battle with city council and what VanSuch is this, Krino's actually brought in legislation that was defeated, VanSuch goes and does it then brings it in to get paid for. And for the record he (VanSuch) even has the audacity to bring in stuff he fought krinos on.
And if you remember right VanSuch was council president so he very well knows what he can and can't do but choses to do as he pleases because "he's the mayor".
As far as the Gun Rally at the park your wrong on assuming she brought in that gun group that was done by a YSU student if you look back thru the records, and as far as the legislation she also thought the location was bad, she was concerned about the language that was set forth in the legislation. But I may be wrong but hey thats why the have a clerk of council it's easy enough to look up.
And she did not have anything to do with the law suit that was filed by OFCC (Ohioans for Conceal Carry) not her.

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8trustinthetruth067(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

For all you Juanita Rich haters, not so fast......Lets take a good look at Levendis...Hmm...He states in his School Reveler that his main ambition was to become a Professional Bookie,Source 1986 School Reveler....In 2001 he was Charged with 2 Counts of Bookmaking and 2 Counts of Criminal Tools & Plead Guilty to One Count of Public Gaming & one Count of Criminal Tools and having to pay $5,000 to the Police LET Fund source Campbell Court and CPD, Around the same time he was busted by the water Dept. for Tampering with his water meter, breaking the seal to avoid paying a water bill plus all the other charges, while other residents were getting theirs shut off and liens placed on their Property, pictures were taken of this, Source Cambell water Dept. In 2005 his Company while he was Foreman was charged with Bribery & Conspiracy for Bribing State Officials for being able to do Shoddy Work resulting in a Federal Prison Term source Vindy.com, In April of this year his Co. while he was Supervisor in charge of daily operations was Fined $207,000 for Safety Violations which could have resulted in Serious Injury or Death to his workers, Source Vindy.com. This must be where his experience with dealing with local, state, & federal officials come in. It would appear that some of you are eager to go back to the good ol days of Campbell's past but I don't think the rest of us are!! Is this someone that should be elected to the top Council Position??

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9onlyincampbell(35 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

hiding behind my screen? Seems you are doing exactly the same. Needing a neck brace? Is that the newest tactic of the Levendis camp, stooping to threats? I would expect no less, from Levendis the book maker supporters,you know the same crew that supported Krino's, meetings of choas, antagonistic people, display rude and ignorant behavior. Now we're going to add threats of bustin necks? Whats next capping a knee?

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10sweetcheekz(8 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

@onlyincampbell I was only referring to the neck brace and purple shirt that you have been wearing recently around town...but maybe I have mistaken you for someone else. In that case I apologize, but I don't think it's a case of mistaken identity. As far as "threats of bustin necks" and "capping a knee" you seem to be very comfortable using such language. Maybe you are the one we need to be worried about. To my knowledge, Levendis hasn't made any threats nor has he had anything negative to say against his opponent. Unlike his opponent who seems to only focus on saying negative things about him.

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11campbellpride1(3 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I am sick and tired, and if I am not sick I am really tired of people defending an administration that doesn't do crap. Starting from the top: Just to inform the people of Campbell, Mayor Dill, oops I mean Mayor Van Such has no right being in the position that he is. He is like Schultz in the old show Hogans Heroes...I know nothing, I see nothing, I hear nothing. It's ironic that every time someone asks him a policy or question he has to refer to the city administrator. You know the guy really running the city. Let's not forget he already ran it once, he ran it right into the ground. Also, can you explain to me why Mr. Dill and Mr. Van Such are threatening city employees if they have a sign for another candidate in their yards. What happened to our first amendment rights. Is it fair that Sherman Miles can go around door to door with Juanita Rich during the day while he is supposed to be at work balancing our books? Is it fair that certain other employees are permitted to have Retain Van Such for Mayor signs and are given a pat on the back? Is it funny that at the corner of Robinson Road and Struthers-Liberty Road there is a For Sale sign next to a Retain Bill Van Such sign; however the funnier part of this statement is that the house belongs to Mayor, oops Administator Dills son who no longer lives there. Now lets move on......

Mrs Rich is posting signs in peoples yards that have not been asked. Her posse has removed signs from places that had Levendis signs and replaced them with Rich signs. There are vacant homes with Rich signs. News Flash signs do not vote....PEOPLE VOTE!!!

Mrs. Rich has been in city politics for a very long time and for this we say thank you but hopefully the people of Campbell will tell you to HIT THE ROAD. What do remember of her years of service:

She has run for mayor numerous time and has lost each time. The only thing people really remember of her was how she exposed the Doll House, which frankly nobody knew about until she brought it to the forefront and gave our city a black eye. I think that was done for personal reasons because, well nevermind we won't get into that.... She is constantly attacking her opposition as to remove them so she wins. If you feel that you are doing a great job stand on your merit. Show you can take the heat and run a clean race. It doesn't matter how someone words something or what type of sign people have up.

I am assuming that these opposing remarks are being made by either Sherman Miles, her best friend, her daughter or her husband, that later who has had issues of his own while she has been serving in our city government. I would bet my bottom dollar that Mrs. Rich was aware of his antics.

As for the person holding a sevenTEEN year old accountable for what he said in a yearbook please give me a break. Mr. Levendis is an upstanding citizen that wants to make a difference how can that hurt the city of Campbell.

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12trustinthetruth067(6 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

campellpride, I'm sure you can take Pride in this kind of Candidate, someone you can be Proud of, I Repeat what I said:
He states in his School Reveler that his main ambition was to become a Professional Bookie,Source 1986 School Reveler....Dreams do come true...In 2001 he was Charged with 2 Counts of Bookmaking along with a Partner and 2 Counts of Criminal Tools & Plead Guilty to One Count of Public Gaming & one Count of Criminal Tools and having to pay $5,000 to the Police LET Fund source Campbell Court and CPD, Around the same time he was busted by the water Dept. for Tampering with his water meter, breaking the seal to avoid paying a water bill plus all the other charges with the bill, while other residents were getting theirs shut off and liens placed on their Property, pictures were taken of this, Source Cambell water Dept. In 2005 his Company while he was Foreman was charged with Bribery & Conspiracy for Bribing State Officials for being able to do Shoddy Work resulting in a Federal Prison Term source Vindy.com, In April of this year his Co. while he was Supervisor in charge of daily operations was Fined $207,000 for Safety Violations which could have resulted in Serious Injury or Death to his workers, Source Vindy.com. This must be where his experience with dealing with local, state, & federal officials come in. It would appear campbellpride1 that this is the type of individule you want running our City. That's your right to do so, Juanita Rich has a Record to run on and Mr. Levendis has his Character & Integrity to run on. On November 8th the people will decide & that's called Democracy.

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13concerncit(13 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Dear ONLYINCAMPBELL, We've had this talk before. You are judged by your words. When you use incorrect grammar and punctuation, and get so excited that you run on and on, you lose credibility and people don't take you seriously. You should take notes when Ms. Rich is telling you what to say, so as to keep your rantings more concise. Remember, you are criticizing a professional journalist, you know, a person who writes for a living. Perhaps you have a seventh or eighth grade student at home who could look over your work before you submit it for the public to read. Now let me address TRUSTINTHETRUTH. Really? The high school year book? That just screams desperation. Everything else you point out is just revisiting other peoples posts. These things are not facts that you researched, just repeated gossip. They are mistakes that a young man made, admits, and has apologized for. If you were actually researching, you might have run into the case of Ms. Rich being the secretary to Sheriff Phill Chance when he was found guilty of racketeering . Of course she was unaware of his crimes, and earned and deserved her $25,000 + compensation. You would also know that Ms. Rich and her husband were charged with tax evasion to the tune of $35,000 in 1993 and 1994. No doubt a mistake on the IRS's part. Surly she is keeping a vigilant eye on Campbell's finances. I'm sure she knows that bankruptcy would not be a viable allternative, like it was for her in 2003. Had you checked the Vindictor and Sheriff Dept records you could have included these facts and made you comment more balanced. I'm just poking a little fun. I know that you're just doing your bit to support your friend Ms. Rich, and I'm sure her friend Lenny Strollo would do likewise if he could comment from prison.

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14campbellpride1(3 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Trustinthetruth067 I apologize to everyone if my grammer, run on senteces and improper punctuation offends you crucify me. For this I should never run for public office. As for the company that was charged for bribery, Mr. Levendis is not the owner but an emplyee. As stated by others, Mr. Levendis was not in Toledo but in Youngstown, OH so his project did not sustain OSHA violations. As for his yearbook I can pull out my yearbook right now and tell you that kids write silly things as youngsters. The Mr. Levendis I know now is a hard worker, a generous individual, a TAXPAYER and a great family man. He is running a clean campaign and refuses to mud sling.

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15sweetcheekz(8 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Since Levendis only has his "character and integrity" to run on maybe we need to hold Rich to the same standard. Some of you seem to put Mrs. Rich on a high pedestal, but it is starting to tip really fast. CONCERNCIT is only stating facts and is starting the snowball. If you are interested in learning more about her character, check out UNITED STATES V. CHANCE, NO. 99-4437 - her name comes up quite a few times. You judge for yourself.

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16Brkfldwrrr621(12 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

This shows what kind of campaign levendis is running got to go dig some dirt up on someone you can say what you want on here about someone what ever lies or truth it doesn't matter its not gonna make me vote for levendis he is underqualified he hasn't ran for any political office or done one good thing for the city. When there are numorous things that juanita has done and has been on politics for years. And obviously the better person for the job. Like in any job you start at the bottom and work your way up. You dnt run for president of something just cause you think your the best you start at the bottom and work your way up. If you wanted my vote levindis you should have ran for a councilman postion cause we all know what councilman has to go. Or if you have a brain you would. But levindis had to go make a deal with this councilman cause they dnt like seeing a woman in the president spot. Well say what you want on here people but my vote is going for the person with experience who has been fighting for what's right for this city for years.

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