What are the biggest issues facing the city?
Bullocks: Getting the income tax passed to maintain our safety forces and provide city services that our citizens are used to having.
Laubenthal: We all know the biggest issue right now is the financial stability of our city. Do I have answers to all the problems? No. I think it took a long time for us to get to this point and it is going to take awhile to get out of it. I don’t believe asking the voters for more tax increases is going to bail us out — especially if there are no jobs available. You can ask for an income tax increase, but if there are no jobs, where is this money going to come from?
We need to concentrate on bringing in new business to the downtown area. But before that can be done, we need to clean up some of the problems we have.
How do you plan to address them?
Bullocks: Campaign hard for the tax levy and talk with union leaders about concessions and asking for their help on passing the tax levy. A lot of their members’ jobs depend on the passage of this tax levy.
Laubenthal: First of all, I think that the administration of our city needs to be more involved within the community. They need to be out there talking to all the people to find out what is on their minds and what can they do to help them — especially in the downtown area. It is starting to become a bit of a ghost town. People are afraid to come downtown in the evenings. The vandalism, crime and violence need to stop. I believe one way to start this process is for business owners to come together to try to come up with ways to bring it to a halt or it is just going to continue. I honestly believe that we cannot give up. There is hope to make it better. Everyone just has to be on board and work together.
What makes you best suited for the job?
Bullocks: Almost 16 years on Council means a lot. You do not learn the ins and outs of this job in one or two terms. It takes several years to learn how the system works and how to navigate through it. It is a job you have to love doing. There are no rewards — just criticism.
Laubenthal: Passion and the belief that we can make things better. I have a high energy level. I am a business owner. I live downtown. I see the changes happening every day. The buildings are deteriorating, and no one is coming downtown because there is nothing to come down for. I would love to see more small businesses here — more restaurants, more lighting — so that people will feel safe.
Forrest L. Bullocks
Education: Graduate of Elyria High School
Family: Wife, Gloria, and daughters Stephanie, Angela, Jennifer
Job history: U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967; B.F. Goodrich Chemical Co. from 1967 to 2001; Elyria City Council from 1993 to present
Education: Obtained G.E.D. in 1974, received real estate license in 1981, broker’s license in 1987. Past president of Lorain County Board of Realtors in 1987 and served as state district vice-president in 1986 and headed the Realtors Political Action Committee in the early 1980s
Family: Two sons, Sam Lambert and Steven Lambert
Job history: Opened Stitch Wizard in 1990 (sold it in 2005); bought and reopened Moss’ Prime Rib and Spaghetti House in 2001