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ONE Gardner ‘Stinks’
BG 4 Corners News &
Views for Ohio’s Cradle of Education
Common Sense Where Main Meets Wooster
Bowling Green, Ohio
Vol.2, Nos.7-8 January 2007
City, Call Citi
It took nearly nine years for what seemed inevitable
at the time to be in the verge of happening.
That would be the sale of once Mid-Am now Sky Bank and
the liquidation of its headquarters in Bowling Green.
The city of Bowling Green will lose 300 jobs and several buildings in downtown
BG will become vacant, according to published reports.
Huntington Bancshares, headquartered in guess where …
Columbus, and Sky Financial Group, announced a merger that amounts to a
takeover by the Huntington in December. The deal is to be closed in late summer
Sky’s CEO Marty
Adams, who in 1998 orchestrated the merger between Mid-Am and his Citizens
Bancshares of eastern Ohio, apparently
let Bowling Green’s interests
slide in return for becoming CEO of the Huntington in 2009.
Former Mid-Am CEOs Ashel Bryan and Ed Reiter, both of
whom once praised Adams’ ability, apparently were powerless to protect the
hometown’s interests, having left the bank’s board of directors years ago. All
they have for consolation is what they made off their millions of dollars of
Mid-Am stock and a 25 percent premium on the Sky stock that remains in their
hands along with all other Sky stockholders.
BG’s Mayor John
Quinn and its seven City Council members were quick to do nothing publicly to
head off this economic disaster for the city and its downtown, whose major
growth is in vacancy signs.
Instead, they started talking about the Sky Bank
headquarters building on South Main Street as a possible new city hall with oodles of the downtown’s most precious
commodity, in their eyes, parking. Who cares if we have no taxpaying businesses
with taxpaying employees in downtown Bowling Green as long as we have the blessed parking!
Too bad the
public-minded and public-spirited Library board and its democratic director did
not wait a few months before launching neighborhood destruction in the name of
parking. With the Sky Bank abandonment and City Hall relocation, the Library
could have tripled its parking capacity and left the trees and the squirrels
alone. What did they know and when did they know it regarding Sky’s demise?
Most Bowling Green insiders
have suspected Sky’s takeover and departure were only a matter of time.
If the mayor and the council members were really looking
after the city’s interests, they would have contacted Citigroup (known as
Citi), JP Morgan Chase, HSBC and other U.S. based megabanks and tried to interest them in a
friendly takeover of Sky Bank that would preserve the jobs and office buildings’
occupancy in downtown Bowling
course, they would not have wanted to have hurt the feelings of their friends
at Huntington and its downtown edifice.
Just in case city
officials or any loyal Bowling Greener wants to make contact, here are some
megabank email addresses: citybank.com, jpmorganchase.com, banking.us.hsbc.com.
Sky and Huntington have written into the deal a penalty payment of $125
million to one or the other in case a big rival comes calling. That is pocket
change to the megabanks.
-- John K. Hartman, Editor and Publisher (OVER)
Corners News & Views January
‘Switcher’ Gardner’s Proposal
the fate of Bowling
erstwhile state senator, Randy Gardner.
beloved Republican Party took a licking in the November elections and his
Bowing Green buddy, golfing and dining partner Tom Noe is behind bars for the
next two decades (barring pardons).
Gardner has been a second, third or fourth banana in the
leadership of the state legislature in his 17 years, he has never been the top
banana and probably never will be.
another awkward “switch” with largely silent partner, State Rep. Bob Latta.
They traded jobs six years to avoid term limits (never mind the voters’ intent)
and in 2008 they face the same situation. Either switch or be gone from Columbus.
In Wood County, they have little to fear. The GOP owns the
electorate for county races and state legislative races in Wood County. While Democrat Ted Strickland took 59 percent of the
county’s votes for governor and Marc Dann grabbed 52 percent against local fav
Betty M., Republican Tim Brown got 52-plus percent for commissioner and Latta
coasted to a 57 percent win.
Latta may be reluctant to run for state senate in 2008 because two thirds of
the votes are outside Wood County in less friendly to Republicans Ottawa County and parts of Lucas and Erie counties. Not to mention State Rep. and Ohio
Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern is term limited and seriously eyeing the
may prefer to run for county commissioner. Gardner may prefer to run for county commissioner and avoid
the insults of dealing with the Democratic governor. That leaves incumbents
Republican Jim Carter and Democrat Who Votes Republican Alvin Perkins on the
bubble. Brown could run for state representative or state senator in 2008 and
still keep his post. Republicans from other counties might be heard from as
well as legislator contenders.
Democrats in Wood County? Until we
get over being nice and accepting leftovers from Republicans and get a
political gut-fighter like U.S. Rep Rahm
Emanuel, who led the national Democratic takeover, to run our party and our
campaigns, we are stuck as also-rans.
has been a flurry of activity since the election results came in, indicating a
keen interest in extending his elective career by either returning to the House
or running for commish. Wood County has been his focus.
notably, Gardner is trying desperately to put the factory farm issue
behind him as it has grown in intensity and threatened to fracture his
political base in the countryside.
goofy proposal that reminds of the wacky plan years ago to cheaply take the
sulfur out of coal, Gardner wants to burn the cow manure from the factory farms
and turn it into energy. Commissioner Brown, who took a political hit on this
issue in November, is Gardner’s partner in this stinky mess.
The so-called bio-digester is nothing
more than a diversion to take the voters minds away from the fact that central Wood County is being
taken over by factory farms that threaten to pollute our air and water. And I
believe the stench bombs will kill housing and economic development in central Wood County, a disaster
even to worry Republicans.
Gardner -- already at odds with small fishing businesses that
will be done in by the arrival of Bass Pro in Rossford courtesy of
Gardner-backed tax breaks -- is trying to put a happy face on a growing
political problem for the party that runs Wood County, the Republican Party. An ex-county GOP chair
himself, Gardner is Wood County’s best-known leader now that Betty M. was
involuntarily retired. He does not want his constituents to hold their noses
shut when they think of him.
BG 4 Corners Tip Of The Month: While City loses $500,000 a year on rec
center and competing private businesses struggle, city could not sell its
interest in rec center for half of $4 million it cost.
BG 4 Corners Lamest Coverage Of The Month: The Sentinel Tribune refers to the
neighborhood destruction for the Library parking lot as “progress.” Only a
paper edited by a former Library board member would be so lame. Reads like Karl Rove is writing headlines.
BG 4 Corners News & Views
of Bowling Green was founded June 1, 2005 by John K. Hartman, its
publisher. Its purpose is to provide additional news and points-of-view to
citizens of Bowling Green in the belief that thorough
awareness of and discussion of issues makes for a better community. It will be
available free at various drop-off points in Bowling Green and by email by sending your
email address and request to John.Hartman@dacor.net. Patrons may support BG 4
Corners News & Views for $10 per issue. Ads may be purchased for $20
per issue. Comments and submissions are
welcome. Contact information: John.Hartman@dacor.net ; 419-352-8180; 1400 Wren Road, BG, OH 43402. Back issues at www.dacor.net/john.hartman Copyright 2006, John K. Hartman, All Rights