Monday, October 22, 2001

Waynesville veterans vie for mayor's seat

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WAYNESVILLE — Three experienced council members want to be elected mayor on Nov. 6, including incumbent Ernie Lawson and a former mayor recalled from the office.

        Charles Sanders, former mayor and councilman, and Earl J. Isaacs, a former councilman, are challenging Mr. Lawson.

        Mr. Sanders was recalled last year after claiming that village police were engaging in racial profiling. Two officers stopped three black men for alleged traffic violations. The men claimed they were held at gunpoint and handcuffed while officers searched for drugs.

        The men were not charged. A Warren County sheriff's investigation in May 2000 cleared police. Mr. Sanders was recalled as mayor last Nov. 7, by a vote of 691-473, but continued to serve until the election re sults were certified on Nov. 21, 2000.

        The town's charter states that anyone removed from office is not eligible for election to a similar position for one year from the date of removal. If Mr. Sanders is elected again and the vote is certified on or after Nov. 22, he'll be eligible to serve in the town of 2,500 people, said Patrick D. Long, the village law director.

        Mr. Sanders, 54, a retired trucker for General Motors in Dayton, Ohio, said, “I want to give voters another chance. I entertain new ideas and concepts and focus on the future. I consider myself the only legitimate mayor, since I was actually elected.”

        Mr. Lawson was named mayor on Jan. 2. He has lived in Waynesville for 15 years and is a local business owner. He said he wants to develop an industrial park to add to the town's strong tourism industry.

        “I'm working with the Wayne Township trustees to develop a joint economic development district,” he said. “My approach is pro-active leadership. Getting to where we want to go as a town depends on the property leadership.”

        Mr. Isaacs, also a retired auto worker, was elected to a four-year term on council two years ago.

        “Citizens' property rights are the main issue,” he said. “If you want to build a deck, you can't in some cases. One man had already ordered his lumber. We also need to take care of storm sewers. To build a new municipal building, we need some more income. We have an industrial park in place but the landowner is upset and there is no movement on the project. I'm a guy who can open that avenue back up.”

        He said he supports the park board, the American Legion's efforts to go wet, and the police.

        “I'm a big supporter of economic growth and development for this area,” he said.


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