Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Highland Heights starts with fresh slate

By Dave Niinemets
Enquirer contributor

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Residents have spoken, and they now have a new City Council and mayor in place for the next two years.

Charles W. Roettger III, with 1,026 votes, beat Craig J. Farrish, with 338, and Betty J. Williams, with 298, to win the mayor's race.

Steve Lehman was the top vote getter for council with 1,255 votes and will be joined by Rose Pfaff (1,192), Greg Meyers (1,163), Gene White (1,150), Harold Blocher (1,132) and Joe Hagedorn (946).

"I think it's a very incredible grass-roots effort by the people of Highland Heights, who restored civility to city government," Mr. Roettger said.

Residents will now wait to see if a new group can end the infighting that has plagued city government for several years. The lines were drawn throughout the last term.

On one side were Mr. Roettger and the Concerned Citizens of Highland Heights, a group that includes candidates and former councilmen Harold Blocher and Gene White.

The other side included incumbent candidates Margaret Stamper, Paul Dickerson and Betty Williams, who decided to pursue Mr. Roettger's seat.

Lawyer Craig Farrish joined the mayor's race because of his concerns over city government.

Joe Hagedorn was the other councilman trying to retain a seat.

Rose Pfaff, Eldred Houben, Steve Lehman and Greg Meyers were newcomers to the race.

Mr. Roettger has served as the city's mayor for the past nine years, but competition was expected from Mrs. Williams. She was council's leading vote getter in the last election.

Among the stalemates faced by the city in the past few years have been problems passing the budget, arguments over which streets to fix, disagreements over development, and the dismissal of a councilman accused of using city money to buy a lawn mower for himself.

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