City Council candidates’ forum at the Cow: a much better format in a fun venue

L to R: Wade Schulz, Paul Reiland, Frank Balster, Steve Engler, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher, Betsey Buckheit Norman Butler Steve Engler L to R: Wade Schulz, Paul Reiland, Frank Balster, Steve Engler, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher, Betsey Buckheit,
Contented Cow proprietor Norman Butler hosted a two-hour forum for Northfield City Council Ward 2 and At-Large candidates last night on the Cow’s outdoor patio.

  • At-Large Council candidates: Betsey Buckheit, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher
  • 2nd Ward Council candidates: Frank Balster, Paul Reiland, Wade Schulz; David DeLong did not attend.

Steve Engler moderated the panel and made it much more interesting by interacting with the candidates when he thought their comments needed to be clarified. I loved it whenever he refused to accept empty platitudes.

Norman Butler, Lance Heisler Don McGee Elizabeth!
Norman goaded citizen/patrons into expressing their opinions instead of just asking questions.

The primary election is Aug. 14. Absentee voting info here.


  1. kiffi summa said:

    Unbelievable that the primary is next Tuesday, and there is no discussion on this website ( “people, issues … etc of NF” ) of candidates… the issues …

    Is there anybody out there, or do you just all know who you’re voting for?

    August 9, 2012
  2. Kathie Galotti said:

    It’s harder and harder to express an opinion in this town if it might be perceived as controversial. Even on this blog, which used to be a haven for discussion of controversial issues. We don’t want to be rude! And, with two of the at-large candidates (at least) being regular readers and contributors to this blog, it’s hard/awkward to say something about them or their positions. That’s what I think is going on.

    August 9, 2012
  3. kiffi summa said:

    Kathie: I agree with how difficult it is to express an opinion that might be perceived as controversial, and also about how this (LG) “used to be a haven for discussion of controversial issues”.

    There are people who thought that was the value of LG … although you could also talk to many people who read it all the time, but would not think of contributing to the conversation…. way too ‘scary’ to write your opinions for just anyone to see…
    But that is exactly where the value comes, IMO; for people to see that adults can have a serious discussion in which they may have very different opinions, even diametrically opposed opinions, and yet value hearing the opposing views expressed/aired.

    Anyone who wants to have any level of political life, especially in elected office, has to accept that they will have people who support them and those who do not, and for the most part those views will not switch to the other ‘side’.
    As a matter of fact , it is their conviction, if they truly have it, that makes people feel strongly one way or another about a candidate.

    David Ludescher: I am going to assume that you will not object to being the subject of this discussion, for illustrative purposes. 🙂
    You and I have on this site vehemently disagreed about the money spent on some streetscape projects, especially the bike trail link … But I think you are ‘right on’ concerning many, not all, of your comments about the Safety Center financing process.
    Neither those likes, or dislikes, of mine about your expressed views would singularly incline me to vote for or against you in an election; rather I would look at the whole picture that you present …
    and thanks for being the lab case!

    But Kathie, what I have heard is people who unfortunately, IMO, are willing to throw out a thoughtful, hardworking candidate who may be mostly, but not totally in synch with that voter’s views. That I think is a waste; people are not likely to find a candidate with whom they are totally synchronous (hope that’s a word) and that’s why I think our local elections tend to be so reactionary.

    August 9, 2012
  4. David Ludescher said:

    Kiffi and Kathie,

    Feel free to say what you want and I will try to respond.


    As the “test” case, I think I have been consistent in my positions about the proper functioning of government, especially when it comes to spending. I don’t think the government should build infrastructure for the business park without being reimbursed and I don’t think the government should be building bike trails, underpasses, and pretty things for the Northfield Bo-Bo’s.

    I would require everyone and anyone to prove why they need the government’s help before handing out the hard-earned taxpayer money. That includes the police department and the fire department.

    I think I am a liberal’s liberal, and a conservative’s conservative. I am not interested in the social engineering of people’s lives. If you want to live in a 100 year-old home on Northfield’s east side (like I do with my family) – more power to you. If you want to live on Mayflower Hill, in the trailer court, in cookie-cutter houses on the south side – that is up to you. If you can pay for it, and someone will build it, you should be able to be free to do what you want. I am not going to support a 300 page land development code that tries to micro-manage the design of every building built.

    If I am doing my job, almost every voter will be mad at me at one point or another because I will say, “No.” to their pet project or their special cause. As one judge used to say, “If every litigant dislikes me, then I have probably done my job. And if every litigant dislikes me equally, then I probably have been fair.”

    August 10, 2012
  5. kiffi summa said:

    A very fair, and I think honest reply, David…
    And I think that is what people want to hear from candidates, instead of a lot of what I call ‘positioning’; i.e., saying what each listener wants to hear.

    August 10, 2012
  6. David Ludescher said:


    Thank you for the kind words.

    August 10, 2012
  7. kiffi summa said:

    Norman Butler has announced the dates for his fall candidate forums regarding the local city council election… Norman could you please post them here? … but he is looking for an e-mail address for Jon Denison so that he can be notified…

    Anyone have an e-mail address for Jon Denison ???

    September 20, 2012
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    I do, Kiffi. I’ll contact Jon and let him know that Norman wants to connect. David Delong, too.

    September 21, 2012

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