22 August 2011 - williamsforakron

Pat Kennard Interviews Mike Williams (2) - Looking Back

Pat Kennard, retired veteran reporter from WAKR & Channel 23, interviews Councilman-at-large Mike Williams during his 2011 mayoral election campaign.

in 24 years councilman Williams I'm sure

there have been a lot of opportunities that you have had to make input I don't know if we could talk about all of it but can you single out some things perhaps that you've shepherded some ordinances bills delight well I often get asked the question what was your most significant thing that you had done as as a council member and I would probably have to say and have to put in a context of people understand why while I was pretty significant when i was elected to council there were a number of individuals that were extremely supportive of me they were the call the mayor's of the of the community Finley Bramlett who founded the greater west side Counsell block clubs atha Walker who was the Democratic chair for the four ward for you know mrs. Eaton mayor eaten who was on the other side of the expressway that on Yukon and was a leader in that in that community and one of the things the first thing they wanted me to to do and to accomplish was to restore the old west akron y to a viable community center now going back and i mentioned early that i grew up on dobra avenue every kid back in those days you kind of had a hangout where

were you where you went a lot of kids it was the Urban League and I went to the Urban League some but for me the principal hangout place was the West Jacqueline YMCA which is on Lawton street and that's where i went to ymca day camp and learned fishing and archery was to take a swimming and we went horseback riding and it were saturday movies there at the Y and went there after school they sold candy and stuff in it was a place to come play kirams and and for the young people that's that's like pool but their little round discs same kind of principle okay and it was a sinner central place where kids could go it was safe it was there was supervision there and it was just an important part of the communities right across the street from Schumacher and the cities to have recreation programs that took place at the at the school so there was always activity and things going on there the Y closed it was closed for many many years my olive baptist church purchased the building tried to rehab it but they really didn't have the resources to be to do it they put money in but weren't able to really turn it around so I had the city

purchase the building from the church and then we invested 2 million dollars into it rehabbed the facility and returned it as a useful part of the community opening with a computer center and the seniors are in there on the puters and and once again kids were there in the building and learning and growing and using gymnasium and all of that so that was very important to me one because it was a key place for me as as a young child and having the opportunity to restore that community has personal meaning to me but additionally this is what the neighborhood leadership wanted this was the top thing on their agenda and I think it's extremely important that people in the community set an agenda for their community and that the city government responds to that to that agenda I'm going to key things I did as chairman of Budget and Finance Committee was shepherding the stadium project through through council and there was opposition to the to the stadium and I had along with other council members and Mayor Pasqual look at the time we had gone and looked at a number of different stadiums and had pretty much looked at

some of the mistakes that were made at some of these other places and fashion a a stadium that would meet our needs it was very clear to me that it was important that it was in downtown the stadium itself is not a money maker but the development and things that could take place around it that's that's the in really impact of a stadium and we went to a number of communities leaving richmond virginia if i remember right beautiful stadium sitting out in the middle of nowhere no opportunity for other economic development or anything else to take place with that so is extremely important that it was downtown and with my leadership on council we we got it through and it has turned out to be a key component in the downtown rejuvenation no you interject this here you and the mayor used to be allies years ago there was harmony in the camera what happened can I put that in the county let me tell you and I tell you how how my relationship in the mayor route with the mayor really ties into my basic philosophy when I came on the council the first thing the majority of counsel at the time came to me and said

well you know you knew want you to just sit here and be quiet and you know we'll learn will kind of run the show I promptly informed them that I was elected by the citizens of Ward 4 to represent them I'm qualified to do the job I'm as qualified as any of you to do this job I prepared for it and I am NOT going to be quiet and I'm going to exercise my right to speak and speak on behalf of my resonance the first feedback because Don Pasquale just been elected mayor he was elect the same time I was elected to council was appointed earlier and then was actual letter so we both are elected the same election first feedback I get on the mayor's office from from Don his and quote you know Mike Williams isn't going to walk around in five hundred dollar suits while his wife works in my law department and my wife at the time was a member that acronym department she was brought in by Harold stuffs as well was the law directly and she's working in department while my wife certainly took the cue on that she left a law department and but that's how we started but again I still need a door open and as we worked together worked on different things we

we formed a close relationship we had a council leadership which meant regularly I was part of that leadership team and that was the chairman of the key committees and we work together to resolve problems the issues that facing the city we work together on the Jed's we work together on on the Community Learning Center's we work together on all these major initiatives that have been accomplished and unfortunately one of the things that has come out in this campaign is this whole premise that Don Pasquale has done all these things by himself he has it's been a team of individuals that have contributed to that and we're that team has worked together there's been some success very successful things where Don father's was worked on his own say for example the the project to sell or lease the sewer the scholarship program those things failed and I frankly I disagreed with the mayor on the sale release of the sewer system and the scholarship program was faulty in terms of how was put together I think that's a good idea I think that's something we should we should look at and figure out a way to do but the way he had a structure it was

it was it was set to fail so you had you're not saying that there's any one particular thing that it started and it just continued to grow because of very well for a long time and then and I had disagreements and this is a common theme with a current mayor if you have a disagreement with him you take a different position then you get put on the enemies list so and I don't remember specifically yeah I look back when the mayor was had heart surgery my wife and I we went to visit him in the hospital up until his last reelection swearing-in ceremony a Williams has sworn him in either my father judge Williams while my wife Anna Lisa would so there was a very close relationship and we work very closely together on a number of different projects and and you know it and I remain open to conversation in dialogue but I had my own thoughts my own voice and I listened to to residents and clearly there was not to support their to sit as a sell or lease the sewer system and I took a position opposing him on that

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