In Akron’s Ward 7, Donnie Kammer used his experience as a neighborhood-watch organizer in Firestone Park and a lot of hustle to upset the incumbent, City Councilwoman Tina Merlitti, in the 2011 Democratic primary. In the general election, Kammer easily won election to a two-year term.
In this year’s Democratic primary, the tables are turned. Kammer faces Merlitti’s husband, attorney Adam Van Ho.
We recommend the election of Donnie Kammer in the Sept. 10 primary.
Two years ago, one key question was: How would Kammer, a real estate agent, handle his responsibilities once on the City Council?
The answer is, he has performed in a solid way, responsive to concerns raised in the ward on issues such as demolishing abandoned and dilapidated housing and commercial property. He has been willing to work with council leaders on key votes, signaled by an endorsement from Garry Moneypenny, the council president.
Kammer also has shown a willingness to learn how the City Council works, growing in the office and avoiding needless confrontations with the administration and its allies. In the wake of the case involving the demolition of a home owned by Army veteran Larry Modic, Kammer acted constructively, co-sponsoring legislation to require full disclosure by property sellers.
Van Ho is well-qualified. A former assistant Ohio attorney general and assistant prosecutor in Summit and Montgomery counties, he has run for elected office twice before, for the Ohio House and for a Stow Municipal Court judgeship.
In this campaign, Van Ho is focused on crime and capital investment in Ward 7 since Kammer took office. The issues are important. Still, Kammer continues to have a strong relationship with neighborhood watch groups. Van Ho’s critique on capital improvements overlooks the inevitable ebb and flow in such budgeting. In view of Kammer’s growth in his first term, he likely will prove adept at bringing investment dollars into the ward.
Despite his charges, what Van Ho lacks is a compelling reason for voters to remove a council member who has been attentive and hard-working.