President Barack Obama's recent campaign stop and overnight stay left behind a bill that Fairlawn's mayor doesn't want going to the taxpayers.
President Obama's arrival and one-night stay at a Fairlawn hotel cost the city about $34,000 according to Mayor Bill Roth.
Roth says he's sending the bill to those who he believes should pay.
"We going to send it on both to the Obama campaign and to the Democratic National Committee," Roth said.
"Hopefully we do get some payment, realistically it's impossible to tell."
The bill includes $12,000 in police overtime, along with manpower for set-up ringing up for the president's arrival at about $2,800. The city also had to purchase materials and equipment in preparation. Manpower from the city's fire department is included on the tab at about $5,000.
Roth says he's honored to have the President and any other candidate visit his town, but he reiterated that it's difficult to maintain the city's budget without advance notice.
"Regardless of what political party, if office holders come in or the present other office holders in municipalities have to incur costs, because of those visits, and they're purely election trips, then frankly I don't think the taxpayers should have to subsidize that," Roth said.
Fairlawn Tracking Costs After President's Visit
Obama Tour Stop Hits Akron
Remember a few weeks ago when morning rush hour traffic was at a standstill as President Obama left from an overnight stay in Fairlawn and ate breakfast at a west Akron restaurant?
Get ready for the same traffic nightmare, only this time on the way home from work this afternoon.
The President will make a campaign speech at the Knight Center in downtown Akron, scheduled for 4pm, right in the middle of the rush hour commute home.
It all starts at Akron-Canton Airport between 3 p.m. and 3:30pm, on I-77 northbound. The Summit County Sheriff's Department will be involved with blocking off traffic and providing security on bridges and overpasses at the President's motorcade rolls toward Akron.
The President will be arriving from an earlier campaign event in Mansfield.
Sheriff Drew Alexander is a veteran of these visits and he says it's not a pleasant experience stopping traffic on a major interstate.
"It's a big problem and obviously it's inconvenient, but its something that has to be done, and we understand that. We take our lead from the Secret Service on that. They basically tell us what the route is going to be," says Alexander.
Alexander says they'll utilize what's called a rolling roadblock to escort Obama's motorcade from and to the airport. " We'll keep our cars jumping ahead one at a time, so that we always have several roadways blocked, but as the presidential entourage goes through then we open that back up. We just don't let traffic catch up to the caravan."
Alexander says for just one afternoon, roughly between 3 and 7, motorists who normally take I-77 north and southbound should map another route to get home.
"Take an alternate route. We're not sure the hour or the amount of time we're going to have to shut these down, or what time we're going to shut them down. I would suggest that if you don't have to come into the city, don't. And if you can stay off I-77 I'd certainly advise that," says Alexander.
Alexander tells AkronNewsNow.com there are alternate north-south routes you can choose. "There's a lot of north-south, Arlington, Massillon Road, Canton Road, a lot of ways to get in and out, and avoid 77."
Above all, Alexander says to exercise patience and plan for your afternoon commute to be longer than usual.
President Obama's visit is also altering other plans in downtown Akron. Several streets around the Knight Center will be closed off.
The Akron Summit County Public Library has postponed at least one event this afternoon because of the Obama rall .
METRO RTA also advising other routes and service may be impacted adversely because of the afternoon rush hour arrival, appearance and departure. Metro officials say the exact times, specific street closures and planned detours during the visit and for the president’s motorcade won't be made public for security reasons. If you are a Metro rider and need more information on how the President's visit will alter bus routes, you can call the customer services line at 330-762-0341.
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President Barack Obama will make a campaign stop in Akron at the John S. Knight Center this Wednesday.
Tickets are available today and tomorrow at the Obama for America field office at 1706 West Market Street.
Doors will open for the event at 1 p.m.
Fairlawn Mayor Bill Roth plans to send President Barack Obama a bill after his costly visit to the city last week.
Roth said special security was needed at the Hilton on West Market Street during the president's stay at the hotel including EMS and officers from surrounding communities.
"Economically, for the Hilton and some of the area, it was a plus and it's also a honor to have any president visit," said Roth. "But the reality is, it's also costs that local governments have to bear and those are security costs."
Fairlawn Tracking Costs After President's Visit by Amani Abraham
Extra security is normal for a president on the campaign trail, but Roth says he plans to start tracking the costs and sending bills to each of the candidates who choose to stay in the city.
"We don't care what party the person is from, but when you have these types of visits, essentially campaign visits, we are going to keep track of the expenses that we have to run up that are stemming from the visits. We are going to send the bills to their respective campaign committees," said Roth.
Roth expects to learn the total cost of the visit sometime next week.
The news Friday came as a shock; Akron restaurant owner Josephine "Ann" Harris passed away just hours after meeting President Barack Obama, who'd stopped by her "Ann's Place" for a quick breakfast on the campaign trail.
Normally any presidential visit brings with it the phrase Andy Warhol coined: "...everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes..." and indeed, in Ann's case, she was not only famous for meeting President Obama in the parking lot of her restaurant. She became famous as well for her passing of natural causes a short time later.
In this political environment today where men and women wearing thousand dollar suits make big money as pundits for calling each other names, at a time when the political discourse between candidates often boil down to each calling the other liars or scoundrels, it is perhaps natural to fear the type of punditry some expected to follow the sad news. "Watch this get twisted" was one comment I saw on Facebook; "Watch and listen to the wing nuts go to town with this one" was another. Given the type of rhetoric that passes for debate, those fears weren't out of the question.
There was some of that on Facebook posts, but not much. A talk radio station here in the Akron area even tried the next day to insinuate the President hadn't called with condolences. He did. They must have missed that note everyone else saw that Mr. Obama called the family from Air Force One upon hearing the news. For the most part an odd thing happened in the nasty circle of the political sphere after the news.
No trying to link the death of a woman who'd suffered from recent health problems to the future of Obamacare on Fox; no trying to link the need for health care reform from MSNBC. No graphics from the New York Times showing a death curve based on meeting politicians; none of the type of invective we've almost come to expect from those who push every boundary of good taste to try and make an obvious political point. Straight reporting and overwhelmingly an outpouring of thoughts and prayers for a woman who's brush with fame wasn't enough to overwrite the humanity of the loss her family and friends are feeling.
The passing of Josephine "Ann" Harris was carried around the world, more than 8500 references in a Google search just 48 hours later. That certainly qualified for Warhol's description of one's 15 minutes. And for Ann Harris it followed what was, by all accounts, a moment in her life that just about topped all others.
Ann Harris got what many of us know, despite any political differences, is a wonderful moment in her life: she got to meet a President, and it sure didn't hurt it was one she liked and supported. "She loved Obama," her daughter told us. It was enough to get her to leave her home where she had been recovering from a series of stroke and heart attacks and it was enough to have him greet her as she drove up to the restaurant she'd poured her heart and soul into for three decades. Her family said it was the best moment of her life, "the highlight" said her sister to the Akron Beacon Journal.
It doesn't take a pundit to see why.
Family and friends are mourning the sudden loss of Josephine "Ann" Harris who passed away shortly after President Obama stopped in this morning for breakfast.
Deanna Hubbard, Harris' daughter said that meeting Mr. Obama was one of the highlights of her life.
"She loved Obama," Hubbard said.
"She was very happy and excited to go and see him."
Harris was 70. Her restaurant, Ann's Place on South Hawkins has been in business for over 30 years and Hubbard said that it was a honor to have President Obama in her restaurant.
"I asked one of the Secret Service people why they picked our restaurant, and he said they had been watching it for a couple of weeks, so they chose our restaurant."
She had complained of fatigue and heart-attack like symptoms as she was being taken to the hospital hours after the President had breakfast.
Hubbard said that Obama was very gracious when he got to the restaurant and took the opportunity to get to know Ann, who had been battling health problems.
Deanna Hubbard, daughter of Josephine Ann Harris by Akron NewsNow
"I had told him that my mom just had a heart attack in June and he said that he wasn't going to wait for her to come to him, he was going to come to her," Hubbard said.
"He gave her a hug, and took pictures with her and everything."
Harris was pronounced dead at Akron General Friday morning around 11:18 a.m.
The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office tells AkronNewsNow.com the death came from natural causes.
From Toledo to Youngstown the past 48 hours there's been plenty of celebrity gawking as President Obama opened a bus tour across Ohio into Pennsylvania, followed in tow by GOP Governors Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal on another bus. One law enforcement official, however, would appreciate someone calling him so he can send a message, too.
Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver has a regular feature on the Brimfield Police Department's Facebook page called "Chief's Babble"; he usually offers commentary on local issues, but today's posting asks a question of the President: can't you come through on a quiet Sunday instead of a busy rush hour when people are trying to get to work?
The "Chief's Babble" notes it may contain sarcasm, for those unfamiliar with Oliver's conversational and breezy style of writing which frequently uses irony and sarcasm in it's observations relating to his issues of the day. Today's posting reflected just some of the comments and calls we recieved at AkronNewsNow from drivers frustrated with delays that usually accompany a Presidential motorcade.
President Obama's bus tour started in the Toledo area before making it's way through Sandusky, Cleveland's western suburbs and a rally in Parma Thursday evening before stopping for an overnight stay at the Doubletree Hotel in Fairlawn.
His morning opened with a round of traffic headaches for Akron-area motorists on West Market, Miller Road and Interstate 77 that also included a breakfast stop at Ann's Place on South Hawkins Ave. (seen, left, courtesy pool photo/Associated Press) before heading east to campaign appearances in the Youngstown area. The bus tour hits Pittsburgh Friday afternoon.
Related story: Ann's Place Owner Dies After Meeting Obama
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(Text of Chief Oliver's post on Facebook)
Chief’s Babble….On a Presidential Drive-by….
***Warning- may contain sarcasm****
Dear Mr. President,
I am the Chief of Police in Brimfield, Ohio. I have sent you a couple letters in the past, one of which requested stimulus funding for our new police department. I know you are busy running the country (a job I would not want) and you cannot return every letter or call. Actually, no elected federal public servant returned a call to me. We were not awarded any funding, so we applied for a loan through the USDA. We are building the new department right now.
I respect the office of the President and love my country. I am also not good at keeping my mouth shut when the community is impacted. This morning you came through our community. You entered it shortly after leaving Akron, Ohio. We are a small police department of 13 officers- and we were all here today, shutting down on and off-ramps, and generally causing delays to the motoring public. While I respect campaigns and the desire to serve the public, I would like to offer that motoring down an interstate in a huge bus, with a caravan resembling a parade, may not be the best idea during rush hour. As a working man, I get somewhat stressed when I am late for work. I believe others do also. Our department had to shut down eight on and off ramps, secure bridges and make the ODOT workers stop doing ODOT work as you made your way through. We could not tell anyone why they were being delayed, which does not help with the public perception on police officers in general.
I respect that you are the “most powerful man on the planet” and to be fair, if Mitt Romney did this, he would get the same advice. I am pretty confident you understand how everything comes to a standstill when you enter a community. Additionally, from a fiscal standpoint, my officers were here in an overtime capacity this morning, which is at the expense of the taxpayers- who are now late for work.
If you decide to come this way again, my suggestion is to do so on a quiet Sunday either before church traffic or in between church traffic and lunch. Sundays are usually a little more manageable for the motoring public. You are also welcome to stop and see the construction progress, as is Mr. Romney. We would be excellent hosts.
Best of luck in your endeavors…...Chief.
The Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Fairlawn looked a little different Thursday night because a famous guest was in town getting a little R&R before hitting the road Friday morning.
President Barack Obama stayed at the hotel in conjunction with his two day bus trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The orange fencing seen lining both sides of the street served as a buffer zone between the motorcade and the public, but that didn't stop people from standing close by to catch a glimpse of the Commander-In-Chief.
When asked what she would say to the President if she were to have breakfast with him, Karla Zook would want to see health care improved in the United States, especially for senior citizens.
"I think it's a real shame, people work hard all their lives, and do so much, and when it comes down to the last years of their lives they have to pay so much for their medications," Zook said. "Something needs to change there."
Butchie Lightfoot said he would ask Mr. Obama about his religious faith. "I would ask the President how much he loves the Lord," Lightfoot explained. "I think that should be a priority in everyone's life and I think it's a good question to ask him."
Butchie's wife Quindera says she would like to see the state's prison system reformed. "I would ask the President if he got re-elected if he would come to Ohio and help our inmates," she said. "There's a lot of people in jail and need to be free, because we have our own war going on out here."
Another woman who asked not to be named said she would ask President Obama about the high gas prices in the U.S. "It's a fortune," she says. "People can't go on vacations, because you can't spend $175-200 on gas."
The President will be heading to suburban Youngstown to speak at a school Friday afternoon and then is scheduled to appear at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
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