Campaign 2019: Tim Gorbach
Staff Interview, 09-09-2019

Tim Gorbach is running in this year's election for the at-large seat vacated earlier this year by Paul Colavecchio.
Photo Provided by Tim Gorbach
The Falls Free Press team has worked up a series of questions that we are sending to city council candidates on this year's ballot. We are sending the same questions to all candidates with some subtle differences—if a candidate is an incumbent, the questions are phrased a little differently. For instance, if we are asking an incumbent why they voted a certain way on a vote before council, we will ask the challenger how they would have voted had they been on council for that vote. We have now solicited responses from all council candidates in this year’s election.

For our second interview in this series, we are publishing the responses we received from Councilman at-large Tim Gorbach. Gorbach served on city council at-large for two terms starting in 1999, and won an at-large seat once again in 2017. At-large terms last four years, but Gorbach is running to take over the seat vacated earlier this year by Paul Colavecchio. If he is successful, he will pave the way for the Democratic Party to appoint a replacement to his current seat. We reached the councilman via email on September 9th.

We have decided to publish the answers we receive from all candidates separately, so if we receive answers from Gorbach’s challenger, we will publish them in short order, but in the meantime, we present Councilman Gorbach’s response below.

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FFP: What do you bring to Cuyahoga Falls as a member of city council that was lacking from that body or other areas of leadership before your election, and how have your plans or ideas bettered every citizen?

GORBACH: I was born and raised here and have lived in the original portion of our City (Wards 4 & 5) and currently reside in the former Northampton Township (Ward 8). In addition, I co-own a business in town that employs close to 30 people. I also worked for the city many years ago and have a working appreciation for our hard-working employees. This allows me a tremendous balance as to what is important to our residents across the city as well as what our business owners in the city need to be successful. Strong businesses and passionate residents are the winning formula that makes our city so great.

FFP: How have you been active in the community, and how have you improved communication to keep Cuyahoga Falls residents informed about their city and seek their input in the decision-making process?

GORBACH: Being an At-Large Council representative is a little different from a ward representative with respect to constituent communication. It is the ward councilmembers that often communicate directly with their residents and keep them informed of happenings specific to their ward. I will participate in meetings directly with the administration regarding many areas specific to larger ward concerns or on subjects related to city wide issues. As far as listening to input from our residents, the best way for that to occur is for them to attend our council meetings. Absent the ability to show up in person, I ask anyone to contact me directly. Numerous residents have taken that approach and I welcome the input.

FFP: What are your thoughts on the successes or lack thereof as far as Portage Crossing and the Downtown Transformation? What have you done to increase the success of these projects?

GORBACH: I haven’t spoken to anyone that thinks either project isn’t a success. The Downtown transformation has been nothing short of amazing. Most people now say that opening Front Street was obvious, but the previous Administration let it remain closed for 28 years. It took Mayor Walters to have the vision and the fortitude to get it done. The Downtown will continue to grow and attract more businesses. My contribution is to support these efforts and make sure that financially the city is making smart decisions moving forward with any further development.

FFP: If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

GORBACH: Please tell me you have it stashed somewhere at the Falls Free Press! Council recently passed legislation for a residential green energy program that will provide low cost loans for all residents wanting to replace windows, furnaces, air conditioning units, etc. This will allow more people the option of having safer and more energy efficient appliances. In addition, many residents would like to fix and repair exterior elements of their home. I would like to use a portion of these funds to both hire a team of professionals to help our residents through this process and have this money available to help get the projects complete. This will effectively make our residents homes safer and more energy efficient, which is a win for everyone.

Since taking office, Mayor Walters has increased the paving budget each year now totaling $2,750,000 more since he has been in office. However, we have some more catching up to do. Some of this money should be used to leverage State and Federal monies to increase this effort.

FFP: Where are your favorite places to spend time in our town?

GORBACH: Isn’t it awesome to have so many options to choose from in our downtown and at Portage Crossings?!! There are so many wonderful places to be in our city. Eating at the different restaurant options downtown is a treat. My wife and I enjoy Beau’s on the river, while my daughter’s favorite is Crave Cantina. Between all of us we have each visited every restaurant downtown and at Portage Crossings several times. When my girls were younger, we were fortunate to live within walking distance of Oak Park and spent countless hours there. I love driving through the City and seeing so many families utilizing our park system. My time on the Park Board was very satisfying working towards enhancing all the amenities our city offers.

FFP: How did you vote on the Sycamore development rezoning amendment, Tobacco 21 initiative, and/or other legislation when it came to a vote, and why did you vote that way?

GORBACH: Sycamore –

I voted in favor of the rezoning. I believed this property was going to be developed either for commercial use as it was originally zoned, or residential as was being requested. While other uses for the property had been mentioned, I didn't find them feasible given the property owner's desire to sell his land for development. I did not feel that that a commercial development was the best-case scenario for the city. Any commercial plan would have retained the same water related and traffic concerns discussed, but would not include saving current structures, creating a trail and trail head as well as less total impervious surface for example. Given this, I would rather that the we control this narrative by rezoning and working to ensure the residential development exceeds all expectations.

I would rather we have homes along this corridor so new residents can enjoy all that the national park system has to offer, rather than line it with more commercial landscape. I saw a greater synergy in the area with this type of zoning.

Tobacco 21 –

I voted in favor of this initiative. We had a real chance to positively affect the health and well being of our youth and failed, instead punting the issue to the State. The state did raise the legal age to 21 to purchase tobacco products beginning in October, yet the burden to enforce this now rests with our local police department. Whereas, had we passed the Tobacco 21 initiative, the county health department would have ensured that our local retailers abide by the law.

Over ninety five percent of smokers begin before they are 21, and they typically start daily use between ages 18 and 21. The primary source for underage users are 18-20-years old. The use of vaping devices in our schools has reached unmanageable levels.

Tobacco kills half a million people per year. These are all preventable deaths. The crushing burden of treating tobacco related diseases has on our health care system raises everyone’s health care costs. There is a reason that Big Tobacco is heavily invested in the ownership of the e-cigarette and vaping device market; traditional cigarette usage is down. They need to recruit replacement smokers for their bottom line. Why do you think there are vaping flavors such candy apple, bubble gum, cherry cola and marshmallow to name a few? For example, in December 2018 Altria (parent company of Phillip Morris USA) and world’s largest cigarette maker, gained a 35% ownership stake in Juul for a $12.8 billion dollar investment.

Yet, despite these and other facts regarding how nicotine adversely affects teenage brains and that e-cigarettes are nothing more than nicotine delivery devices to help get more people hooked on nicotine at young ages, enough members of council chose to ignore this crisis. I am highly disappointed this legislation did not pass despite an endless amount of damning evidence.

It is important to note that this failed legislation would not have taken away the rights of 18-year-old and over to smoke. It would have made it illegal for local retailers to sell to those under 21. By making it inconvenient for those under 21 to purchase these items it was the hope that this inconvenience will eventually deter many from both purchasing or obtaining from someone old enough to buy tobacco products. Every student in the high school encounters vaping numerous times throughout their day as was told to us by current high school students and deserve a vape free learning experience.

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The Falls Free Press wishes to thank Councilman Gorbach for his responses, and we look forward to hearing from the other candidates on this year's ballot.

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