By Jack Butler
Loveland is a lovely place: great businesses, schools, and neighborhoods; a thriving downtown and endlessly entertaining bike trail; and, above all, its wonderful people, who help make the place truly special.
For 32 years, Tim Butler, my father, has been one of these people. He raised my four siblings and me in Loveland. Because the city has given him so much, he has tried to give back. He’s been, among other things, a parent, a coach, a local business owner, and, for the past four years, a member of Loveland’s city council.
He has taken his role on council seriously, knowing he serves the people of Loveland. He carefully studies the issues before Loveland city council, making sure he has a full understanding of them before voting. He also tries to ensure that the city council has all the relevant information on the issues of greatest importance to Loveland. And he seeks input from city residents, who entrusted him with his position.
He has agreed with his fellow council members on many of these issues. Sometimes, however, they have disagreed with him, leaving him in the minority on important votes. The most important of these involve the ongoing debate over the possible construction of a parking garage in the middle of Loveland’s downtown area. Tim has taken a position against this garage, citing its projected costs, its effects on downtown Loveland’s traffic and pedestrian flows, and the unlikelihood of its being consistently used to full capacity. He has proposed alternatives, such as making fuller use of other available parking in the area that often goes unfilled, and considering shuttle services. He has done all of this in good faith, trying to present his views honestly to his fellow council members.
Yet for his opposition to the proposed garage, Tim has been consistently sidelined by council. Members have engaged in procedural trickery to prevent him from starting the kind of discussion about the project that would be appropriate for one of the largest such efforts in the city’s history. And now, it seems like some members of council want him gone. In the current Loveland city council election campaign, two incumbent members and two new candidates are openly collaborating, all with the backing of the mayor, and with the implicit goal of knocking my father out of his position. This is unfortunate. A council without Tim Butler would almost certainly think about and discuss important votes less before actually taking them, to the likely detriment of Loveland’s future.
My father is not some reflexive contrarian. He will vote with other members when he considers them in the right, and has done so many times. But when his study of the issues leads him to a different position, he won’t go along to get along. That’s just not who he is.
So who is Tim Butler? He’s the kind of person the people of Loveland should want to remain their representative on city council. He will consider their interests, ask tough questions, and push for the kinds of discussions that will be necessary for Loveland to chart a successful course. In my father’s four years on council, he has put the people of Loveland first. He’s in it for them, and always will be. I’ve never known him to be anything else.
Jack Butler, is a graduate of St. Xavier High School (’11), and is from Loveland.