To honor his response, I've decided to post it here (with his permission). I still may or may not vote for her, but at least I know there's a case to be made.
I've known Cate for nearly as long as I've lived in Ashland. I met her when she was a frequent shopper at the Ashland Food Store (when it was on 3rd St) and I was a hippie cashier, back in 1991. So I may not provide the most unbiased assessment.
Cate has consistently showed a deep love of the uniqueness of the Ashland community - progressive and environmental, open and welcoming. Before she was elected she was involved in numerous community organizations as organizer and activist - working with Peace House, AHS and environmental groups. She has always expressed her love of the community with direct activity, passion and dedication.
I've watched Cate in various city council meetings and what impresses me is her attention to the matters at hand. Most recently, with the gun club lease review and negotiation, Cate did extensive research on shooting range waste collection, abatement and clean up. She brought to the discussion far more factual information about the hazards and issues at hand than staff or other councilors. I learned from the meeting that the gun club is littered with lead and residual waste and if the club where to move the city would be left with a mess. Cate strove to have appropriate language added to the lease to protect the community's interests.
Cate cares and acts appropriately, voluntarily (council is not by any means a high paying job at $350 per year) learns about the issues, researches the facts and helps staff do their job. The end result are better leases, better contracts, and better government.
The RVRC issue I'm not familiar with, even though I think it all occurred while I lived in the neighborhood. I guess I was a chai guy and ignored mere coffee concerns. (Today, it's a different story and I have to admit that Mix makes the best mocha on the planet!)
Now for the criticisms which are hard to address. Doctrinaire and rigid? I've seen her be very prepared as well as compromise. Process over outcome? I've never known Cate to wag a copy of Robert's Rules of Order around. Micromanages staff? Staff works for council so they expect to take direction from councilors. I would guess some staff may not like that for various reasons, and the only comment I can make is that Cate is prepared - often more prepared than staff.
Cate has also directly addressed some of the myths propogated by those who haven't appreciated her on her website at www.catehartzell.org/truth.html
Now I'll clear up a few things I know about Lemhouse. He's very ambitious and this isn't his first time running for council. He's also quite open about his aspirations - he wants to be Governor someday. He's also run a negative campaign (this time and in 2006) with direct personal attacks against his opponents - something I don't appreciate.
Cate has a long track record of environmental, community and progressive action in Ashland. I'm sticking with Cate.