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'Dr. No' casts final vote in Ross

| Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012

After representing Ross' 3rd Ward for 20 years, "Dr. No" has cast his last "no" vote.

Daniel Kinross, affectionately dubbed "Dr. No" by fellow Ross council members -- after Ian Fleming's James Bond villain -- because he spent years voting against motions, last week attended his final meeting as a township commissioner.

Unsurprisingly, one of his final acts as an elected official was to vote against Ross's 2012 budget, which kept taxes at the same level as 2011 -- the first tax hike during Kinross' tenure.

"It's true that I didn't vote for many of those budgets," Kinross, 68, said in an interview. "But I clearly didn't say 'no' to everything. There were things that were worthwhile."

A self-employed insurance salesman, Kinross moved from the North Side to Ross in 1973 and was elected to the board in 1991.

During Kinross' five terms, the township built a new municipal building and acquired the land to develop Ann Alison Hoover Memorial Park.

Kinross said he never shied away from healthy debate.

"If we're all thinking the same thing, nobody's thinking," he said. "I see nothing wrong with a healthy debate where I get to present my issues, my beliefs and someone can debate that, present theirs and we can have a healthy discussion and then vote.

"That is the process. That's what I'm elected to do."

Commissioner Grace Stanko said Kinross, who spent years as a member of the Ross Democratic Committee, took her under his wing when she was first elected in 2004.

"As a new commissioner, he always took time for guidance," said Stanko, a Republican.

While there were many achievements, Kinross said he regretted not getting support for a budget process that systemized spending priorities.

"If there's not a majority of board members who want to go through that process then it just isn't going to get done," he said. "You get nothing done without the support of the board."

Kinross lost by 11 votes to political newcomer John Sponcer in November's general election. Sponcer officially replaced Kinross at a brief meeting on Tuesday to determine who would chair meetings and committees.

"The election process is something we all believe in," Kinross said about his narrow defeat. "We honor the decision of the voters and at the end of the day there is a winner and a loser. The sanctity of the process is what's important."

Sponcer said Kinross had "an excellent career."

"He was a leader. He didn't sit back. He got the job done," said Sponcer, 63.

Looking ahead, Sponcer said he won't be another "Dr. No," but won't always agree with others on the board, either.

"I might vote against some things, but I'm no 'Yes Man' either," he said.

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