There are two candidates for mayor – current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz
“The story is that Toledo, in general, is better off today than we were four years ago; there’s no question about it.
“Earlier this year, we won the Site Selection Magazine Governor’s Cup Award as number one nationally for economic development. That is significant.
“Also, we finally developed a plan to fix our roads once and for all. We created a new revenue stream that never existed before, and as a result, we’re fixing 15 times the number of roads this year than we did last year. Last year, we fixed seven residential roads; this year we’re fixing 109.
“Additionally, our budget is in a much better position. Our budget wasn’t balanced when I became mayor. Today, we have the largest rainy-day fund in the City’s history, literally 10 times larger than it was five years ago.
“The promises I made four years ago, I’ve kept them. I said we’re going to grow the size of the policce force, get the regional water deal done, and get the budget in order. We did all of these. So, looking at the big picture, there’s no question we’re better off than we were four years ago.”
The Challenger – Former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner
“What if you could have a mayor who had done some of the following things?
“I brought a new Jeep plant to Toledo, Ohio.
“Then, the very first month on the job, the CEO of Owens Corning Fiberglass told me they were moving to Granville, Ohio where they have a development plant. They bought land in Monclova Township and liked the site where they have permanently built their new world headquarters. I happened to live in that site, but this was January, and they said by May 30th, you have to have acquired that land from those living down there and not easy to deal with.
“So, we got a new world headquarters for Owens Corning and a new Jeep plant in my first four years.
“Then we built the Docks restaurants. People forget we used to store our salt piles right directly across the river from downtown Toledo. Well, we removed those salt piles and got five restaurants over there, plus volleyball courts. Of course, people made fun of those volleyball courts, but every night of the week I can watch volleyball being played from down there.
“And also, during my final term, we laid the foundation of the Marina District. We took down the old smokestacks, towers, and blighted buildings that were on Front Street. I built a road through that district, and many councilmembers made fun, calling it the “road to nowhere.” Well, the road to nowhere now has a restaurant and a whole bunch of things, including a Metro Park and a bunch of apartments. Got money for it.
Toledo City Council At-Large Seats
There are six seats to be decided and 12 candidates are on the ballot. Among the 12 are four incumbents, one incumbent who is suspended and seven others vying to finish in the top half. Here are the words of some of those on the ballot.
Councilwoman Katie Moline
“I think we really need to start thinking about some creative ideas between administration with council and the mayor. I know that some initiatives have been presented that we can start, and I encourage that because you don’t know until you try. So, what can we do? I think we need to support the safety forces to do their job to help the violence. Finally, I think, again going back to money, which is my wheelhouse, is increasing investments in neighborhoods where the violence is happening. People need to know that they have
opportunities and outlets other than crime or wrongdoing, that people care about them, there’s a job to go to, and that there’s something that they could lose by engaging in violent or criminal activity.”
Councilman Nick Komives
“I couldn’t be more proud to see our area housing advocates continuing to push the envelope in affordable, sustainable housing,” said Toledo City Councilmember Komives. “The AFFH ordinance will allow us to monitor ourselves and provide valuable data and insight into the state of housing in our city. Toledo deserves nothing less than a city that cares for all of its residents.”
Councilwoman Cerssandra McPherson
“I’m meeting mostly officials and directors. I have talked to landlords, mostly white landlords, expressing their concerns with Section 8 vouchers and not agreeing with how it’s coming down. I do understand where they’re coming from.
I struggle with decisions that are maybe good for some, but not good for all. That’s when I have to take some quiet time and pray for direction because I want to do my best for all of Toledo citizens, understanding that often the decisions that you make are not going to be popular with some of the people.”
Councilwoman Tiffany Whitman-Preston
“My specific areas of focus are wellness, especially for women and children. Wellness comes out of both my direct experiences and my community experiences as well. The second issue is youth investment. We need better infrastructure to ensure that our youth and young adults can thrive.
“Another issue is economic opportunity, and that’s across the board, not just with the black community. Obviously, with the recent announcement with Chrysler’s expansion, that’s big. But I would like to see more, across the board, whether we’re talking about black, white, Latinx, communities; more middleclass families, and individuals with low to moderate income, they all need to be included in these economic expansion opportunities. Those are my three specific areas beyond the City’s immediate focus.”
Challenger Michele Grim
“I want to accomplish a couple of things. A lot of my campaign has been about reducing gun violence in Toledo. I put out a 10-point gun violence reduction plan that has a lot of evidence-based approaches. Also, I want to put public health at the forefront of city government. My most meaningful initiatives look at health in every aspect of public policy. That includes affordable housing, making sure that people have roofs over their heads, green space, or just making sure that we take care of the health and well-being of our constituents.
“I would like to approach companies and negotiate lower prices and bring a grocery store here. That’s a big issue in the central city and other pockets of Toledo. We need to make sure that we do have affordable food choices.
“I don’t think a lot of people understand what supportive housing is. I worked at a community health center where we had 10 supportive housing sites. They really do make a difference for people who are chronically homeless. These projects help homeless persons stay in their apartments, so I think that’s something that we critically need here. “
Challenger and Former Councilman George Sarantou
“As chairman for 11 of my 12 years on city council, I was the longest-serving chairman of the finance committee. We had some tough financial years, especially under Mayor Ford and Mayor Finkbeiner, where the budgets were very tight.
“I’m most proud of that I was able to work with mayors of all different political persuasions, and I worked with them to do what’s best for the city. I never had a political agenda or tried to make a name for myself by arguing at council or taking on the mayor. I always felt my job was to make sure we balanced the budget and had enough revenue to pay our bills. And, when we got into challenging financial times to bite the bullet and make the reductions we had to make.
“I have a record of success in working with people of both political parties and independents. I have the financial background, which is very important in the city, but I also served on the Public Safety Committee for many years of council.
“Right now, we have a very high crime rate, and that’s unacceptable. So, we need to have more cooperation, not just with various law enforcement agencies like the Toledo Police, the Lucas County Sherriff, but also the State Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. We can all work together… “
Challenger Harvey Savage
“I can make a difference. I have a wealth of knowledge of our community. I possess management skills that would enhance city council’s role in our community. I’ve worked a couple of decades in the nonprofit world and have been successful. I am involved with the Department of Neighborhoods and their programming, and I understand the management of federal funds.
“I’m able to look at an issue and peel it down to the root cause. We have many things in our community that we need to be working on the root causes and not just the symptoms. I did 13 years as a Human Research manager, and worked with people that had felonies. I also worked with halfway houses, so I understand what is going on right now in the community.”
Councilman Larry Sykes
“Why wouldn’t I run again? I’m not term limited. I still have a lot to do.
“All the good work I’ve done in my life – with TPS, for example – establishing scholarships, increasing enrollment and graduation rates, hiring two Black superintendents …
“There were the 40 homes in Oakwood that those women were going to lose,mI met with them and the banks; they were able to buy the houses outright.
“The police reform measures: Abolishing the ‘no knock’ practice, eliminating chokeholds, requiring body cameras and requiring officers to report fellow officers for violations against the public.
“The first in Ohio lead ordinance …
“We invited the mayor, JoJuan Armour, the police chief, the fire chief … and no one came,” he says of the Kent Branch Library session.
“Solve the rampant homicide problem by getting everyone involved – the whole community. Go to TPS, to LMH, the court system, the unions … , look at kids who are delinquent, who are truants. Track those kids, put them in a diversionary program.
“Black men – get them to wake up, to clean up, to stand up – you know who the shooters are. The community has to take responsibility. Parents do you know where your children are?
“We don’t need that ARP money [180 million] to go to parks and roads, there is sufficient money in the budget for that … put it into social services with a history of success.
“Pathway’s Avis Files’ Brothers United program … You can sustain such a program for the next 20 years and changes lives.
“I’ve served this community though some tough times. I’ve always been responsive, been open, been approachable. I hope voters know my commitment to this community and elect me again.”