By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
Toledo’s two mayor candidates spared off during a 70-minute debate organized by Toledo NAACP Unit on Tuesday, October 5. James Sparks, 13abc Action News reporter, moderated the debate which was held at the Toledo Lucas County Library. The format opened with comments from both candidates, a session answering pre-screened questions from Toledo NAACP members in three-minutes, then closing comments.
The candidates for the upcoming November 2021 election are incumbent Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and former Toledo Mayor Carleton “Carty” Finkbeiner. Unfortunately, so many registered voters were not in attendance, as an estimated 30-35 people were there. The candidates presented campaign promises and previous successes in the areas of gun violence, engagement, diversity and specific neighborhood concerns from citizens.
“I know you want to stop the violence, it’s at a record high in the city now. I want healthy citizens and want to address the blight,” explained Finkbeiner during opening comments. “The curfew ordinance is not being enforced. I remember when the ministers came to me and we created the ordinance. The violence is ridiculous. I have a 10-point plan.”
“I’m surprised Carty didn’t explain the 10-point plan. It’s a collection of tasks that we’re already doing. These points only made sense before the invention of the mobile phone. Love Carty, but we can’t solve 21st century problems with 19th century plans. Anyone who says that they have a simple answer is mistaken. Ideas scribed on napkins are good for campaigns,” answered Kapszukiewicz.
Kapszukiewicz and Finkbeiner continued the debate by listing and explaining the top three issues from citizens. Kapszukiewicz incorporated national best practices, research and statistics in his responses, while Finkbeiner incorporated community-led comments, instinct and percentages in his responses.
“I would say that public safety, high quality services and investments are citizen concerns. I’m sure that citizens want to know, how the $10 million from the American Rescue Plan will be invested. We’re submitting the ordinance to the city, that will include investment in the Wayman Palmer YMCA, Frederick Douglass Community Center, redline elimination, youth programming and youth jobs, and demolition,” explained Kapszukiewicz
“Citizens are concerned about violence, neighborhoods and health. See Wade and the police chief don’t see violence as critical. We need to get rid of violence. We weren’t known for violence when I was mayor. The neighborhoods need lights and garbage renewal. Look at Greenbelt Place apartments, there are men and women living in deplorable conditions,” responded Finkbeiner
Finkbeiner continued to present his neighborhood block by block approach, while Kapszukiewicz shared his big picture for the city responses, even during questions about how they would address food deserts.
“Seaway is a clean store. We could use more stories like Seaway. However, Kroger doesn’t take care of their locations. All the stores should be as clean as the suburban ones. Kroger should be more respectful and offer good food options,” Finkbeiner responded.
“We plan to invest in our neighborhoods by offering incentives to businesses that locate to those neighborhoods. The market will follow the money,” Kapszukiewicz responded.
Lucas County residents can vote early in-person before the November 2 general election by visiting 1301 Monroe Street. The location is open 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, weekend hours are available the last week in October. General election date is November 2, 2021,