Konwinski: Filling CouncilWritten by Micheal Konwinski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
During my almost 31 years with the City of Toledo, it was a rare councilmember who understood the budget or inquired as to why an appropriation was needed. During budget hearings, most would ask questions about overtime, travel, contractual services and a few other line items that they sort of understood, while other line items (where most of the money is spent) were approved without question. We need councilmembers who understand budgets, understand business, make the effort to investigate issues before voting on them, and are willing to challenge and work with the administration. Here are five candidates I will vote for; I am still undecided about my sixth vote.
- Sandy Spang is a small business owner. I have seen her at every political forum and have talked with her numerous times. She is hardworking, intelligent, understands budgets and neighborhood revitalization, knows the obstacles encountered by small businesses and will work toward making Toledo more business-friendly and the administration more accountable.
- William Delaney is another small business owner, famous for his opposition to the city’s smoking ban. Irascible and intense, he is a champion of individual property rights who wants to revise the city’s fee structure to help small businesses.
- Joe Celusta is a senior manager for a large business and while he admits that he is inexperienced in politics and city government, he does understand how to read a budget and how Toledo can use its resources to attract new businesses.
- Sean Nestor shows up at every political event his schedule permits and has worked very hard to meet the public and get his name out there. An information technology (IT) specialist, he will bring much-needed knowledge to Council. Although I do not agree with many of his political views, I do agree with much of his platform. He will be a watchdog on environmental, neighborhood and IT matters and will provide knowledgeable input on these issues.
- Rob Ludeman is a longtime councilman, one of the few current members who understands budgets and (along with D. Michael Collins, George Sarantou and Tom Waniewski) makes the attempt to understand what he is voting for.
The remaining candidates are:
- Jack Ford is a former mayor, representative and holder of many other titles. He was an unsuccessful mayor who hired and promoted many poor administrators and seemed detached from the actual running of the city. He, like Carty Finkbeiner, finds it difficult to step away from the political spotlight.
- Larry Sykes is a TPS Board of Education member. He says many positive things, but his time at TPS has been lackluster. I find it hard to get excited about him, and it bugs me when I see politicians bouncing from various boards to Council, and back again, without accomplishing anything noteworthy.
- Theresa Gabriel. She may be a decent councilwoman, with knowledge of how the city functions, but do we really need another friend of Carty? I look at her in the same way I look at Ford. It may be time for her to ride into the sunset.
- Steve Steel throws great parties during the Old West End Festival, posts signs about town and is a loyal Democrat. That’s about all the campaigning he does, and it’s difficult to point to any meaningful contributions from his time on Council. Nestor would be more active and successful in promoting the same environmental, parks and neighborhoods agenda that Steel professes.
- James Nowak is a lawyer active in Point Place. He deserves your consideration but is hampered by being low-key and unknown outside of the Point.
- Shaun Enright is a former union official who was appointed over Ford by the majority of Democrats on council. He appears to be another placeholder Democratic vote.
- Adam Martinez is kind of a movie extra on Council. I cannot think of any major qualities or flaws; he’s just another pliable, loyal Democrat vote on Council.
Toledo needs an active cooperative Council: People who investigate proposals, have a mind of their own and have experiences they can bring to the city, rather than automatons who follow a party line.
Michael Konwinski worked for the City of Toledo for almost 31 years. He was the Libertarian candidate for mayor in the recent primary election.