Pounds: Political businessWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
In the wake of business owner Sandy Spang’s resounding success in running for Toledo City Council, more dollars-and-sense-oriented people are stepping into local politics.
Marcia Helman, Lickity Split ice cream store owner, and Joe Celusta, a business owner for several years and most recently senior manager of TrueNorth, are among those planning to run for the District 2 City Council seat vacated by Mayor D. Michael Collins.
Celusta, a Republican, told Toledo Free Press Managing Editor Sarah Ottney the future of the Southwyck property is a key issue for District 2 and Toledo.
“Southwyck is vital to the city just for tax revenue,” Celusta said. “It’s is very important to us because that’s where our future income is to support to the rest of the district. If we develop it, we get tax revenue out of the Southwyck area and that’s what fixes the streets.”
Helman also said revitalizing Southwyck needs to be a major focus.
“We need to set up a master plan, not let just anybody go in there and build anything,” Helman told Ottney. “It’s going to be a slow revitalization, but I would work with anybody who wanted to work on that.”
Helman is running as an independent with the support of Realtor Rob Ludeman, who so skillfully guided Spang through her first election.
The District 2 seat is being temporarily filled by Democrat Matt Cherry, a Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 worker, who was appointed in January.
Cherry told Ottney he plans to focus on economic development, neighborhood safety and the amenities that keep young families in Toledo.
“More jobs fix a lot of problems in a lot of aspects,” Cherry said.
It is encouraging to see more business owners invest in the leadership issues of our region.
I suspect the dominant voice in the election will belong to Toledo Public Schools Board of Education member Bob Vasquez. Vasquez, a Democrat and licensed social worker, told Ottney the skills and experience he developed on the school board, including reading multimillion-dollar budgets and making tough financial decisions, will help him on City Council.
“You don’t get into leadership positions just to go along,” Vasquez told Ottney. “You either lead or you go along, one or the other, and I feel that I lead.”
Another universal concern was over ongoing fund transfers from the capital improvement budget to the general budget.
“I haven’t heard anyone talk about plans to wean ourselves off that in the future,” Vasquez said. “And that does affect basic services, especially streets, because that’s capital improvement.”
I have long known and trusted Vasquez, but I remain open to the messages and ideas the other candidates will present. In any event, I am pleased to see this continuing trend of more business owners joining the political scene. The insight, responsibility and financial acumen business people can bring to the conversation are a crucial contributions to the future of our region.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Democrat Matt Cherry, District 2, Joe Celusta, Lickity Split ice cream store, Marcia Helman, Mayor D. Michael Collins, Realtor Rob Ludeman, Sandy Spang, Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, Southwyck, Toledo City Council, Toledo Public Schools Board of Education member Bob Vasquez