Council members take questions at nursing centerWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Four Toledo City Council members talked politics over lasagna with residents and patients at Arbors at Sylvania on Feb. 21.
Paula Hicks-Hudson, Phillip Copeland, Adam Martinez and George Sarantou gave brief presentations and answered questions from residents at the nursing and rehabilitation center, 7120 Port Sylvania Drive, Toledo.
Lynne Carroll, life enrichment director for Arbors, said the facility frequently seeks out political speakers for the “very politically minded group.”
Sarantou kicked off the dinner, praising the upcoming casino and expansion of the Jeep plant, which received cheers.
“We’ve got a lot of good things going on in this community,” he said. “It’s a testament to all of you.”
Copeland told the group he believes Toledo’s future is bright. He recalled being in Toledo in the 1950s and bumping into people on the busy streets. “I’m willing to bet you that it’s gonna happen again,” he said.
Martinez introduced himself as the youngest council member and “your eagle eye on financing.” He praised council’s ability to work with the administration.
“You’ve seen a new and improved council to work with the administration,” he said.
Hicks-Hudson, the only district council member present, pointed out that her own District 4 is home to many of the cited improvements. “I say all the time that District 4 is the heart of the city,” she said. She also praised Toledo as a whole. “There’s no other city like [Toledo]; not only in Ohio, but in the country.”
After the dinner presentation concluded and cake was served, the evening moved into a question-and-answer portion. Many of the questions were centered on vacant area malls and fields and crime levels.
In response to the questions about crime rates, Sarantou said, “First of all, Toledo is really a very safe city,” but acknowledged that more police are needed. However, he did say a new class of police officers would be graduating soon and added that the potential addition of 150 cameras to the streets could cut back on crime. Council members also encouraged residents to be active in block watch programs.
To cut back on crime among young adults, Copeland advocated more “stiff time” for criminals, which received applause from the group. “If one person’s murdered out there, that’s one too many,” he said.
One woman had a specific complaint about The Mirage, saying that a fight near the bar led to her house being shot. Hicks-Hudson assured the woman that she had already been looking into the bar.
Martinez responded to a question about the future of the former Southwyck Mall, saying that there are “predevelopment plans” for a sports complex. However, he did say the property is privately owned and not a city property.
Although 91-year-old Loretta Pace said she would have rather gone to a wedding, she admitted the presentation was interesting.
“It makes people listen to see what’s going on. It’s all for something, it’s not for nothing,” the lifelong Toledoan said of the political scene.