NINE is most definitely not fine, a point that should be made crystal clear on Tuesday by voting No on Issue 2.
Pretending to be a grass-roots movement to improve government, Issue 2 is really an extreme bit of demagoguery designed by a cabal of two council members and a one-person citizens' group that would dilute the power of Toledo voters.
Democratic Councilman Lindsay Webb with Dave Schulz, the founder of Citizens Organized to Bring Reform and Accountability, contributed nearly all the funds that were used to collect the 7,000 signatures needed to have the charter amendment put on the ballot. COBRA, according to Ms. Webb, has a mailing list of about 50 people.
Ms. Webb and Republican Councilman Tom Waniewski, the issue's other driving force, said replacing the current six district and six at-large councilmen with six district and three "super-district" councilmen will make the municipal body more responsive to voters, make candidates less dependent upon money for election, and open up races to more people.
However, Issue 2 reduces the number of council members to whom Toledoans can take their concerns from seven to two. The way it works now, six councilmen are answerable to the entire city for their actions. Under Issue 2, they would be answerable, at most, to the voters in two districts only. The result: an increase in narrow, provincial logrolling as councilmen have less reason to support issues that are positive for the whole city, even if they're not so good for a specific district.
Councilmen Waniewski and Webb circumvented the Charter Review Commission, the normal procedure for seeking amendments to the Toledo charter. Some have suggested this is a power grab or a chance to get rid of political opponents, but let's not question the purity of their intentions. Instead, focus on the basics: This is not good government, it is bad government that will harm Toledo.
If nine is fine, is eight great, seven heaven, or six the fix? Does five have jive, should we adore four, jump with glee for three, or renew with two? Maybe one's the one.
Poppycock. Catchy phrases mean nothing. The Gang of Three backing Issue 2 is just engaging in finger-pointing to avoid the real problem, which is electing better candidates.
Mr. Waniewski makes that very argument, that it's all about the quality of those who serve, not the quantity, and that's true. There's plenty of work for 12 council members to do. Council's problems will not be fixed by slashing its numbers. That's why both the Republican and Democratic parties, along with religious groups and every local politician except Ms. Webb and Mr. Waniewski, oppose Issue 2.
Five of the six current at-large council members are up for re-election on the same ballot where Issue 2 appears. The sixth seat is open. If voters don't like the jobs the incumbents have been doing, elect someone else. And while they're at it, vote No on Issue 2.
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