Toledo mayoral candidate Tom Waniewski released a poll earlier this month of West Toledo residents’ concerns. Crime topped the list.
Crime is a legitimate issue. Toledo police Chief George Kral needs more officers. Few will argue that point. But Toledo is a fairly safe city. There have been two murders in Toledo in the month of July. There were two in the city last July. By comparison, Chicago had 15 murders over the long July 4th weekend alone.
Toledo's as seen from International Park. Mayoral candidates must share their ideas about the city moving forward, instead of simply reacting to the news of the day.
People need to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. But Mr. Waniewski, Paula Hicks-Hudson, and Wade Kapszukiewicz — the three contenders for mayor — need to focus on more than reactive issues. And all three have been short on what George Herbert Walker Bush dubbed “the vision thing” — in Toledo’s case, big ideas about how to move the city forward.
There is consensus among the candidates that the regional water issue needs to be solved, that too many poor kids go to bed hungry every night (one out of five in the area, according to Mindy Rupp of the SeaGate Food Bank), and that city government needs to be better managed.
Leadership is more than identifying problems. How about laying out some big ideas, creative proposals, on financing a massive road repair; on universal preschool; on beautifying the city; on draining the swamp of incompetence and cronyism at Government Center.
How about working with Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant and University of Toledo President Sharon Gaber on a plan to better educate city residents? For multiple studies have shown that this region is among the least-educated in the country.
How about collaborating with director Dave Zenk of the Metroparks of the Toledo Area on a plan to drive down the obesity rate, which, according to state statistics, is among the highest in the state?
How about some ideas for modernizing the city’s transit system?
Elections are about winners and losers. But they are also about the future. For that we need the vision thing. The candidates for mayor need to put something besides blather and cliches on the table.
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