Editor David Kushma and The Blade have been beating the drum for substance in the Toledo mayoral race (“Where are the big ideas in city mayoral contest?”, op-ed, May 26). Amen. Here’s my list:
City officials bought time, and put off hard decisions, by temporarily shifting the capital improvements portion of the three-quarters of one percent city income tax into the general fund. That probably was a mistake. Too much of my drive to and from work now feels as if I’m driving over railroad tracks.
The capital improvements tax shouldn’t be shifted again. What’s the plan when those funds aren’t available for the general fund?
The mayor should travel abroad and nationwide to encourage businesses to locate here, to promote local businesses, and to support institutions such as the University of Toledo. But the process needs to be disciplined, purpose-driven, and part of a comprehensive plan with follow-up and measurable goals.
Do Mayor Mike Bell’s trips meet the standard? What would mayoral challengers do?
The inner city desperately needs more police protection and crime prevention, better-tended parks, more opportunities for youths, and city representatives working with those of Toledo Public Schools.
The only way to do these things is to drive down the city’s cost of wages and benefits. That means that city unions shouldn’t like the next mayor, though hopefully they’ll respect him or her for high integrity and worthy aspirations. What will the next mayor do to drive down costs and deliver more services?
What about some big ideas? How about making Toledo the most immigrant-friendly city in the nation? How can we move toward the front of the line in the digital economy? What would it take to make city government services as consumer-friendly as the best consumer-serving businesses in town?
The mayor and the top contenders are strong leaders. I look forward to hearing their views on the real issues we’re facing.
Editor’s note: The writer is a former Toledo mayoral candidate, former president of the Toledo Board of Education, and former member of Toledo City Council.