Four Republican candidates for Toledo City Council charged yesterday their opponents are wasting time and money discussing issues that have nothing to do with the city, while municipal problems languish unsolved.
Mary Beth Moran, Tiffany Adamski, Joe Birmingham, and David Dmytryka, gathered along a pothole-riddled street near Sylvania Avenue yesterday to complain the Democrat-controlled council has wasted time on resolutions on the Iraq war, a local spat over the fate of the Lathrop House in Sylvania, and the federal Patriot Act, when they should have been investigating problems fixing Toledo streets and trimming Toledo trees.
“We need to put Toledo first,” said Mr. Dmytryka, who is running for one of two at-large openings on council.
“Council seems to be wasting taxpayer money and time on stuff that doesn't matter here in Toledo,” said Ms. Moran, running for the West Toledo council District 5 seat now occupied by Democrat Ellen Grachek.
The resolutions, Ms. Moran said, “are meaningless legislation.”
Council President Louis Escobar, one of nine Democrats on the 12-member body, dismissed the comments of the challengers.
“Resolutions are part of what council does,” he said. “It isn't a big part. It is a small part. People need to know the total dynamics of what we do.
“We don't spend a lot of time on this. It is our staff that writes them. We give them some lines that we want included,” he said.
Ms. Adamski, who is running against Democrat Bob McCloskey in District 3, which includes East and a portion of South Toledo, said her opponent has been too preoccupied with the idea of bringing casino gambling to town to help with the city budget, while city trees are growing out of control, obscuring traffic signs, and neighborhoods in her district wrestle with crime and blight.
Casino gambling “is illegal in Ohio. They are wasting taxpayer money on something that is not even allowed,” Ms. Adamski said.
“The many hours that they spend on these resolutions - how many of those hours could have been spent reviewing supervisors and staff, saying, `What has been done this week' or `What has been done this month,' `What trees haven't been trimmed yet' and `Which potholes haven't been filled?'” Mr. Birmingham said.
He is running against Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz in District 6, which includes Point Place and part of West Toledo.
Mr. Escobar said council does not have power, under the city charter, to oversee day-to-day operations by city employees. Instead, that is the responsibility of the mayor.
“I think they missed the point,” the council president said of the challengers. “And rightfully so. They don't know what council does. Neither did I before I was elected.”
Mr. Escobar said that one of the resolutions the challengers criticized - the one supporting soldiers fighting in Iraq - was clearly popular with local residents because, he said, he still gets requests from citizens for signed copies of it.
“So it meant something to citizens of Toledo,” he said.