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Published: 11/9/2011

Five Toledo city council incumbents re-elected

BY CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo gained one new city councilman and reelected five incumbents Tuesday night, as residents sided overwhelmingly with the status quo.

Local attorney Tyrone Riley, 55, triumphed over rival Democrat Aji Green, 35, for the District 1 seat. Mr. Riley was also the favorite of longtime councilman Wilma Brown, who he will replace in January. Ms. Brown is stepping down because of term limits. The district comprises areas of central and South Toledo.

During his campaign, Mr. Riley cited economic development and crime as two of his top concerns, and said he would work hard to provide recreational opportunities for youth. Mr. Riley and Mr. Green could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, incumbent Mike Craig, 56, maintained his grip on District 3, despite a strong challenge from electrician and union organizer Shaun Enright, 32. Mr. Craig had battled union criticism because of his support for Mayor Mike Bell’s program to impose wage and benefit cuts on city workers in 2010. The councilman defended his decision, saying it was necessary to save the city from bankruptcy. He has also spearheaded efforts to tackle the city’s blighted housing problems. District 3 includes East Toledo and Old South End.

Mr. Craig expressed relief at the election results. He said he plans to focus on bringing quality jobs to Toledo during his next term.

“I thought it was going to be a very tight race and I consider it a tight race,” Mr. Craig said. “I don’t consider this a union, non-union referendum. What I consider this is a referendum on how well I have served my constituents.”

In District 2, incumbent and political independent D. Michael Collins handily beat unendorsed Republican challenger Jeremy Demagall, Mr. Collins, a 67-year-old political independent, is an outspoken proponent of collective bargaining rights and frequent critic of Mayor Bell. A former police officer, Mr. Collins chairs council’s Public Safety, Law, and Criminal Justice committee and has pushed for hiring more officers. Mr. Collins cheered both his own victory and the defeat of Issue 2.

“I am very happy that the voters of Lucas County had the wisdom to understand that Issue 2 has no place in Ohio,” Mr. Collins said. “I look forward to my next four years representing a district with the same commitment that I’ve exhibited in my first term of office.”

District 2 stretches from the Toledo Zoo through the Heatherdowns Boulevard and Glendale Avenue areas to Maumee and then turns north to take in Reynolds Corners.

In West Toledo’s District 5, Tom Waniewski, a 54-year-old Republican, beat Democrat Jim Martin, 56, a retired firefighter and union leader. Mr. Waniewski has said one of his goals for his next term is to implement a neighborhood crime alert that would allow the police department to text residents who live near a reported crime.

Democrat Lindsay Webb, 36, maintained a wide lead over Republican Douglas DeCamp, 36, in the race for District 6. Ms. Webb won by a wide margin, despite Mr. DeCamps’ attempt earlier in the campaign to have her removed from the ballot for missing a notification deadline with the board of elections. In her next term, the councilman has said she plans to pursue the creation of a joint recreation district for Toledo, which would be funded from a new property tax.

“I am grateful to the voters of District 6, considering I wasn’t able to do the type of campaigning I like to do because of the birth of my son,” said Ms. Webb, who gave birth in September. “The win reflects that the people in my district believe that I am reflective of their values, that I stand with them.”

District 6 includes Point Place, the Miracle Mile shopping district at Jackman and Laskey roads, the Five Points business district, and two large manufacturing plants — General Motors Co.’s Powertrain plant and the Chrysler Group LLC’s Jeep assembly complex.

In District 4, which includes central-city Toledo and the Old West End, incumbent Paula Hicks-Hudson, 60, a Democrat, easily beat Green Party candidate Anita Rios, 57. Ms. Hicks-Hudson, a lawyer and former chief legal counsel for the Ohio Office of Budget, opposes Mayor Bell’s plan to use a $2.2 million state loan to upgrade downtown’s Promenade Park. This will be her first full term on Toledo City Council, and she said her major focuses will be dealing with abandoned properties, improving public safety and making District 4 a place where people want to work and live.

“I’m pleased and humbled by the vote of confidence from the members and citizens of District 4, and now the work begins,” Ms. Hicks-Hudson said. “I’m just happy that I have four years to really make a difference in District 4.”

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett cbarrett@theblade.com or 419-724-6272



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