Third in a series on Toledo City Council candidates
Being a voice for Toledo’s oldest and most stressed-out neighborhoods is at the heart of Alfonso Narvaez’s campaign for Toledo City Council at-large.
Mr. Narvaez, 26, of 2019 N. Ontario St., an endorsed Republican, is one of a dozen candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot for six council at-large seats. He finished 11th in the Sept. 12 primary out of 13 candidates, with 5,307 votes.
Mr. Narvaez ran for the first time in a special election in 2011 against then-Councilman Paula Hicks-Hudson, now the mayor, for the Council District 4 seat.
In that unsuccessful campaign, Mr. Narvaez argued that District 4 residents were frustrated that city leaders were not doing enough to combat violence or secure vacant buildings.
He ran for council at-large in 2013, losing in the primary, receiving 2,126 votes. He also ran unsuccessfully for council District 4 in the special election in 2015.
Despite those losses, Mr. Narvaez isn’t discouraged.
“I enjoy the process — just being out there and being active,” Mr. Narvaez said.
He grew up in the north end on Ontario Street, attending Riverside Elementary School, and graduated as the valedictorian of Achieve Career Academy. He attended Lourdes University for a while.
Mr. Narvaez is now a sales associate for Home Depot, for the last five years, working in tool rentals.
In his free time, he volunteers with neighborhood and city organizations. He was appointed to the Toledo Police Civilian Review Board in August, 2016. The board hears appeals from decisions by the department’s Internal Affairs Section. He said he’s participated in three cases.
“I think it’s a great thing, especially with everything going on in the country right now. It’s a diverse board,” he said.
Mr. Narvaez is also president of ONE Village Council, a neighborhood group representing the greater Polish Village. The group manages the annual sales of paczki, the traditional Polish pre-Lent pastry.
The group has 12 members representing some 14 neighborhoods in the communities bounded by Manhattan Boulevard and Summit and Cherry streets.
He’s a member of United North, the neighborhood community development corporation covering North Toledo.
Mr. Narvaez says city officials and city councilmen should be more visible and active in the city’s stressed-out central-city neighborhoods, including helping with volunteer clean-ups.
“I believe the neighborhoods have been neglected over the years. They want their concerns heard,” Mr. Narvaez said. “Crime is a huge issue. You also have vacant properties where the grass is not being cut.”
As example of actions he said he’s taken on behalf of neighborhoods, he said he was involved in pressuring the city to re-start more than 100 street lights on the Buckeye Basin Greenbelt Parkway that were dark while the city and state of Ohio argued over who was responsible for the lighting.
“We fought that for three years. Finally the city stepped up. It contributed to a reduction in crime,” Mr. Narvaez said.
He also opposed a plan by the state to house death-row inmates in the Toledo Correctional Institution, a step the state no longer plans to implement now. He is trying to get the state to reverse a plan to bring more of the state’s most dangerous inmates to the same facility.