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Published: Friday, 10/26/2001

Independent-thinking Shultz seeks 3rd term

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Editor's note: This article is one of a series of profiles of the 12 Toledo city council at-large candidates running in the Nov. 6 election.

At one time Betty Shultz patched long-distance telephone calls for the former Ohio Bell.

Today she juggles cell phones handling her political campaigns and city council business.

The former long-distance operator and one of Toledo's enduring politicians is seeking election to a third term on city council.

She is one of 12 people competing for six at-large seats. Of 15 people who ran in the September primary election, Mrs. Shultz was the third highest vote-getter.

A native of Toledo, Mrs. Shultz attended the former Wayne Elementary School on Airport Highway and St. Charles School, and graduated from Libbey High School. She went to work immediately as a long distance operator for Ohio Bell.

Mrs. Shultz was married in 1959, and the first of her three children was born in 1960.

Her pregnancies and the arrival of the children prevented her from getting promotions, she said.

“The glass ceiling was a lot thicker than it is today,” Mrs. Shultz said. She left the salaried workforce after the birth of her third child in 1966, but returned to work in 1980 for the Lucas County building regulation department.

Mrs. Shultz was elected to the Washington Local school board in 1976 and remained on the board until 1993. She was elected from District 5 in 1993, but was appointed to fill an at-large vacancy in 1997. Later that year, she was elected to the at-large seat on council.

Mrs. Shultz has carved out a position as an independent, frequently disagreeing with council President Peter Ujvagi, and often taking the side of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

In January, 1998, Mr. Ujvagi removed her as chairman of the environment, utilities, and public service committee. The move was applauded by environmentalists who claimed that Mrs. Shultz was blocking initiatives such as a new storm water utility and creation of a municipal electric utility for Toledo. Mrs. Shultz believes her replacement was because she did not vote for Mr. Ujvagi as council president in 1998.

She considers her greatest accomplishment to have been the battle against Toledo Edison's weather rate “normalization” plan in 1995. Mrs. Shultz and the late Councilwoman Eleanor Kahle said the plan used ratepayers' money. Toledo Edison withdrew the plan and later introduced customer choice.

“I had a major role in seeing that it was implemented in Toledo, and it was a very successful implementation,” Mrs. Shultz said.

She considers herself a watchdog over finances. She said she wants the state to take a larger role in controlling the feral cat population and in enforcing laws against abuse of animals.

Mrs. Shultz said she would support an immediate approval of the Finkbeiner administration's proposed settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, rather than go through a month-long set of hearings planned by city council.

“I think we should be finished now. We certainly have had a wealth of people looking this over,” Mrs. Shultz said.

Others seeking an at-large seat are Carol Buno, Louis Escobar, Peter Gerken, Perlean Griffin, Art Jones, Dennis Lange, George Sarantou, Terry Shankland, Peter Ujvagi, Matthew Zaleski, and Gene Zmuda.



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