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Published: Thursday, 9/5/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Mayoral, council candidates stump in Point Place

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
City Council Candidates from left, Larry Sykes, James P. Martin, Sandy Spang and Rob Ludeman stand for the Pledge of Allegiance with mayoral candidates Anita Lopez, Michael Konwinski and D. Michael Collins, right, during a candidate nights forum at the Friendship Park Community Center, in Point Place, Thursday. City Council Candidates from left, Larry Sykes, James P. Martin, Sandy Spang and Rob Ludeman stand for the Pledge of Allegiance with mayoral candidates Anita Lopez, Michael Konwinski and D. Michael Collins, right, during a candidate nights forum at the Friendship Park Community Center, in Point Place, Thursday.
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The candidates for Toledo mayor and the six at-large council seats stumped for votes in Point Place late today and one candidate offered a plan to define the area more as a nautical neighborhood.

“Point Place and Shoreland must remain the best place anyplace,” Toledo Councilman and mayoral candidate D. Michael Collins said, referring to the neighborhood's welcome sign on northbound Summit Street.

During the candidate forum that included all eight mayoral candidates and 11 of the 17 council candidates at the Friendship Park Community Center, Mr. Collins, a political independent, presented his vision for the neighborhood.

“Everything about Point Place should be nautical,” he said. “We are talking about defining the neighborhood as a community; we are talking about protecting the housing stock.”

The mayoral candidates each got three minutes to make their pitch while council candidates had one minute before the crowd of about 60 people.

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, and the other six challengers - Independent Alan Cox; Democrats Joe McNamara and county Auditor Anita Lopez; Libertarian Michael Konwinski, and unendorsed Republican Opal Covey, and write-in candidate Donald Gozdowski - took turns before the group at the popular community and senior center.

Ms. Lopez talked about her efforts to personally meet with Point Place residents as auditor.

“We said the [property] values were too high and we corrected them,” she said. “We said we would be out here annually and we did it. We helped seniors here in Friendship Senior Center – we didn't make you come to One Government Center.”

She used the occasion to criticize the city for threatening a fine against a Summit Street business because of graffiti.

Mayor Bell told the crowd about his accomplishments the past four years, which he said included addressing a $48 million deficit, adding new fire stations, and hiring new fire officers and police officers - all without raising taxes.

He addressed the graffiti and said the city actually cleaned up that vandalism.

Mr. McNamara said he has very fond memories of Point Place as a child with his grandfather.

“This neighborhood is very special to me and it's one of the reasons why Toledo is so great,” he said. “We have wonderful diverse neighborhoods … and we need a mayor who is going to be focused on keeping neighborhoods like this one strong.”

The 11 council candidates who appeared are Toledo Board of Education member Larry Sykes, former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, both Democrats; Republican incumbent Rob Ludeman; Republican challengers James Nowak, James P. Martin, and Joseph Celusta; independents Theresa Gabriel and Sandy Spang; Republicans Alfonso Narvaez and Ron Johns; and Green candidate Sean Nestor were also certified.

Those on the ballot who did not attend are Democratic incumbents Adam Martinez, Steven Steel, and Shaun Enright; Democrat Joshua Fowler, Republican Ernest McCarthy, and Bill Delaney, a political independent.

All candidates’ names will be on the ballot for the primary election on Sept. 10 in Toledo. The two highest vote-getters for mayor and the 12 highest vote-getters for council will face off Nov. 5 in the general election.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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