All we want for Christmas in City Politics

. December 20, 2017.

The holidays are here, and we’ve been naughty again.
We broke most of this year’s New Year’s promises. We even called He Who Shall Not Be Named by his real name a time or two.

Our human failings notwithstanding, can you see it in yer golden hearts to put us on your holiday gift list? If so, all we want for Christmas are these three presents.

1. A knock down, drag out battle royale for the Presidency of Toledo City Council. It seems this is already shaping up, as Larry “Choke-hold” Sykes shows no signs of relenting from his ambition for the seat. The old pugilist hopes he has it in his death grip, but there’s an old saying. There’s no such thing as a “former” Council President. Meaning, once you’ve been the Top Dawg it’s tough to play nice in the dog park.

Peter Ujvagi has been President before, and we expect he’s still President in his own mind. Whether he can be the king is doubtful, but we expect he;s itching to be king maker. No clear front runner has emerged with less than two weeks to go.

Matt Cherry, the union choice? Sandy Spang, the whimsical whiner? Choke-hold Sykes? It’s anybody’s race.

Here’s hoping it turns nasty and leaves a bitter aftertaste in somebody’s mouth. Enough to last us a few columns at least.

2. Over-reach by the Kapszukiewicz Admin on the merger with County services. Wade made it a centerpiece of his campaign. Merging services and thereby eliminating inefficiency and redundancy sounds all hunky dorey. Then the rubber meets the road, egos come into play, and the whole thing devolves into Winnerz and Lozerz.

See, if both the City and County have IT Departments, for example, that means there are two IT Directors, multiple IT Techs, et cetera, et cetera. Merge and somebunnies gotta go. The redundant folks will fight amongst themselves to see who gets the boot. It’ll be even worse amongst the Director-level types. The cat fights will be a glory to see.

Or take the merger between City Parks and Metroparks. Not only will redundant workers squabble over pink slips. The maintenance folks most likely to go are union members. There are contracts involved. Wade loves baseball, so we expect he’d rather take some pitches, but avoid some strikes.

Then there’s Mister Ego hisself, Pete Gerken. Never saw a tussle he wasn’t itching to join. The honeymoon betwixt City and County won’t last long. Here’s hoping initial platitudes devolve quickly into predictable old man hissy fits. Hey, we got a column to fill!

3. A backyard rumble between Rep Michael Ashford and Councilwoman Lindsey Webb over the appointment to Wade’s vacated County Treasurer’s seat. If you can only get us one present this year, this would be it.

The posturing has already started for this plum position with its fat paycheck, low workload, and hometown feel. So much better than that horrible drive to Cbus and back every week demanded of folks in state house or senate positions. Ashford threw out the first salvo, in this fight outlining how giving him the seat would pay back loyal Democrats, prevent internal party squabbling, and make everybody happy. It’s the Ds who appoint the replacement, so playing to their sympathies makes good sense.

Except not everybody is happy. Webb, for one, vows to stay in the battle to get the appointment. Ashford’s scenario would have her as state rep. She’s not buying what he’s selling.

Recall, dear readerz, this is not the first go-round for these two. Hearken back to the aughts, when both served on Toledo City Council during the A-team versus B-team D intraparty schism. A-teamer Ashford wanted to be President of Council. A fresh-faced Webb vowed to support him against B-teamer Mark Sobczak.

Until she didn’t. The vote came around, and it turned out Webb had been a-fibbin’. She didn’t support Ashford after all. Somebody had gotten to her, probably Cart–err, HWSNBN. We wrote a column about it way back when, calling her “Wicked Webb.” As in, ‘O what a Wicked Webb we weave when first we practice to deceive.’

What pure poetry it will be if these two are squared off again. Here’s hoping they do us a solid, and make the final rounds of this battle column-worthy. The drama will play out sometime in early January when the Ds make the appointment.

Here’s the bottom line, folks. We don’t wanna work. We want the slings and arrows of a typical year in City
Politics to write this column for us.

May it be so.