How do you know what truly belongs to you?
We’re not trying to get too deep and philosophical here, and we’re not talking in a metaphysical sense. More in a practical sense, like what makes something your property to the point that you can do with it whatever you want?
Is ownership something you are born into? Or is dominion a commodity to be purchased?
In city politics, it seems, ownership is none of the above. Instead it’s about entitlement. It’s mine, I deserve it, I’ll do what I want with it, and if y’all don’t like it, find a good place to stick it.
Take a seat
Some folks treat elected office like an entitlement. Take councilman Rob Ludeman, for example. There are term limits on Toledo City Council. The maximum time anyone is entitled to be a councilman is three consecutive terms or twelve years.
Not true for our boy Rob. He has been on council for almost all of the past two decades. First he slithered through a loop hole in the city charter. Then he took two years off between being a District Two rep and being elected at large. If things go well for Robby he’ll have at least six more years in this stint and will likely retire with a fat guvmint pension.
Such delusions of entitlement to public positions mean there are fewer opportunities for a younger generation to take over. In the most recent election for at large seats former Mayor, councilman, state rep and school board member Jack Ford came out of retirement to fill a seat, lifer Ludeman kept his, and septuagenarian and retired city employee Theresa Gabriel took a third. Rumor has it that long time former council member and state rep Peter Ujvagi is considering a run this year for the district three seat soon to be vacated by mike craig.
Is there no one under sixty who is prepared for leadership? Can the formers and the lifers get the blankety blank outta the way and leave some room for new blood? Or does the older generation just feel too entitled to open the door a crack?
Of course this glass ceiling for younger folks isn’t just a problem in the city. County seats are filled with folks with delusions of entitlement to keep their seats for life. County recorder Phil Copeland shows no signs of stepping aside as he moves through his seventieth decade on the planet. County commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Wozniak are also comfortably ensconced in their seats. No sign of any of the above mentoring young replacements. And the word on the street is that former Mayor Mike Bell is eyeing a run at Gerken’s seat. Another former feeling entitled to suckle at the public teat.
A much darker form of entitlement has reared its ugly head with the recent sudden passing of Mike Collins and Jack Ford. Weirdos have bubbled up through the slime claiming entitlement to carry on Collins’ and Ford’s purported legacies. We have already written about Collins’ widow Sandy Drabik believing she is entitled to fulfill Collins’ term as mayor. Now perennial creepazoid and green party candidate Sean Nestor has surfaced with strange tales that Jack Ford would have wanted Nestor to fill his seat on council. Nestor claims Ford told him that he would endorse Nestor for the seat if elected to the state senate last year. Odd, since Ford never endorsed Nestor just the previous year when both were running for at large seats on council.
Sean, we are all for a new generation of leadership. Preferably one who doesn’t think they are entitled to lead because of the alleged musings of the dead.
What’s yours is mine
The worst story of entitlement in city politics involves recent council appointee Scott Ramsey. He runs a boat construction and repair business in Uptown. During the course of business he is certified by the State of Ohio to collect sales taxes on behalf of the State. These taxes are the largest source of State government income. They are for the public good. They belong to the State from the minute they are collected, through the time they are placed in an escrow account until they are duly sent on to the State coffers.
Seems Ramsey doesn’t see it that way. He feels entitled to use the state sales taxes for his own private needs. The State has filed liens against his business for this practice. For his part, Ramsey shows no remorse. Defrauding the state tax payer is just part of doing business.
Ludeman apparently agrees, having said he doesn’t have a problem with Ramsey exploiting state dollars for his own private use. Not surprising, though. Ludeman understands such feelings of entitlement at a deep level.
Voters should feel some sense of entitlement, too. You are entitled to vote for new leadership. One with a sense of service. Starting at the special election May 5th.