Toledo Muni Court Judges
You must recognize two things to understand the current races for Judge of Toledo Municipal Court.
First, no one pays attention to the races for judge. Heck, most people cannot name the sitting judges. Even folks who have been in their courtrooms don’t remember their names.
Because no one knows who they are, voters don’t tend to care about voting for them. Every election many more votes are cast at the top of the ballot than the bottom, where the judicial races dwell.
The second thing to understand is that, as a consequence of the first, incumbents never lose. Seriously, never. So no one ever runs against an incumbent, and they effectively serve forever. Or until they turn seventy, when they can no longer run, whichever comes first.
Witness two of the current races. Incumbents Tim Kuhlman and
Michelle Wagner are both running for re-election. Unopposed.
There are also two open seats on the bench, vacated by age-limited or retiring incumbents. So five challengers are scrambling for those seats.
For the Housing Court bench, challengers include endorsed Republican Jim Anderson, defense lawyer who once served as a clerk under the current incumbent Judge C,. Allen McConnell. See
jimandersonforjudge.com. Anderson is opposed by endorsed Democrat Joe Howe, a current prosecutor in that court. His bio is available on howeforjudge.com.
A second muni court bench is sought by three challengers.
Endorsed Democrat Dale Emch, a former newspaper reporter who is now a solo practitioner in Toledo, according to daleemchforjudge.com. Emch is opposed by endorsed
Republican Nicole Khoury, a criminal defense attorney and well-known front-woman for the band Arctic Clam. Khoury also organizes the wildly successful annual fundraiser Acoustics for Autism. See nicolekhouryforjudge.com and acousticsforautism.com for more information.
The third candidate in this race is Hank Schaefer III. He’s a City prosecutor, who says a defense attorney shouldn’t sit on the bench. See his campaign Facebook page, facebook.com/hankschaeferforjudge.
Toledo Board of Education
Four candidates, including three incumbents, seek three seats on the Toledo School Board. The three incumbents are all from South Toledo. So with the other two Board members, all five are from South Toledo. None from West Toledo, North Toledo, the Point, the Central City, well, you understand.
The three South Enders include Polly-Taylor-Gerken, two-time failed candidate for Toledo City Council, a retired school psychologist with TPS, and wife of Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken.
The second incumbent, Bob Vasquez, is a long-time child advocate who currently serves as community affairs liaison for the Toledo Zoo. Vasquez and Taylor-Gerken are endorsed Democrats.
The third incumbent is Chris Varwig. A long-time registered Republican, Varwig inexplicably sought the endorsement of the Democratic Party this year. She didn’t get it. Varwig was a long-time TPS parent advocate before joining the Board. She says she is a parent with purpose and passion to bring progress. Say that five times real fast.
The challenger is endorsed Democrat Ruth Leonard, currently a TPS substitute teacher, a role she would have to resign if elected. The Board is a volunteer position, by the way. She is reportedly not from South Toledo. Not to be outdone in alliteration, she calls herself Leonard for Learners. Leonard says she wants to bring a student-focus back to the Board.
PHH: Nice, thoughtful, caring, and smart. But never purged the Collins misfits from her administration. That shadow could turn a dark, dark gray on Election Day.
Wade K: Smart, politically astute. A bit sweaty. Took a big risk going against the Democratic establishment. to run for Mayor. The risk could pay off. Hope he fills his Admin with competence, intelligence, and vision. It would be a nice change.
Spang: Number one in the polls. An incumbent member of Council, she spent four years talking about lack of respect. Respect comes with advancing meaningful legislation. Nada from Sandy.
Ludeman: Spang’s mentor who got her into politics. Has accomplished little in twenty-two years on Council. Should stop talking about the nineties and finally get it into gear. Doubtful.
Sykes: Long-time public servant. School Board, Council, boards of the Metroparks, LMHA, and Children’s Services. A former boxer, accused of assault at a candidate’s night talent show. A unique talent indeed.
Adams: Former TPS teacher, administrator, and Board member. This is her first race with an opponent. Most voters couldn’t care less about her inability to work with fellow Council members.
Savage: Son of a founder of a well-known food bank. Not related to the family of financial advisers, the one after whom Savage Arena at UT is named. Would be the oldest member of Council since TM Gabriel.
Johnson: Owner of a minority-owned contracting business. Failed candidate for Sylvania Twp. Trustee. Registered to vote in South Toledo. Doubtful he lives there. Might live in Sylvania Township or Old Orchard.
Komives: Young activist in labor and LGBTQIA issues. Could tell you what LGBTQIA stands for. Related to basketball legend Butch Komives. Would lower the average age of Council by decades. Unless Savage also gets elected, then they would cancel each other out.
Melden: Works at Leadership Toledo. Founded Food for Thought. Worked on campaigns of Mike Bell and Pete Gerken. Not at the same time. Wants to provide fresh, energetic leadership.
Toledo maybe not yet ready for that.
Young: Workers’ Comp lawyer. Good soldier with Democratic Party, appointed to seat. Lowest primary finish of any incumbent in decades. Maybe ever.
Robinson: African American. Woman. Lives in Old North Toledo. Loves, loves, loves Donald Trump and his presidency. Which of these things doesn’t belong? Hint: There are plenty of African American women living in the Old North End.
Narvaez: Keeps running for Council, keeps losing. This year will be no different.
Phillips: In a normal year, there would have been more than twenty primary candidates. This year there were only thirteen. In a normal year, Phillips would have finished far out of the top twelve. ‘Nuff said. Bye, bye, Clyde.