Voters' Guide 2014

. October 22, 2014.
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Toledo’s got issues, so let’s talk about them! In this year’s Voters Guide, Johnny Hildo gives his two cents, Silas Tsang predicts the ballot weather, and candidates tell us their plans for the city, if they get your vote.

HILDO SEZ:
Johnny Hildo gives a short ‘n sweet rundown of Ohio’s Gubernatorial Candidates and those vying for the U.S. House 5th and 9th Districts from Ohio
 

OHIO GOVERNOR

 

John Kasich: First move in office was to attack policemen, firemen and teachers. Deeply despised after SB 5 in Twenty Eleven. How quickly folks forget. Can the two million voters who shot SB 5 down at the polls possibly vote for its architect? Inexplicably, it seems that way.
Ed FitzGerald: Probably a nice guy, with great credentials for leadership. Executive of Ohio’s largest county, former FBI agent. Might make a great Guvnah. But his supreme poor judgment in campaign missteps means we might never know. Darned shame.
 
9TH DISTRICT U.S. CONGRESSIONAL

 

Marcy Kaptur: It’s Marcy freakin’ Kaptur. ‘Nuff said, Fred.
Richard May: Really? This guy? Hey, we all respect the good and noble work that warehouse managers do. But we don’t want them leading the country. Retirement looks so good on ya, baby. Don’t let it end.
 
5TH DISTRICT U.S. CONGRESSIONAL

 

Bob Latta: Born with the silver spoon so deep in his throat he can barely speak. Which is a good thing, given the tripe he occasionally mumbles out. As nuthatch conservative as he is slow. Unfortunately, his Dad gave him an undeserved good name.
Robert Fry: Ordained, gun-toting Democrat. Wait, did we just type that? Probably a better fit than Latta for this centrist district, but he’s underfunded and unknown to most voters. Get ‘im in Twenty Sixteen, Bobby!

We’ve got issues
Rollbacks, cutbacks, and the ballot
by Johnny Hildo
Scenario One. It’s the year Two Thousand. You’re a fresh-faced twenty-something just out of college and are being offered your first job. “Congratulations, Ms. Hopeful, we want to offer you your first job. Pay starts at $2000 per month. That might be a concern, as costs are going up, and to keep up you’ll have to make closer to $2750 by Twenty Fourteen.
“Here’s the good news: If you work hard and play by the rules, which will change regularly by the way, in just five years you’ll be making exactly $2000 a month! Unless on our completely capricious whim we decide to cut your pay, that is. What’s more, by Twenty Fourteen, when inflation will probably make $2000 worth less than $1500, we can guarantee you’ll be making exactly $2000! No raises, and possible pay cuts if we darned well feel like it, for the rest of your tenure here. Good luck making ends meet. And welcome aboard!”
Holy fixed income, Batman! Oh, wait, even folks on “fixed” incomes like pensions get cost-of-living adjustments to offset the effects of inflation. Not you. Do you take the job?
Scenario Two. The lovely city of Golden Hills, OH has property valued at $2 million dollars in the year Two Thousand. The voters of Golden Hills see fit to pass a property tax levy of one mill for the Bleak Prospect Schools in Golden Hills. One mill can be thought of as “one one-thousandth,” so one mill on two million dollars is worth $2000 of income for Bleak Prospect Schools.
By Two Thousand Five, costs have risen with inflation, and that $2000 is now worth less than $1650 in buying power. But never fear! Property values have gone up to $2.5 million in Golden Hills, meaning one mill is worth $2500 which, adjusted for inflation, is more like $2050 from the year 2000. Property taxes have risen accordingly. Voters voted a one mill tax in Two Thousand. Property values have gone up with inflation and so have property taxes. In Two Thousand Five, Bleak Prospect Schools gets . . . wait for it . . . $2000.
By Two Thousand Fourteen, when property values have risen to a total of $3 million, and one mill would be worth $3000, Bleak Prospect Schools gets, you guessed it, $2000. Which is now worth less than $1500 in buying power.
But wait, you say. How can this be?, you ask. On the ballot we voted for $1 million, and the value of that one mill rises with inflation. True enough, except for a pesky little Ohio law that means, while the ballot says a millage, you are actually voting the dollar amount that millage would raise at the time the ballot issue is certified, and not a penny more. It never rises no matter the increase in values and taxes. Instead, the millage is slowly rolled back to keep the dollar amount the same.
Holy fixed income, Batman! Oh wait, see above. No cost of living adjustments. Do you take the job?

Brother, can you spare a dime?
Why this dry soliloquy on the economics of inflation and fixed incomes, when this is supposed to be about the issues on the November 4 ballot?
Because nearly every major school system is on the ballot this year asking for additional millage, as are county-wide agencies and other jurisdictions great and small. There are two reasons why.
First, because of the fixed income problem above. Take Issue 1, for example, a new $5.8 million for Toledo Public Schools. TPS voters have previously approved over $62 million for their schools. But the inflation-based rollback of that millage to keep the income fixed means that TPS collects less than $32 million, or about half of what voters have approved. Even if the $5.8 million is approved, the effective millage rate will be well less than the amount actually approved by voters. With the costs of everything increasing, but TPS on a true fixed income, voters must pass new levies or the school system dies.
The same is true of the other school levies on the ballot, all asking for additional millage just to keep behind the pace of inflation, including Issue 2 ($4.9 million for Washington Local Schools), Issue 3 ($3.9 million for Maumee Schools), Issue 4 ($5.9 million for Oregon Schools) and Issue 6 ($7.9 million for Springfield Schools). Issue 5 asks for a renewal of part of the fixed income already in place in Springfield.
Issues 7 and 9 are combo-renewal and additional requests for Children Services and Senior Services. Only Issue 8, for the Mental Health Board, is a renewal of slowly declining fixed income with nothing additional. The other reason so many groups are on the ballot this year is the fact that the state budget under John Kasich was balanced on the backs of local jurisdictions. Kasich cut funding to schools, social service agencies, and local governments, meaning local taxpayers must take up the slack.
Schools, fire protection, seniors, children, and roads are just a few of the issues on the ballot. Can we possibly say no?

On November 4, area residents will have a chance to make a change and cast their votes for the things that matter. Issues on the table this year include education levies, water cleanup and city improvement; none of which are easy fixes. Here, candidates reveal their plans for addressing heavy-hitting issues, from the water crisis and poverty to job retention and vacant buildings.

On November 4, area residents will have a chance to make a change and cast their votes for the things that matter. Issues on the table this year include education levies, water cleanup and city improvement; none of which are easy fixes. Here, candidates reveal their plans for addressing heavy-hitting issues, from the water crisis and poverty to job retention and vacant buildings.

OHIO SENATE DISTRICT 11

 

Edna Brown
Education: Attended University of Toledo and Mary Manse College
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Political Experience: Formerly served in Ohio House of Representatives from 2001-2010. City of Toledo employee for 32 years; Toledo City Council member for 8 years.

What will you do to retain/create jobs in the Toledo area?
I will support education reform, and encourage increased funding for economic development, particularly for startup businesses which focus on 21st-century skills.

What plans do you have to prevent another water crisis?
The first step I will take is to push for passage of SB 356, which I introduced this year. This bill adds manure to the definition of fertilizer and changes the date of implementation for SB 150 to December 31, 2014. As evidenced by the Toledo water crisis, the legislature has been too slow to implement ways to promote phosphorous reduction to improve and maintain clean, safe water supplies for drinking, industry, wildlife and recreation.

Who’s your hero, and why?
My hero is anyone who has used his or her skills, talents and training to make our lives better in the areas of human rights, civil rights, technology and medical research.

Ernest D. McCarthy
Education: Graduated from Waite High School in Toledo. Served in the U.S. Army.
Party Affiliation: Republican
Political Experience: Retired from K & R Management.

What will you do to retain/create jobs in the Toledo area?
As your Senator, I will truly promote economic development and small business growth in the Toledo area. Being out on the streets campaigning I have run into several people considering small business startup. The Toledo Chamber of Commerce has a good small business startup program, yet people know very little about it. We truly need our elected officials to promote jobs and the benefits of the Toledo area. When elected, you can be certain I will work to bring jobs to the Toledo area and truly promote small business growth.

What plans do you have to prevent another water crisis?
The Toledo water crisis! We have played with Mother Nature for many years and she will not forgive us quickly. I had an occasion to speak with Mayor Collins on just what was being done about the water crisis. Both the Governor and the Mayor are working on the problem and I give them just due. I would promote a coalition 10 million people strong, each doing their part and to gather both a short-term and long-term solution to the problem.

Who’s your hero, and why?
Special people in my life are my mother and father. They worked hard to bestow in me respect for other people, work hard, and keep your word. My three statements— respect to God, respect to brothers and respect to good government—truly define who I am, and I will work hard for all the people in the 11th district and the State of Ohio.

 

LUCAS COUNTY COMMISSIONER

 

Carol Contrada
Education: Earned Juris Doctorate from the University of Toledo, B.A. from Denison University.
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Political Experience: President, Board of Lucas County Commissioners

What is your biggest concern for Toledo, and how do you plan to amend it?
Water quality is the most critical issue of the region. I’m working to establish a local Water Authority, which would protect ratepayers and implement a long-term approach to improving the water treatment plant. This is a win-win for those in Lucas County who rely on safe, healthy drinking water.

How can you help reduce poverty in the city?
As Commissioner, I have and continue to support job growth and workforce training; spearheaded the Northwest Ohio Food Council; sponsored key educational initiatives in partnership with Toledo Public Schools, United Way, and the Toledo Community Foundation; and work to provide affordable housing.

If your campaign were a movie, what would be the title?
“Love Actually” would be the title of my campaign. As I run for re-election, I am inspired and humbled by the faith that Lucas County residents have in our ability to meet our community’s challenges.

Who’s your hero, and why?
My dad, who taught me hard work and a love of learning; my mom, who taught me patience. My children, who have taught me enduring love and the importance of humor, and my husband Charlie, who cares about each person he works with, while fighting for their rights with an abiding belief in justice

Kevin Haddad
Education: Attended Woodward High School, Graduated from the University of Toledo
Party Affiliation: Republican
Political Experience: Former Sylvania Township trustee; owner of Kevin Haddad Design Group.

What is your biggest concern for Toledo, and how do you plan to amend it?
The young people leaving our community. My plan is to bring jobs and have a countywide public transit system that will move people around the whole county, not just a limited area. This system needs smaller and more fuel-efficient buses running 24 hours a day, so the community can get to work and go to Swanton, Bono or the airport using public transit.

How can you help reduce poverty in the city?
If we took this $1,200,000 that we are getting for the blight, we could have work for small contractors to rebuild the homes instead of tearing them down. It could be done at a low cost and the people purchasing the property would care about it because it is theirs. With a tax abatement for 5 years and inspections on a regular basis, it will grow the city instead of “Leaving an Empty Donut Hole.”

If your campaign were a movie, what would be the title?
Because I Care About You!

Who’s your hero, and why?
Moses, because he took the people back to their home and kept them there.

 

OHIO AUDITOR

 

Anita Lopez
Education: Graduated from University of Toledo College of Law.
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Political Experience: Licensed attorney in Ohio. Served as Lucas County Auditor for 8 years.

What is the number one area that could use improvement with the record keeping/ accounting process in Lucas County?
As Auditor, my goal is to continue to receive clean and error-free audits from The State of Ohio. This year Lucas County received the award of distinction for our annual fiscal report under my leadership.

What have you done to facilitate transparency with the county numbers?
This year we are releasing “LucasCountySpending.gov. This online website tool will tell citizens where their tax dollars are spent. It is a new tool and a work in progress.

Do you advocate making changes to how property values in Lucas County are adjusted?
At least twelve times a year, I go to the community for feedback. We go to Senior Centers, Libraries, and Block Watch meetings. By State Law, the Auditor adjusts values every years. In addition, by law citizens can challenge their value through the Board of Revision. Licensed appraisers already review values.

How will you approach the rise in tax-delinquent properties in downtown Toledo?
The economy has impacted all of Lucas County properties and tax delinquencies still are steady. I will work closely with taxpayers to keep them informed of any possibility for a tax savings. I will continue to work with the Lucas County Commissioners and the Mayor on economic development to assist businesses in avoiding tax delinquencies.

If your campaign were a movie, what would be the title?
“Rudy”

John Navarre (R)
Education: Graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree in Business Management.
Party Affiliation: Republican
Political Experience: Held jobs in the auditor’s office for 12 years; now a property appraiser in that office.

What is the number one area that could use improvement in the Auditor’s Office in Lucas County?
The valuation process for all 200,000 Residential/Agricultural/Commercial and Industrial properties, which need to be fair and equitable for 100% of property owners. 10-15 percent of Lucas County property owners receive value reductions under the current Auditor. What about the other 85 percent? When a reduction is granted to a property, they pick up the tab in the form of higher taxes. I want everyone to pay their fair share. I am appealing to the 85% who didn’t get a reduction, while their neighbor is paying less tax than they are.

What will you do to facilitate transparency with the county property values?
I have proposed a 3-person panel of state-certified licensed appraisers to review 15 percent of all informal reviews. This ensures that the process is fair for all properties, even those who do not seek lower values.

Do you advocate making changes to how property values in Lucas County are adjusted?
If property values are assessed without political motivation, property taxes are equitable.

How will you approach the rise in tax-delinquent properties in downtown Toledo?
If property taxes are assessed fairly and accurately, property owners are more likely to have incentive to pay the taxes. Currently, there are properties so low that there’s no impetus to pay.

If your campaign were a movie, what would be the title?
“Rudy”
 

TOLEDO BAR ASSOCIATION
Contested Judicial Elections

Randall C. Dixon, President of the Toledo Bar Association, announced the results of the poll taken of Association members regarding candidates running in the upcoming election for judges in local courts. The poll was taken August 19 through September 5, 2014.

Biographies of each judicial candidate and a survey were emailed to members of the Toledo Bar Association. The questionnaire asked members to indicate whether they felt judicial candidates are “highly recommended,” “recommended,” or “not recommended” to serve as judges.

The qualifications were based on integrity, legal ability, legal experience, fair-mindedness, promptness, professionalism and judicial temperament, public and community services, and other qualifications bearing upon their fitness for the office.

Bar members were instructed to vote only if they had sufficient information concerning the candidates to form an opinion of their qualifications.
 

Highly Recommended Recommended Not Recommended
Lucas County Common Please Court
Mark Davis
3% (10)
12% (36) 85% (265)
Ian English
37% (115)
51% (159) 12% (36)
Lisa McGowan
38% (104)
4% (120) 18% (51)
Jay Feldstein
57% (165)
34% (100) 9% (26)
COMMON PLEAS JUDGE DOMESTIC RELATIONS| LUCAS COUNTY

 

Jay Feldstein
Education: B.A. in History from University of Toledo, Juris Doctorate, University of Toledo College of Law.
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Political Experience: Currently practicing law

What can be done to lower the divorce rate?
This is a simple question for which there is no simple answer. The best answer is educating people pre-marriage as to the legal ramifications of entering into marriage and making certain people understand the personal, financial and legal commitment they make when entering into marriage. Post-marriage I encourage people to seek counseling from whatever source they can to make certain they fully understand the family and financial ramifications of a divorce and to make certain that each person has given their best effort at saving the marriage before making the decision to terminate the same.

Do you think that men and women are treated equally when it comes to separation and child custody?
In most but not all cases. When I first became an attorney (in 1979) the doctrine of “tender years” was so prevalent that in all but the most extreme circumstances women were routinely awarded custody of minor children. The law has evolved so that there is more of an emphasis on shared parenting and that fathers and mothers are encouraged to try to negotiate sharing of parental rights and responsibilities including time sharing so that each parent has the opportunity to spend quality time with their children post-divorce. As to children under the age of five (5) there still appears to exist a presumption that mothers are generally able to provide better care for young children than men.

If your campaign were a movie, what would be the title?
“Make It Happen.”

Lisa McGowan
Education: Graduated from University of Toledo College of Law and Hartwick College.
Party Affiliation: Republican
Political Experience: Worked as a private-practice attorney and as Staff Attorney to Judge David Lewandowski.

What’s the most important thing you’ve done to help children whose parents are going through a divorce?
I listen very carefully to the parents and children when they appear before me. Each family is unique and deserves a parenting plan that works for them and is in the child’s best interests. We have Court Counselors that work with the families as well as parenting classes.

What can be done to lower the divorce rate?
Parents and spouses should spend more time listening to each other and their children during the marriage. Spouses should give marriage counseling a chance before either party gives up on the marriage.

Do you think that men and women are treated equally when it comes to separation and child custody?
Yes, in my courtroom they are.

If your campaign were a movie, what would be the title?
“Family Matters,” of course!


District decisions Predicting Toledo’s neighborhood turnout
 

When it comes to Toledo voters, where they are from will determine how they vote. Voter turnout for the 2014 election will be at an all-time low. Here are my predictions by neighborhood in Toledo, based on the 2013 mayoral election, in which voter turnout was only 28 percent.

by Silas Tsang

South Toledo
Two of Toledo’s most popular political figures, Councilman Rob Ludeman and Mayor D. Michael Collins, have represented District 2 in South Toledo while they were members of city council. Political powerhouses like Anita Lopez, Carty Finkbeiner, and Sandy Spang all hail from this part of town.
The voter turnout hovers around 50% in communties like Beverly/Harvard and Glendale/Heatherdowns. South Toledo will lean Governor Kasich’s way, as the area is known to be open to conservative candidates.

Inner City
Recently elected to city council, Jack Ford won a clean sweep of communities like Ottawa Park and Scott Park. Ford also performed well in the Englewood part of town and he’s very popular in the inner city. The Board of Elections prohibited Jack Ford from being listed on the ballot due to undeclared party affiliation issues. Who’ll have that burning desire to come out to vote? Expect voter turnout to be under 20%.

East Toledo
Only 16% of registered voters cast votes in the most recent mayoral election. Everyone remembers how vocal and passionate East Toledo was regarding the case of Baby Elaina. If East side community energy favors liberals, communities like Birmingham, Eastside and Southside, Fitzgerald can win East Toledo. What’s also likely is that East-siders won’t go to the polls because of Fitzgerald’s apparent weakness and vulnerability.

Downtown
Downtown has the most registered-Democrat to registered-Republican ratio in the Toledo area – 2384 Dems to 150 affiliated Republicans. Problem is, the area also had a 13% voter turnout in last year’s mayoral election. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald is assured to win such communities as North River, the Old West End, and Warren-Sherman, simply because the numbers don’t add up in those areas for the GOP.

West Toledo
Unlike the inner city of Toledo, voter turnout around here is positive, and will probably reach 30%. In political circles, West Toledo is considered GOP-leaning. Its councilman, Tom Waniewski, is a Republican. Communities like Westgate and Franklin Park will come out for the right candidate. But that’s if Fitzgerald makes a Truman-likecomeback. Otherwise, chalk up a steady win for Kasich/Taylor.

North Toledo
Most of the voters who remember Senate Bill 5, and therefore hate Kasich passionately, live in North Toledo. They call Toledo a union town, and North Toledo is that personified. Expect a 30% voter turnout, leaning heavily Democratic. This is fertile ground for Democrats. Even in a worst case scenario, gubernatorial candidate Ed Fitzgerald takes North Toledo by a comfortable margin.