Let’s be honest. This has been a year like no other in City Politics. Nevertheless, we decided to join the “Best of” theme and sort through the carnage of twenty twenty and come up with a list of our own.
Some thought it couldn’t be done. Damn the detractors. Full speed ahead! Our judgment impeccable, our opinions unimpeachable, ladeez and gemmelmen, we give you, The Hildy Awards twenty twenty one!
1. The Longest Goodbye award goes to Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman. This guy has set the notion of term limits on its ear. First elected way back in the late Twentieth Century, Ludeman has used loopholes in the city charter and voter apathy to serve twenty six of the past twenty eight years on council. Or something like that. Frankly we’ve lost track.
Term limits have finally caught him in his latest stint, and this is his last year in office. And good thing, too. He’s become the addled old man, sitting on his porch yapping at the young uns about the good ol’ days. But beware! He can be back in twenty twenty three!
2. Most Promising award goes to Mike Navarre. A long time public servant in law enforcement, Navarre is serving in his first elected role as LC Sheriff. And he is off to a promising start. His biggest challenge is how to fund the urgent need to build an updated County jail.
He has come up with plans to streamline policing services to outlying townships while also raising more revenue in the process. Smart! Still, the proof will be in the pudding. 3. Best Newcomer: Katie Moline. The former Katie Bibish has prior experience with public service, coming from a family of public servants and having worked for the venerable Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. In her first year in elected office, Moline has proved to be an unwavering voice for fiscal responsibility and accountability on Toledo City Council. Makes sense, since she’s a CPA. Her expertise is sorely needed, and we think she has a very bright political future ahead.
Special mention to Vanice Williams, who got appointed to represent District Four to replace one of those federally indicted last year. That was a tough entree into public office, but she has served with thoughtfulness and grace.
4. Lifetime Achievement award: Brenda Hill. After a thirty-five year career as a public school teacher, Hill served on the Toledo Public School Board when that body was coming through a period of tumult and intrigue. She was then appointed to the LC Board of Elections after that group had become so dysfunctional that the Ohio Secretary of State cleared the deck. Through it all she has been a voice of clarity and reason. She leaves the Board of Elections in a much better place than she found it.
5. Most Pathetic: Younes “Tony” Dia. We won’t beat this dead horse much more than we already have, except to say, quit exploiting the tragic death of your heroic son, stop making excuses for your criminal past, and stay the heck out of City Politics.
6. Stay in Your Lane award: suburban electeds. Folks elected to office with tiny constituencies in far flung corners of the county regularly get the notion to run for countywide office. Think Laurie Brodie, failed candidate for LC Treasurer, or Pam Haynum, who got trounced for LC Recorder. Here’s a clue. If your base of support can fit in a thimble, don’t waste yer time.
We thought about giving He Who Must Not Be Named a special mention here, but decided to let well enough alone.