Friday, June 27, 2014

Ohio Democrats plan to challenge Jack Ford's independent run for Senate

Gongwer-Ohio is reporting that Democrats will file a challenge to get former Toledo mayor and current city councilman Jack Ford off the ballot. He is running as an independent against Sen. Edna Brown in the November election.

Jack Ford
The issue, Democrats say, is that Ford voted in the Democrat primary AFTER he filed his Senate candidacy petitions as an independent. They worry that the three-way race could split the Democrat vote in the traditionally Democrat district and allow Republican Ernest McCarthy to win the seat.

Here is the Gongwer story:

Democrats are preparing to file a challenge to get former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford off the ballot in his race for the Senate, where he is running as an independent against Sen. Edna Brown.

The party is concerned that Mr. Ford, a former House minority leader who currently serves as an at-large Toledo city councilman, could split the Democratic vote and hand the 11th Senate District to Republican Ernest McCarthy.

At a minimum, his entry into the race could force the Senate Democratic Caucus to spend money in a district where it otherwise wouldn't likely have to devote a significant amount of resources.

Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) said Mr. Ford was trying to get around Ohio law that requires candidates of the same party to square off in a primary election.

"You can't circumvent the system to try to make it more convenient for you. And in my opinion, that's what he's currently trying to do," he said in an interview Friday.

Sen. Schiavoni said Mr. Ford voted in the most recent Democratic primary election after filing his Senate candidacy petitions as an independent.

Mr. Ford couldn't be reached for comment before deadline.

Independent candidates have had success at the Toledo ballot box in recent years. Current Mayor D. Michael Collins and his predecessor Michael Bell both ran as independents.

No formal candidacy protest has yet been filed with the Lucas County Board of Elections and any such challenge will have to come from a registered voter in the district.

Sen. Schiavoni said the caucus might help pay for the legal expenses to help protect Sen.
State Sen. Edna Brown
Brown (D-Toledo).

"We have an incumbent state senator that's worked incredibly hard, is being challenged by another Democrat that did not want to run in a Democratic primary. So he's trying to circumvent the system to go in as an independent. That's illegal and we're trying to protect Sen. Brown," he said.

The law requires candidacy protests to be filed with elections officials by July 30. For legislative races, county boards of election hear the case and determine the validity of the candidate's petition.

One complicating factor, however, is the fact that Secretary of State Jon Husted recently removed three of the Lucas County Board of Elections' four members after years of what he called "a deep-rooted culture of dysfunction." Earlier this week, he rejected the local Republican Party's two recommended replacements and is still awaiting a nomination from Democrats.

Sen. Schiavoni acknowledged that Mr. Ford has good name recognition after decades of running for various offices in the district.

Sen. Brown won 60% of the vote in a two-way race in 2010. The addition of a well-known third-party candidate is a serious threat to her re-election in a district that was previously considered safe for Democrats.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

City of Toledo can't maintain what it has, but wants to add more

These are two letters to the editor published in today's Blade:

Use inmates to upkeep cemetery

When I visited the burial sites of several family members in city-owned Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day, I was shocked beyond belief.

On a day where the cemetery would have more visitors than most other days, you would at least expect mowed grounds. The condition of this cemetery is deplorable. The grounds in some sections have ankle-high weeds. Some of the grave markers have sunk and have been swallowed by weeds so that it’s hard to read the inscribed names.

When my family made arrangements for my mother’s burial, we were told the fees included the upkeep of the grounds. We are able to locate my family members’ graves because we maintain them.

I sent a letter to Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and City Council members to express my concerns and to make a suggestion.

I proposed that city leaders employ inmates to maintain the grounds. This will give inmates an opportunity to pay it forward, where otherwise they will just sit behind bars.

Eaglebrook Road

Forest Cemetery’s condition sad

Visiting Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day to pay respects to my family, I found the cemetery to be deplorable. The only sections that were mowed were the ones along the perimeter.

The grass was so tall in the cemetery’s interior that grave markers were obscured. How sad, especially on Memorial Day.

Pasadena Bouelvard

Forest Cemetery is a city-owned property and as Frances Smith wrote, the fees paid are supposed to cover upkeep of the facility.

The problem is, Toledo spends a lot of money doing unnecessary things while the basic services for existing things suffers.

Here is the editor's note published along with the letters:

Editor’s note: A City of Toledo spokesman said: “The grass at Forest Cemetery was high in some areas, but is being cut. We do not have funding to allow the staff level necessary to cut more frequently during the high-grass season. The Collins administration understands the frustration expressed by a few who have visited the cemetery.”

First, it does not matter how "few" or many might express frustration. Those are just the "few" who chose to take the time to write or call. The city made a promise to the families of those interred there that the property would be maintained - and it's not, at least, not very well.

But the bigger issue is that the city is struggling trying to perform all the mowing and the pothole filling while members of council are debating how to spend money they don't have to open pools and pay for painting murals.

They keep finding new ways to spend instead of ensuring that the limited funds can cover the ongoing costs of what we already have.

Oh - and just to pour salt in the wound, one councilman suggested that grieving families should actually pay more for grave sites - so they can fund the pools.

No wonder the population of Toledo is declining.

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