After a seemingly endless campaign season, we
are finally less than a week away from the general election
to be held in Toledo on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
As we approach the homestretch, it is “all
over but the shouting” for many of the political contests,
as the outcomes appear to be fairly certain. In others,
however, the conditions are ripe for a surprise.
In today’s column I take a
late look at how a few contests are poised to shape up on
Toledo City Council
Riley failed to get a
majority of the vote total in the primary election. If the
57 percent of the people who previously voted against Riley
now cast a ballot for his opponent Shaun Strong in the
general, this could be a close race. Although Riley has been
known to ‘shoot himself in the foot’ politically, Strong has
also recently been the victim of unnecessary self-inflicted
wounds of his own.
Riley has endorsements in
hand from Fire Fighters Local 92, Northwest Ohio Building
and Construction Trades Council, Toledo Police Patrolmen’s
Association, AFSCME Power in Action and Plumbers and
Pipefitters Union. These endorsements and experience take
Riley over the top in what could be a tight race.
Cherry, current council
president, is often criticized for his unconditional support
of the Kapszukiewicz administration’s agenda and not having
command of city council’s own agenda. Yet, he has the
support of the Building Trades and Construction Council, who
is out knocking doors for him. Labor wants Cherry on council
so he wins this race with approximately 65 percent of the
vote over challenger Abigail Sadowy.
Perhaps the biggest tossup
of all of the current council matchups. Gadus, very
civically-involved but soft-spoken, has been out knocking
doors but East Toledo has been leaning more conservative
over time, giving the ‘backwards-looking’ Glen Cook the
potential to provide Republican representation on council.
However, the word on the street is ‘the more Cook talks, the
more good things come to Gadus.’ So, if Cook continues to
stick his foot in his mouth, Gadus wins this contest in a
This battle is a head-on
collision of two old-school politicians with similar
passions but different styles. Yvonne Harper, the incumbent,
is perhaps more defiant and pugnacious, while the
challenger June Boyd, is perhaps, a passive-aggressive
pugilist whose counterpunching commentary can be sharp,
cutting and effective.
I think Harper wins this
race handily as a result of being in touch with the needs of
her constituency. Her ‘I’m In the Community’ mantra has
proved to be true as she seems to stick up for the people of
her district even if her thinking on the wedge issues in her
district does not always align with conventional wisdom.
Despite the Republicans
pouring an avalanche of money into District 5, Melden has
kept his nose to the grindstone by knocking on doors and,
surprisingly, expressing a progressive agenda. The young
politician has learned much from his previous defeats and is
bringing up new issues, developing a turnout model which
targets youth and talking to and about those people that
might not otherwise have voice or representation.
Melden’s opponent is Tom
Names, a professional engineer who retired in 2014. Names
feels that his understanding on issues like fixing city
streets and expanding the water treatment system is a
professional experience that is missing on city council.
The Republicans will turn
out to support Names but Melden has expanded his campaign to
include talking to anyone and anybody under the age of 40 in
order to start recruiting for a new generation of leaders.
Melden wins with over 60 percent of the vote.
The only interesting thing
about this contest is that when Delaney wins, will he then
almost immediately announce that he wants to run for Lucas
County Sherriff to replace the retiring John Tharp.
The retired Toledo Police
officer was employed by TPD for over 30 years and his father
worked as the corrections administrator for the Lucas County
Jail. Delaney, the incumbent, wins this race hands down.
Toledo Public Schools:
paramount in a school district where a majority of the
students are students of color. The Toledo School Board has
not had an African-American member since Randall Parker III,
who was appointed in April, 2015 to replace Cecelia Adams
but lost in his bid for a full term later that same year.
Councilman Larry Sykes also previously served on the TPS
Board through 2013.
Look for Sheena Barnes,
an African-American woman, to win a spot on the Toledo
School Board. Barnes is transparent and passionate and will
inevitably ruffle feathers with some of the School Board’s
establishment. Her message around representation is
important though, and will carry her through as she fights
both for the students and respect for herself. I think that
the TPS parents and students will appreciate it.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at