Mayoral candidates answer south Toledo neighbors questions during town hall

Mayoral candidates answer south Toledo neighbors questions during town hall

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Current Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson and her opponent for the seat Wade Kapszukiewicz faced off Monday explaining what would make them most qualified to lead our city for the next four years as Mayor of Toledo.

Voters asked questions on the topics of roads, the millions of dollars found, city wide development  and more during Monday night's Mayoral Town Hall at the First Unitarian Church of Toledo.

The two democratic candidates shared moments of agreement, but also stood divided on several issues.

Neighbors and UT students showed up to hear just what both current mayor Paula Hicks-Husdon and her opponent Wade Kapszukiewicz would do in office. Some hot topics crossed their minds.

"I'd like to know what they would do about the blight and the crime in the Toledo area," said Gerald Kenczewicz, a south Toledo neighbor.

"One thing that concerns me right now is that we're stuck in the same old same old way of doing things," said Louise Kahle, a Toledo voter. "I don't see a lot of innovation for the future and I would like to somebody talk about what they see moving ahead."

One of the most contentious questions from the audience during the mayoral town hall hosted by UT's political science students association was about how the city found millions of dollars and how they will prevent that from happening in the future.

The mayor quickly corrected the question saying money wasn't found, but already her administration has asked the state auditor to look at their books and they also have changed their practices.

"We have in place those things that will make sure that when legislation is passed the funds are placed and put in accounts that are accurate so that you know where they are,"  said Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson. "And that it's not left to just the minds or memories of individuals, but they will be memorialized in documents as well as using the systems that we have."

Her opponent strongly disagreed saying something went wrong with the budget.

"The problem in my judgment isn't how the problem started," explained candidate for mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. "I'm not as concerned about how the problem began, I'm concerned about what are we going to do. Once it was discovered what are we going to do? So yes, there's an outside auditor, they were trying to hide it from the auditor. That's the problem. I believe in transparency."

In the rebuttal Hicks-Hudson denied that was true, while Kapszukiwicz said the Ohio Supreme Court Justice Douglas's report states that.

Audience members also wanted to know while we have seen growth in Downtown Toledo, what would the candidates do to spark change across the entire city?

"Some good things are happening, but let's not fool ourselves," said Kapszukiewicz. "We have real challenges and the challenges begin in the neighborhoods."

He said he believes change starts with some of the work from the Land Bank.

"When we eliminate blight, we strengthen neighborhoods we increase property values. When our roads are paved, when our neighborhoods are safe those also increase value so there are things we can do we jut have to be willing to break away from the status quo,"  Kapszukiewicz added,

The current mayor said she believes change happens by working with the community to find the biggest assets in a neighborhood to bring business back.

"You have an anchor institution as a place where people can come together," explained Hicks-Hudson. "Let them help us decide what are the major issues facing that community. So for me what I have done and continue to do is work in partnership with the community with anchor institutions and come up with a plan that will fit the needs of that particular community."

Voters continued to ask questions regarding the candidate's thoughts and solutions on liter in the community, education, drug court, and even the county jail until time ran out.  The one topic not asked about, our water.

Tuesday is the voter registration deadline and election day is November 7th.

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