Controversial comment creates conversation at Wednesdays with Wade

Controversial comment creates conversation at Wednesdays with Wade
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It was a dramatic night at this month's Wednesdays with Wade. It all stemmed from a comment WTOL 11 first told you about, made by a city employee during Tuesday's city council meeting.

Toledo neighbors showed up in full force for Wednesday's with Wade on March 7th. Questions were asked about the roads.

"When you come over into the intercity and this way no side streets are done," said Sherman Howard, a Toledo resident.

Questions were also asked about the budget.

"There's $19 million there that should be set aside every year just for streets and bridges," stated one community member.

And also about public safety.

"We basically just want to be treated fair," explained a local bar owner.

But one question dominated the room and that was what the city is doing in regard to controversial comments made by a city employee during Tuesday's council meeting.

"They are saying undesirable crowds, but in that neighborhood, who do you think that he is talking about? It's racist," stated Ivory Howard at the mayors meeting Wednesday. "It was racist and I feel misrepresented by it."

The mayor agreed with her and other crowd members concerns.

"In any case, it was an inappropriate, awful comment and it made me sick to my stomach for the whole rest of the night," explained Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.

He said the employee was verbally reprimanded and he has requested to write an apology letter to city council, but the city is also going to offer diversity and sensitivity training. Some at Wednesday's meeting said that's a start.

"How long have we been having this conversation really? It needs to be on a larger scale," said Howard. "It needs to be more open we need to talk about some diversity."

But several believe the real issue is providing positive outlets and resources for our kids.

"When it's time for them to take care of us and take care of the world they are going to put garbage out because that's all we've given them is garbage," said Ivory Howard.

Peter Ujvagi, Toledo City Councilman for District 3, said he knows there are few programs and few dollars available to help, but that's something we should prioritize.

"It's a very valid conversation that has to take place in our community," said Ujvagi. "We have to not just respond on how we're going to respond to it and determine how we are going to respond to it, but how we're going to make that happen. That's not just government that is public sector, the private sector, that's the schools, it is the churches, it's community organizations."

Despite the disagreement Wednesday, all are hopeful we will do better in the future.

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