Candidates discuss crime, jobs in first mayoral forum - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Candidates discuss crime, jobs in first mayoral forum

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Mike Collins Mike Collins
Anita Lopez Anita Lopez
Joe McNamara Joe McNamara
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The eight candidates running for Mayor of Toledo were all in the same room Tuesday for the first official mayoral forum.

A topic that dominated the night was crime and public safety in the Glass City. The candidates – Opal Covey, Alan Cox, D. Michael Collins, Michael Konwinski, Joe McNamara, Anita Lopez, Mayor Mike Bell, and write-in candidate Don Gozdowski – each had the opportunity to talk about how they would tackle the issue.

"We need more police officers, that is a given," said McNamara. "I'm also a big supporter of neighborhood police and fire stations. A big difference between me and Mayor Mike Bell is I want to open the Northwest District Police Station."

Others had similar approaches.

"We're going to increase the number of police in the community," Lopez said. "We're going to be visible, going door to door, knowing one home, one neighborhood, one area at a time."

"I intend on doing this by hiring 40 police officers a year," Collins said. "We will do this without raising the budget because the new individuals…will be coming in at 25 percent less in terms of wages and fringe benefits."

Mayor Bell took a different approach when answering the question. He cited his accomplishments as proven success.

"We will have hired about 192 firefighters, 180 police officers, and so if that's the issue about safety, we're addressing it," he said. "We have a chief that's doing data-driven policing. I think that that's working. Crime is down 17 percent."

Guests also wanted to know about how the candidates would bring jobs to Toledo.

"We need to be smarter with how we invest our resources, and we need to be willing to invest in ourselves," McNamara said. "I actually have a 5-point economic development plan that involves using the resources we have to create jobs here."

 "My focus on the first year is to focus on creating a business-friendly environment for the City of Toledo," Lopez said.

"I believe the way that we create a new synergy in the City of Toledo is we have to be able to provide the youth of this community with opportunities," Collins said.

Again, Bell referred to what he has accomplished.

"We've created 6,300 jobs in the last 3.5 years," he said. "These are not my figures, these are the figures from the state. So I think we're doing what people have asked us to do."

Tuesday's forum was sponsored by the Toledo branch of the NAACP. More debates are scheduled for the candidates. The primary election will be September 10.

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