Source: The Lima NewsCandidate interviews with Lima 1st Ward candidates Todd Gordon and Ray Magnus.
LIMA — Voters in Lima’s 1st Ward will be selecting an experienced candidate to represent their ward no matter whom they choose Nov. 7.
Both incumbent Councilman Todd Gordon and challenger Ray Magnus have each served a four-year term on Lima City Council, with Magnus serving from 2005 to 2009. The candidates met Wednesday at The Lima News to make their case for serving on the council.
While both voiced a commitment to serving the residents of their ward, they each posed a different approach to that service. Gordon cited his ability to work well with others on the council and in city administration, while Magnus pledged a more skeptical “watchdog” approach to the position.
“One of the things I do well is work with others,” Gordon said. “As far as the current administration, one of the things I carried into [the council] with the Berger administration is to work well with all of his leaders because I’m a communicator. I can walk in and talk to him. Also, if Mr. [Keith] Cheney gets in [as mayor], I plan on doing the same thing.”
“I’ll be honest. Hopefully, we’ll have a new mayor come Dec. 1,” Magnus said. “But I’m not going to be a ‘yes’ man to anybody. I don’t care if it’s Dave Berger, Keith Cheney or whoever it may be. I ask a lot of ‘why’ questions, and I will hold whatever administration is there accountable as I have in the past. The major job of a councilman is to be a watchdog of the taxpayer’s dollars.”
When asked about major concerns within the 1st Ward, which is located in northeast Lima, Gordon cited the opioid issue, with the need to continue to report drug houses and dealers to the police and help addicts get treatment. He also expressed a hope that the focus of public works officials will begin to shift out of the city’s downtown and into neighborhoods.
“I want to start making these areas look nice, such as streets, sidewalks and curbs,” he said. “I know the sidewalks and curbs are the responsibility of the homeowners, but I’d like to see the city put a little more into that and clean up the neighborhoods so people will want to make their houses better.”
Gordon also said that he has not encountered resistance to this proposal from administration, saying that it is something for future projects.
Magnus pointed to crime, pointing to elements such as the North End Posse, “a bunch of young, 15-, 16- and 17 year-olds running around with one pant leg pulled up four or five at a time.” He also said that, if elected, one of his first actions would be to recommend that no more than 10 percent of Community Development Block Grant funds would go to pay for salaries.
“At the present time, there’s about 20 percent of that money used in the upper echelon of city administration to pay for salaries,” he said. “I’d like to see a cap of 10 percent across the board so we can work more on streets and curbs.”
Magnus also prioritized getting adequate street lighting for the ward to help deter crime.
Both Magnus and Gordon expressed concern over a proposed landlord registry and licensing program for the city, with Magnus saying it would violate landlords’ Fourth Amendment rights and would add cost to landlords and subsequently to tenants.
“The cost has to be passed on,” he said. “There’s no way that landowners can foot that cost and everything that comes with it. It would put another seven or eight people in a bureaucratic role in city government that we don’t need.”
“Personally, I doubt it will get out of committee,” Gordon said. “It’s too restrictive and I don’t like what’s going on with it. I would like to see us improve on how we deal with the landlords, but at this point, I don’t see a whole lot that I like with this issue.”