LIMA — When it comes to who will represent Lima’s 3rd Ward on Lima City Council, voters will have the choice between an experienced hand and a fresh perspective, with both candidates pledging to fight for the people.
Incumbent Councilman Jesse Lowe II has served two terms on council, while challenger Carla Thompson has never run for public office. For Lowe, having two terms of experience has helped him learn a great deal about how city government is operated.
“It’s been very fast paced,” he said. “I have come to a great understanding that we are there for the people, and I vote accordingly. When they speak to me and tell me what’s going on and how they feel about different legislation, I vote according to how they like it.”
While Thompson may not have experience holding public office, she said she does have experience advocating for others, experience she would bring to the 3rd Ward, which encompasses Lima’s downtown and east central area as well as portions of the northeast corner.
“The skills I do have would be being able to research problems, to learn information and gather facts and advocate for what’s right and what’s fair,” she said. “I also have a sense of empathy. I feel other people’s pain and joy very personally, and I feel like advocating for my neighbors is essentially advocating for myself.”
Both candidates voiced concerns over Lima’s youth, with Thompson saying there needs to be more avenues for teen engagement in areas like the arts, civic engagement and vocational training.
“There’s a disconnect where we’re not hooking our young people up with resources that are already here,” she said. “I think that’s one thing that leads into the great problem right now of opioids.”
Lowe said there are many youth programs in Lima but parents and young people are not aware or not engaged with them. However, there is one thing the city could do, according to Lowe.
“Why they haven’t built a youth community center with game rooms and teaching them life skills, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know why the city doesn’t have a Boys and Girls Club. The YMCA only does so much with its funding. But I don’t want to put it on the city entirely because parents need to step up and say they will get their kids involved.”
Both candidates differed on the proposed landlord registration. For Lowe, the registration would infringe on property owners’ rights and would add unnecessary expense.
“If you’re a tenant, you have rights already,” he said. “If things aren’t up to par, put your rent in escrow and take them to court and do the right thing until they get it up to par.”
Thompson favors a registration system for landlords, especially given the fact that there are landlords for Lima properties “who live as far away as Hawaii or Florida,” she said.
“We are assuming that landlords will do right by our neighborhoods and our citizens, but [what about] when they don’t live in the community and they’re not even willing to live in the community we’re talking about?” she said. “We need a registry, but it will take more than just contact information. You need to look at what’s worked in other communities and tailor it to what Lima needs.”
Both candidates also called for additional resources for city code enforcement to deal with property issues.