LIMA — Lima’s city government faces the prospect of radical change after Tuesday’s election, with not only the mayor’s seat up for election, but also four out of the eight Lima City Council seats up for grabs.
In the 3rd Ward, challenger Carla Thompson held a media conference Friday to voice her concerns over how the ward has been represented by incumbent Jesse Lowe II. While Lowe has been pointing out faults of city administration on social media, she said, while also blocking attempts at creating a landlord registry while representing a ward in which over 65 percent of housing is rentals, police calls have gone up 42 percent in the ward since Lowe took office.
“We currently have the highest number of service calls coming from our area,” she said, “with 13,702, or 30 percent of police service calls, coming from the 3rd Ward in 2016 alone.”
Thompson called for the reinitiation of neighborhood associations in the ward as well as block watch groups, while also doing more to help provide outlets for pre-teens and teenagers.
Lowe responded to Thompson’s comments by saying that the landlord issue cannot be repaired by a quick fix, all-covering proposal such as the one proposed by administration. Lowe pointed to the fact that the 3rd Ward has the most liquor establishments out of any ward in the city, which can prompt increased police calls.
“My calls would go up,” he said. “That’s just common sense.”
1st Ward: Todd Gordon vs. Ray Magnus
Voters in the 1st Ward have the distinction of choosing between two candidates who both have Lima City Council experience, with incumbent Todd Gordon completing his first term and Magnus having served one term ending in 2009.
Gordon cited his priorities as addressing opioids and working on addressing neighborhood maintenance, such as curbs, streets and sidewalks.
“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,” he said.
For Magnus, his priorities include holding administration accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars, as well as addressing crime and reallocating Community Development Block Grant funds.
“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.”
5th Ward: Teresa Adams vs. Jamie Dixon
Both incumbent Adams and challenger Dixon shared similar views on priorities, speaking of the need for neighborhood development and an increase in the Lima Police Department’s staffing levels.
During a forum at The Lima News, the main point of contention between the two came when discussing how well Adams has done with communicating with constituents.
“I feel like it’s being unrepresented because as I’ve been doing my campaign and walking through the ward, I’ve heard a lot of people who’ve said, ‘I’ve put a phone call into Ms. Adams and she has not returned my calls,’” Dixon said. “I feel like Ms. Adams picks and chooses who she wants to work with.”
Adams refuted that statement, calling it an “absolute lie.” Returning calls from constituents and addressing their needs has always been her top priority, she said.
“I return the calls I get,” she said. “I’ve returned every one. I will show up at your house, and I’ve had people who were shocked that I’d come to their home because they’ve never had that done before.”
7th Ward: Ann Miles vs. Jon Neeper
Neeper said he is different from Miles, the current council member, in that he does not have any problem opposing city administration when he feels it is warranted, something he said Miles does not do.
“I have a hard time believing that your votes are not swayed one way or another,” he told Miles during a forum at The Lima News. “In the last four years, 100 percent of your track record has voted with the administration. That’s dismal, at best.”
Miles defended her track record, saying that there may be times when she disagrees with administration, but she expresses those in private in order to try to reach solutions.
“But I am not the type of person who will, in council chambers, try to affront or degrade him or anyone else,” she said. “That’s not my style.”
Both Miles and Neeper cited aging housing as a key issue. Miles also expressed concern over black-on-black crime and the opioid epidemic. Neeper wants to see an increase in police hiring as well as making the city more friendly to small business.