Source: The Lima NewsCandidate interviews with Lima 5th Ward candidates Teresa Adams and Jamie Dixon.
LIMA — Many political candidate debates typically feature candidates with divergent or even diametrically opposite viewpoints. Voters in Lima’s 5th Ward may find that is not exactly the case when it comes to their City Council representative.
Two-term incumbent Teresa Adams, a retiree, is being challenged by Jamie Dixon, who works at Lima Towers as a services coordinator. During a forum held Monday at The Lima News, both candidates outlined their cases for why they should represent the 5th Ward, which encompasses roughly the southeast quadrant of the city’s core. To a large extent, on issues from law enforcement to neighborhood development, and the proposed landlord registry to the administration of Community Development Block Grant funds, both Adams and Dixon held similar, if not identical viewpoints.
The main point of contention came when discussing Adams’ track record on responding to residents’ concerns. When asked if he believed the 5th Ward was represented adequately, Dixon replied, “Yes and no.”
“Yes, because we see eye to eye on some of the same subjects and we see the same issues when talking to the constituents,” he said. “No, 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.’ I feel like Ms. Adams picks and chooses who she wants to work with.”
Adams immediately took exception with that assertion.
“That is an absolute lie,” she said. “I return the calls I get. 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.”
When it comes to police, both candidates want to see increases in the department’s staffing levels, with Dixon saying there are just not enough officers to adequately police the city throughout the day.
“When you have a third shift that may have five officers working, something’s wrong,” he said. “Just last week, I was getting in the shower around the 9 o’clock hour when I heard 15 shots ring out,” he said. “I got fully dressed and went outside. That was at 9:04, and it was 9:20 or 9:30 before we saw lights. If you want to clean it up, we need to have proper policing in our neighborhoods.”
“I would like to see more [community-oriented police] officers out there for response and to be out there,” Adams said. “I don’t want a police state, but we need more. Already 70 percent of the budget is going to safety services, which is fire and police. I’m glad we’ve passed legislation to hire and they’ve increased their staffing, but part of that’s in anticipation of retirements.”
Both Adams and Dixon said they could see a benefit to a landlord registry to deal with out-of-town landlords.
“The city of Lima did not invent this,” Adams said. “Other cities are doing this and I don’t think they struggle with housing like we do. I’ve dealt with owners in California, Illinois, Minnesota and Georgia.”
“When you look at Evansville, Muncie and Indianapolis, you see something that is tailored to their community,” Dixon said. “For the landlord registry for this area, I think it needs to be tailored to our situation.”