Robert James Worthington
Worth Your Vote
Toledo City Council
Worth Your Vote
Toledo City Council
November 3 - Toledo City Council At-Large (Unexpired Term) - November 3
Robert James Worthington - independent Democrat
Ohio State Representative Candidate: 2018
Municipal Candidacy: Non-Partisan; Primary Election Registration: Democrat
M.L.W., Master in Studies of Law, Summa cum laude, University of Toledo, 2019
B.A., Law & Social Thought, Magna cum laude, University of Toledo, 2015
Alumnus: Toledo Early College High School, 2012
(See also: Education of RJW)
Author, Artist, Advocate, Activist, Volunteer
2021 (See: Books and Small Businesses)
President (and Interim President), Burroughs Neighborhood Organization, 2019, 2020
Member of Our Revolution of Northwest Ohio
Jefferson Award for Youth Service
(See also:Experience of RJW)
I've said it since the first time I ran, in 2015: What I want to be known for is Presence, Efficiency, and Leadership.
- I will be out in the community.
- I will talk to, and listen to, everyone, and make informed decisions.
- I will demonstrate my one-of-a-kind work ethic, sense of urgency, and tenacity.
- I will bring balance and efficiency to our government.
- I will lead. I will lead. I will lead.
- I will say what needs to be said.
- I will fight for justice.
- I will help inform all who will listen.
- I will engage with and lead our youth into bright futures.
- I will set an example of the type of representative Toledo deserves.
Neighborhoods have been neglected, and no matter how much business and construction we have, if we don't have neighborhoods, we don't have a city. I have watched the two neighborhoods in which I have lived go down hill, and I have been working to reverse that trend. I want every neighborhood to be safe, beautiful, and livable, and this doesn't have to mean taking from one to give to another - it just means giving the most fitting attention to all.
- Focus on Neighborhoods, housing, blight, and beautification
- Listen to the needs of each Neighborhood
- Engage and participate with neighborhood residents
- Regularly meet with neighborhood and block watch groups
- Host events in the communities to bring neighbors out and together
- Encourage contributing business in neighborhoods
- Foster relationships between neighborhoods and TPD
Balance on Council
It is likely that the Lucas County Democratic Party will hold every seat on Council after the 2021 elections. Even as a registered Democrat, myself, I recognize this as a problem. Toledo City Council should not have all of its orders coming from one place, or even the perception thereof, especially if that one place is a political party. As an independent Democrat, I will ensure balance on Council, and although there are Councilmembers now who sometimes do, I will make sure that there is at least one Councilmember who puts People over Party every time.
I will also make sure that all Districts see attention, so that we may have all six "good" districts instead of just some "good" areas.
- Run and serve as a non-partisan, independent
- (Registered as a Democrat through Primary Election voting)
- Never take orders from the Democratic Party, only suggestions
- Work to improve the condition of ALL Districts in the City
- Hear all views, make informed decisions, vote my conscience
- Push to depoliticize Council and open committees to any willing Councilmember
Safety and Recreation
Homicides, theft, and nothing for anyone to do. That needs to change. I will be pushing for the funding of park programs, and the hosting of other community events such as impromptu sports games, so people, especially young people, always have something to do, which will help deter things like committing a crime or sitting inside being lazy and unhealthy, which there is too much opportunity for in these boring times.
- Make sure recreation programs are funded
- Increase the use of Shot Spotter
- Encourage more community-police relationships
- Encourage more community policing, not just a quick drive through
- Shift more responsibility off of TPD and onto Code Enforcement
- Police for patrolling, deterring, and for serious crimes
- Code enforcement for minor, low-priority, or aesthetic violations
- Encourage TPD and Code Enforcement to communicate more
Specific Taxes + Specific Spending = An Actual Budget
I listened to Toledo Voters. I saw them handily defeat a tax increase proposed by Paula Hicks-Hudson. They were uncomfortable giving Toledo more money when they know how much it gets shifted around and doesn't go where it's meant to go. This year, the Mayor made an effort to make some of the proposed tax increase revenue locked in, but I would go further. I have endorsed Issue 1, and I hope it passes, but whether it passes or not, we should be locking in more of our revenue to go to specific funds.
- Push for each department to provide a study on what needs what
- Refuse to accept when the City says - "There's no way to know costs"
- Set reasonable funding rates for specific funds, and lock them in
- Seek and implement more efficiency in city services
- Demand efficiency within construction contracts for bid
- Oppose shifting money from the Capital Improvements Fund
- Stick to a budget, just like every Toledo citizen has to do every day
Efficiency of City Services and Construction
There just has to be a faster way to do things. I understand breaks, I understand hard work, I even understand workers' rights and unions. What I don't understand is a year or two to fix two miles of road, and construction everywhere, all the time. What I don't understand is months or years of construction, with no visible progress or upgrades. What I don't understand is useless construction in some places when there is needed construction to be done elsewhere.
- Audit city contracts and bids
- Demand more efficiency for awarding contracts
- More consideration for residents during construction and detours
- Keep the public in the loop with timelines and progress
- Base major construction more on priority of need
- Ensure City Services are reaching all parts of the City
Accountability and Transparency of City Council and City Government
There are things happening with Councilmembers and within our government that are often swept under the rug. The people we elect to represent our city must be held to higher standards. Taxpayers shouldn't fund a free ride to the good life by way of a Councilmember's salary. We must not stand for corruption, abuse of power, disrespect of citizens, or constant mockeries of the office to which our officials are elected.
- Enforce a Councilmember Code of Conduct
- Provide a system to log Councilmember work and post it for the public
- Post votes of Council for the public
- Provide a system for Coucilmembers to provide reasoning for votes to the public
- Increase availability for whistle blowing and/or complaints against elected officials under the City
The Climate Crisis, Lake Erie, Energy, and the Environment
The water crisis of 2014 is still fresh in my mind. It was a failure of our elected officials to act. I will not fail to act. Not only is the water crisis on my mind, but the weight of the larger climate crisis is weighing heavily upon me. We must elect people who understand that without a planet, nothing else matters. We mustn't be afraid to be bold, be drastic, and make the hard decisions that will save this planet not only for those of us living on it now, but for the generations to come; not just for Toledo, or America, but for the future of humankind.
- Work to make Toledoans more energy conscious
- Work to educate citizens about environmental concerns
- Make Toledo a hub for creating, developing, and manufacturing renewable energy and products
- Save Lake Erie from special interest groups who just don't get it
- Work to offset the loses caused by the need to adapt to a Greener future
- Work to provide or encourage the creation of good-paying Green jobs
I've studied economics, I've paid attention, I understand the concepts. I appreciate small business as an up-and-coming author and artist. I have worked small business, big business, union, data entry, government, professional, and independently. I do know that changes could be made for the better, especially increasing wages. I'm willing to take good advice, and I know there are people lining up to give elected officials their advice. I'll be the first to admit I'm not the world's greatest expert on the economy, nor do I want to be, but I am not an idiot. Luckily, we also have a Mayor in office who is a numbers guy, and who is doing very well with our budget, our economy, and business development. Here is what I would like to do for our local economy:
- Propose wage increases for all workers
- Educate on the importance of wage increases for all
- Encourage a livable minimum wage for those at minimum wage
- Increase disposable income to be spent locally
- Legislate the City to host an interactive map of all businesses, by sector, by location
- Encourage supporting local businesses
- Educate others about local economy
- Promote investment in Greener jobs as Toledo is perfectly positioned for them
- Offer opportunities which keep our young graduates in the city
- Make Toledo a better place to work, shop, and own a business
The Bigger Picture
You may have noticed how each issue above directly relates to another issue on the list in one way or another. That is the bigger picture. Everything is connected. We must stop thinking about issues one at a time, and consider massive, broad changes that will bring massive, broad improvements. The Mayor's regional partnerships, private partnerships, and tax proposal do this. The tax recognizes that we have a lot of problems, and gives us a chance to invest to solve them. While not perfect, and whether it passes or not, it's the thinking we need. This is also the thinking that Bernie Sanders is running on at the national level, for President, and whether he wins or loses, he has started a movement. We can do more in Toledo to see the bigger picture.
- Educate residents about the bigger picture
- Explain how each issue is connected to others
- Work to explain the bigger picture to Toledo's surrounding areas
- Connecting residents who think they disagree but agree within the bigger picture
The Plan So Far:
Step 1 - Getting on the Ballot and Getting Elected by:
- Talking to my neighbors
- Hosting "town halls"
- Phone calls (to a minimum, I know they annoy people)
- Direct mail contact
- Social Media Outreach
- See also: Contact RJW Directly
Step 2 - Solving the Issues by:
- Serving on ALL possible Committees
- Using tenacity and actual work ethic
- Researching, and asking experts as needed
- Pushing for a running assessment of all city services, lands, infrastructure, and facilities
- Connecting with neighbors, laborers, private partners, and organizations
- Connecting at-risk youth and neighbors in despair with resources, police officers, and officials
- Building actual relationships
- Fostering a government we can trust, and leading by example
Step 3 - Utilizing Resources as they become available, to actually be able to do something once in office:
- Working with Departments and Divisions of City Government to promote efficiency
- Working with accessible data to plan for better budgeting and management
- Working with fellow Councilmembers and the Mayor to make sure we work for the city as a whole
- Working with neighbors to make sure Councilmembers are actually working for us
- Writing and proposing legislation to tackle municipal issues
- Writing and proposing legislation to make sure our city is represented in the bigger State and Federal picture
The Job of Being on Council:
Many people do not know much about the position of City Councilmember.
Each member is considered a part-time employee, paid $27,500.00 per year, with benefits.
The President of Council, usually a Councilmember, is paid an additional $3,500.00 per year.
They are elected for four year terms.
All Councilmembers are supposed to be Non-Partisan, by law, but we know that is not the case.
The President of Council is selected each year after a regular election for Council.
There are 6 District Councilmembers who serve and advocate for one of the 6 districts; elected 2015, 2019, 2023, etc.
There are 6 At-Large Councilmembers who serve the whole city; elected 2013, 2017, 2021, etc.
If there is a vacancy, Council appoints a member to serve, who may have to run for election to hold the seat for the rest of the term, as in this race.
They are elected to legislate, and may not interfere with the Administration; they may only work through committees, legislation, and the Mayor.
They are required by Rules of Council to serve on a minimum of only 4 committees, appointed by the President of Council and approved by Council.
Committees meet regularly only once per month.
They are to vote on a budget which the Mayor and his Administration prepares and proposes, and they may vote on expenditures proposed.
They all serve on the Zoning & Planning Committee, which determines the appropriateness and locations of businesses, housing, etc.
They may consider and vote upon Resolutions stating the position of Council on a certain issue.
They may consider and vote upon Ordinances which create the laws of the Toledo Municipal Code.
They may propose a Charter Amendment or Tax Levy to be voted upon by citizens in an election.
They may do committee work in each committee, including running investigations, hearing testimonies, and conducting research, to propose to Council.
The only eligibility requirements are: 18 years old, voter, and have lived within their district (or the city for at-large) for at least 1 year prior to the election.
Naturally, to represent people, you need to be in contact and listen to them, individually, or at meetings or events.
Some members routinely show up in the community. Some are hit or miss. Some barely show up at all.
Some only show up around election time.
Many Councilmembers say they work 60 hours per week for their Council position.
However, many Councilmembers have carried on their own professional occupations while serving on council:
- union worker/official
- real estate agent
- business owner
Imbalances of Council Politics:
As I have stated above, there are imbalances on Council that are hurting this city.
Councilmembers and the Mayor are from:
District 1: 1 - Tyrone Riley
District 2: 4 - Matt Cherry, Larry Sykes, Cecilia Adams, Rob Ludeman (U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, as well)
District 3: 1 - Theresa Gadus
District 4: 2 - Yvonne Harper, Nick Komives
District 5: 4 - Sam Melden, Gary Johnson, Katie Moline, Wade Kapszukiewicz
District 6: 1 - Chris Delaney
*According to ballot and voter registration addresses
Note that just 2 of the 6 districts have a majority on Council, and the Mayor's office.
If I am elected, as a District 3 resident, this would remove the majority from those 2 districts and balance Council.
Endorsed* Lucas County DEMOCRATIC Party Councilmembers and the Mayor:
12 incuding: Tyrone Riley, Matt Cherry, Theresa Gadus, Yvonne Harper, Sam Melden, Chris Delaney, Larry Sykes, Cecilia Adams, Gary Johnson, Nick Komives, Katie Moline, Wade Kapszukiewicz
Endorsed Lucas County REPUBLICAN Party Councilmembers:
1 including: Rob Ludeman
Independent, NON-PARTISAN Councilmembers:
NOTE: Rob Ludeman is term limited, so the 2021 Toledo City Council At-Large election could result in the Lucas County Democratic Party holding all 12 Council seats.
*Wade Kapszukiewicz was not endorsed for Mayor, but was endorsed previously for Treasurer.
*Tyrone Riley was not endorsed in 2019 because there were multiple Party faithfuls running in District 1.
*Katie Moline was endorsed in 2019 to be appointed to fill Tom Waniewski's seat for District 5 which he did not vacate as planned, then she was appointed to Council in January 2020.
It is also nice to have diverse identities on Council, but I think we're doing fairly well with that already.
Toledo Female Population 51.8%**
We have at least* 4 female Councilmembers, 33% of Council
We have also consistently elected women in recent elections, 3 of which were able to resign to higher-paid positions in the past 3 years: Theresa Gabriel, Lindsay Webb, Sandy Spang
Last year in 2019 I proudly endorsed a woman, Theresa Gadus, to be my own Councilmember for District 3, in a race that was decided by just some 20 votes.
White Population 62.8%**
African-American Population 27%**
Hispanic/Latino Population 8.6%**
Two or More Races 5.6%**
We have at least* 7 White Councilmembers, 58.3% of Council
We have at least* 4 African-American Councilmembers, 33.3% of Council
We have at least* 1 Latino Councilmember, 8.3% of Council
While I never run based on race, I consider myself two races: Half white (father's side), half Mexican (Latino/Hispanic, mother's side). If anyone has a problem with that, too bad.
*In an era of and increasing number of sexual/gender and racial/ethnic identities, note that these numbers are based on face value and what has already been disclosed, and if any Councilmember offers a correction, I will be happy to update.
**Numbers from U.S. Census Bureau data.
Robert Worthington for Toledo
Candidate: Robert James Worthington
Co-Campaign Manager: Robert Worthington
Co-Campaign Manager: Sarah Worthington
Treasurer: Robert Worthington
Campaign Finance - My Pledge of Transparency:
Balance on Hand as of 02/21/2020: $109.70
CONTRIBUTIONS as of 02/21/2020:
Carryover - Annual Report 01/31/2020: $123.70
EXPENDITURES as of 02/21/2020:
Service Charge - 5/3 Bank - 02/12/2020: $14.00
In-Kind Contributions or Loans: