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LAC members meet with Mayor Kapszukiewicz

By La Prensa Staff

TOLEDO, June 20, 2019: Latino Affairs Commission [LAC] chairman Josh Flores and commission members Monica Morales and Francisco Aguilar met with Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz June 20 in his 22nd floor office at One Government Center for a roundtable conversation covering a number of topics.

 

We’re doers. We’re action people. I felt like the commission was not performing that, where we were just meeting for the sake of meeting,” said Flores. “That’s not who any of us are.”

LAC reconfigured its bylaws a couple of years ago, hoping to expand beyond its traditional seven members. Flores stated a board ranging from five to 15 members could draw a lot of talented Latinos offering a wide range of talents and time to help with events and causes, as well as be a stronger voice for the community.

“We also talked about having a quicker turnaround when it comes to us having applicants,” said Flores. “We have some younger people and want to get some younger blood in there and try to inject that into the commission itself.”

Flores—who is a teacher at Waite HS, where about 30 percent of the student population is Latino—hopes to have some new commission members appointed and approved by Toledo City Council in early July. The mayor, in return, stated his hope that a Latino leader would step forward to serve on the city’s Police Civilian Review Board, which strives to reflect the overall makeup of the community.

“One of the things we expressed to him was that we wanted to be a voice for him in the community, as well as eyes for him and ears for him in the community,” said Flores. “If there are issues in the community—he can’t be everywhere. As every mayor does, he has limited staff. We want to be a facilitator that if there is an issue, we’re out there in the community attending events where we know our community is going to be. If the mayor needs to get a message out to the Latino community, we can be that conduit as well to help him.”

Flores emphasized the commission’s associations with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and other numerous groups and entities to gather and share information on the Latino communities, working together to get the mayor’s attention when an issue or situation arises.

“He’s a sharp guy and he’s well aware the Latino community is here to stay and continuing to grow in Northwest Ohio,” said Flores. “He personally told us ‘Be a squeaky wheel with me.’”

Mayor Kapszukiewicz gave the individual commission members his cell phone number and challenged them to shoot him a text if they feel he’s not getting something done or an issue needs to be addressed.

“I really respected this a lot—he told us he appreciates the person who is going to be the one to give him a kick in the butt as a reminder, rather than the person who is complacent and does nothing,” said Flores. “I really respected that view and the way he brought that to us.”

The mayor told commission members he hopes to extend safer and brighter LED lighting to more neighborhoods, a cause originally championed with city leaders by the FLOC Homies Union, based on Broadway Avenue.

“I was like, wow, that’s something that started in a predominantly Latino neighborhood and now it’s going to be extended throughout the entire city,” Flores said. “That’s a goal.”

Flores emphasized commission members want to “keep a positive rapport” with the mayor and his staff “because at the end of the day we’re here to serve our community and we’re all passionate about it.”

“We just want to continue to see that positive growth in the community and help in a positive way,” he said. “Negativity only gets you so far and we all want to take that high road.”

Flores described the gathering as an “introductory” meeting. Commission members had been trying to get an audience with the mayor for some time. Flores credited Toledo City Council member Gary Johnson for setting up the face-to-face get-together with the mayor and a couple of his top brass. He stated everyone left the meeting “feeling very positive, very optimistic.”

“We feel this administration knows who we are, knows we’re around and knows that we’re willing to work and to serve the community,” said Flores. “That’s a win-win. The mayor loves the city just like we all do and we all want to see an upward trajectory and positive things coming out. We want to be part of the solution.”

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/25/19 14:29:06 -0700.

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