One of the 5 points on my platform was opposition to the “Trash Tax” as I was running for the District 2 Council seat. I believed as so many others that if Council passed it in the budget, and it was put in the budget by the Mayor, it must be legal, but I did not approve of the fee. After losing in the Primary in September of 2007, as I had spent every available waking moment outside my job campaigning, I needed time to put our home in order and enjoy the holidays.
At the beginning of January, 2008, as talk of continuing the “fee” surfaced, I decided to do some research and found information that convinced me it was not legal. I unsuccessfully tried to confirm this with some attorneys and Judges I personally knew, in fact, they did not even want to discuss it. Finally, I contacted Maggie Thurber and after she researched the issue she agreed it was not legal. Maggie then referred me to Kurt Wicklund, Attorney.
When Kurt and I first started talking, he felt the same as everyone else, it didn’t seem quite right, but it was probably legal. However, as we discussed my research and he did his own research, he came to the same conclusion as Maggie and I, it was not legal. He agreed to take the case. The plan was to wait until after the March primary so it would not conflict with the issues, but with the considerable conversation about the subject and quotes in the Blade, it was deemed prudent to file when we did.
This fee is powerful, if legal. It would never again be necessary to put a tax or levy on the ballot, all Council would need to do is raise the fee to accommodate the amount needed. Had the ¾% tax not passed, the fee could be raised to $53 per month x 91,000 households. TAH DAH! $57,876,000!!. I’d like to believe this would never happen, but believe me, it could and no legislative body should have this type of power for revenue “enhancement”. That is why I’m filing this lawsuit. This is protection for our future generations … let them look back and say “they got it right!” Hopefully, the courts will agree.
For those who want to know if I’m doing this for political gain, that is laughable. I’m a realist. Though I had a very strong desire to represent Toledoans in City Council, it did not happen and in all reality, I have sealed my fate with the White Paper I wrote and this Refuse Fee Complaint and my views on the exorbitant, unsustainable, ridiculous wage and benefit packages with are paying the city employees. Who would vote for me… certainly not policeman, fireman, city employees, their families, or their friends! Who would support me, not the Democratic Party bosses nor businesses for fear of retribution. It is because I let go of running for office that I was able to file, because I knew there would be nothing to gain politically. I faced the fact that the residents of Toledo do not vote issues; they wouldn’t even recognize my name on the ballot and associate it with the lawsuit.
Because it needs to be done! I waited all these months for someone who knows the laws, knows the courts, and has connections to do something, and no one else did. There it is and I’m taking the time to say this because I believe Toledoans have a right to know why … after all, this is going to be a class action suit. If I’m including everyone, then the least I can do is offer an explanation.