Colbert, Rucker, Valesky should win nominations

Warren’s 7th Ward Councilman Eddie Colbert exhibited more passion about the city than any of the other four candidates seeking our endorsement in the race for the Democratic nomination for three Warren at-large council seats.

Colbert’s enthusiastic approach to marketing the city, growing revenue and his ideas on consolidation made him an easy pick for our endorsement.

The other picks did not come as easily.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination are longtime at-large incumbents Daniel Sferra, James Valesky and Helen Rucker, along with political newcomer Christina Anderson. So far, there are no other challengers for the Nov. 3 general election.

Colbert was clear that the financially struggling city cannot continue to balance its budget through cuts. Rather, he understands the value of marketing the city to new business and consolidating services where possible.

Colbert described the proposed merger of the Warren 911 dispatch center with the Trumbull County center, for example, as just a microcosm of what needs to be done. The macrocosm, he said, is restructuring city operations on a larger scale.

We liked Colbert’s attitude, along with his enthusiasm for finding ways to market the city to potential developers. Colbert has represented his ward well, and admits he may have higher political aspirations in the future. For now, we are satisfied he will focus on good representation of constituents citywide.

Among the incumbents, Valesky and Rucker also garner our endorsement.

Rucker was clear that the number of city workers needs to be “right-sized” to the population and budget. She also believes the Warren-Trumbull County 911 merger can work, calling it a “win-win,” but first there are lots of questions to be answered.

The longtime councilwoman also is a clear proponent of converting Warren to a charter form of government.

Valesky helped found the Historic Perkins Neighborhood Association and now is very involved in the renovation of Warren’s Kinsman House.

We agreed with Valesky’s comment that the Warren-Trumbull 911 merger talks should have been in the works a long time ago, but before voting for it, he wants a guarantee that the Trumbull 911 level of service is as good or better than Warren.

We also liked his suggestion that the city ultimately should try to lure the entire Trumbull County 911 dispatch center back to Warren.

Sferra’s love for his city is apparent. The longtime councilman, who has held political office in various capacities almost non-stop since 1972, brings unequaled experience and knowledge. Still, he seems to have fallen into the trap of discussing how things were, but showing few ideas for growth and expansion.

We applaud Anderson for stepping up to the plate in an attempt to seek citywide office. Just the idea would be overwhelming to most women at age 29. Still, she has tackled the idea head-on and brought important priorities and solid education to the table. We believe, however, she lacked details of how should would develop her ideas.

Anderson previously worked for Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership in Warren and served as a member of Warren 6th Ward Advisory Council and Warren Resident Advisory Committee.

We hope she will maintain her involvement in the community, and we would encourage her political aspirations again in the future.