Both mayor choices bring questions

Incumbents seeking re-election to office often have an edge at the polls.

Some might question whether that’s the case, though, in the race for Warren mayor. Democratic incumbent Doug Franklin is seeking to win his third term in office, but faces a challenge by former Trumbull County Republican party chairman Randy Law, running as an independent candidate.

Franklin, who served as Warren’s Safety-Service Director for two terms years before being elected mayor in 2012, tells us he was well groomed for his role as the top city administrator.

During a recent interview with the Tribune Chronicle editorial board, Franklin said during his tenure, he is most proud of his role in keeping the city’s finances on track. That included successful passage of a 0.5- percent income tax on the first attempt.

Because of that tax, he says he has been able to keep safety forces at full strength.

He points to economic growth in the form of new small businesses.

Law is not so optimistic about the city’s outlook under the current administration, and points to issues like blight, job loss and crime.

He believes he can better market the city by focusing on basics like location, low cost of living and low utility rates.

He admits it’s not reinventing the wheel, so we wonder why he believes he will be more successful than the current administration in terms of economic development.

In terms of city operations and blight, Franklin rightfully has faced criticism about things like snow removal, blight — especially in the crumbling former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital on Warren’s northwest side — and the ongoing closure of Dana Street NW, blockaded more than a year ago at the request of a businessman who convinced city leaders he will bring jobs and economic growth to the city. So far, we’ve seen little.

Also under Franklin’s watch, some city workers have received slaps on the wrist as discipline for actions that would have led to quick firings in most private businesses.

Law, too, has faced his own problems through the years. He was embattled as Republican party chairman, losing that seat in 2017 after childish infighting that eventually required the Ohio Republican state central committee in Columbus to step in.

Under Law’s watch, the party struggled with squabbling and legal battles that we have previously described in this space as “embarrassing.” That is concerning to us because at the time the party faltered under a lack of leadership from the man that now wants to lead our city.

Law served one term as state representative in 2005 and 2006. He lost in a 2003 run for Warren mayor and a few times for state representative.

As we see it, neither candidate’s history instills confidence that he will lead the city in a direction that promotes guided control and sorely needed growth and development. Frankly, we are frustrated that no better candidates have stepped into this race.

It pains us to neglect what we view as our duty to offer our readers guidance in such an important race, but at the end of the day, we simply are at a loss on which candidate to support.

For that reason, we will simply leave it at this.

If you are satisfied with operations, growth and development in the city over the past eight years, then vote to retain Doug Franklin as mayor.

If you are dissatisfied and you believe that a change is needed, then Law should be your choice.

As we see it, the candidates offer equal measures of hope for our city.