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Saffold deserves Dem nomination for 6th Ward seat

Warren Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold has spent more than a decade serving her constituents well, fighting hard for what she believes in and often taking positions with which we agree.

Saffold, 65, of Maple Street, will face challenger Erica Royster, 38, of Ferndale Avenue SW for the third time in the May 4 Democratic primary. We believe Saffold’s drive and experience should earn her the Democratic nomination to keep her seat for at least another term.

As councilwoman, Saffold consistently has taken a strong stance on crime and police issues, as a vocal proponent of police body cameras and community surveillance cameras. She said she has hosted crime summits. She is a strong believer in community policing and has called for reopening a police substation, which she said she believes would be a good use of some of the city’s incoming stimulus funds.

While we believe our elected officials should be looking deeper at focusing stimulus-fund spending on longer term capital expenditures, we do support community policing efforts in general.

Said Saffold on this topic: “We have to learn to work together. We have to trust the police, and the police need to work to forge better relations with residents.”

While we have not been a big proponent of community surveillance cameras, like Saffold we have been vocal in our call for Warren and surrounding communities to add police body cameras for transparency and accountability purposes.

Saffold said she counts her involvement in the closing of several of the city’s massage parlors as among her biggest accomplishments while in office. Saffold said she had reached out personally to Ohio’s then-Attorney General Mike DeWine to urge his involvement in shutting down the controversial businesses that had existed in Warren for many, many years. Today, Warren has just one massage parlor in operation.

Royster, meanwhile, said among her top priorities is improving communication between city officials and city residents.

While we applaud Royster’s desire to serve with openness and transparency, frankly, we do not view communication as lacking with the current 6th Ward elected official.

In fact, until the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges, we viewed Saffold as among the most active council members in hosting routine ward meetings, making herself available and communicating with constituents.

Specifically, Royster was critical of the city’s handling and communication about recent

removal of stop signs in many residential intersections.

But Saffold pointed out that the news media had covered the issue, and that she had participated personally in a virtual informational meeting with Ohio Department of Transportation officials to explain the changes. Saffold did note that she believed the city administration could have done a better job communicating about the removal, but stressed that efforts were made.

Saffold, in office since 2009, was an educator for the state, local schools and Kent State University until 2020. She has served as chairman and vice chairman of several council committees, including fair housing and public utilities.

Royster worked for years in her family’s business, South Central Tire and Auto on Main Street, was a service coordinator for Morgan Furniture and is now an independent insurance broker.

We believe Saffold has been driven and organized in representing her constituents well. During her time in office, she also has fought hard for things like blight cleanup and improved parks, and we believe she deserves to be returned to office for another term.

While challenger Erica Royster seems sincere in her desire to work for the residents of the 6th Ward, she lacks the experience and knowledge that Saffold holds. We endorse Cheryl Saffold to maintain her council seat.

The successful nominee could have a clear path to the post in November. There is no Republican challenger, and so far, no nonparty candidates have filed.

editorial@tribtoday.com

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