Czech Her Out – Stefania Czech Envisions A Greener Toledo

Stefania Czech is bringing newfound energy to the Green Party and the City of Toledo; as she takes on President Matt Cherry for his city council seat in District 2. Czech has plenty of enthusiasm for representing the residents of Toledo and is campaigning on a platform to rejuvenate her community and protect Lake Erie. Her vision of a cleaner and greener future for Toledo resounds powerfully as we catch up with her for a question and answer session.

CCC: What made you decide to run for city council?

SC: For starters, I felt it was my duty as a mother, a Toledo citizen, and as a human.

Not enough action is being taken at the local level to protect the environment and Lake Erie, including Toledo’s drinking water, which is drawn straight from the lake.

In 2014, Toledo residents were told not to drink from the tap or use it to cook or bathe for three days due to high levels of toxic mycrosystin found in the water supply from algae blooms near the water intake.

Nothing has been done to prevent these yearly algae blooms except adding more chemicals during the water treatment process.

This is not a permanent fix and is costing taxpayers financially and health-wise. This was a hardship for myself as a single mother with a young baby in the home.

My family had to drive into Michigan just to find a case of water that was not priced over $40 or to even find one on the shelf. It was a nightmare.

My biggest fear is Toledo, Ohio turning into another Flint, Michigan. I want to help prevent and fight to protect our drinking water and Lake Erie.

In 2016, I became involved in a local Toledo grassroots organization, Toledoans for Safe Water, who worked to establish a “Bill Of Rights for Lake Erie,” called The Lake Erie Bill of Rights or LEBOR.

This group was working on a bill that would grant Lake Erie the same rights as corporations, personhood, to be represented by the people of Toledo, and with the right to thrive and evolve naturally, and any harm caused the people would be able to hold polluters accountable.

I helped petition to get this bill on the ballot, and attended press conferences, and spoke openly of the need for rights of nature legislation for Lake Erie.

After much hardship, our group was able to get the LEBOR on the ballot and during our campaign, the current city council person of my district, Matt Cherry, and who is also the Toledo City Council President came out publicly against the LEBOR in a letter to the editor in Toledo’s paper, The Blade.

I was floored, I was frustrated, I was disappointed, as a parent and human who drinks from the tap, I felt I was not being protected from harm by my elected representative nor the other 10,000 people who signed the LEBOR petition or countless others who were harmed in 2014 water crisis.

I responded to councilman Cherry’s letter with my own letter to the editor in support of LEBOR, and started that enacting rights of nature laws is a major way we can act on climate protection on a local level, because the federal government will not protect us.

We have to be our own superheroes, no more waiting for the government to save us. We are on our own, and I decided to step up. “If not me, then who?” I asked myself.

This decision was cemented for me in March 2019, during the Democracy Day hearing with Toledo City Council. Members of Toledoans for Safe Water attended and called out BP’s involvement with a smear campaign against the LEBOR and Matt Cherry’s voiced opposition and the lack of support from city council with this citizens’ initiative.

That is when Matt Cherry walked out of the meeting without hearing from his constituents, including myself. I spoke and made it clear that it was unacceptable for council members to leave Democracy Day meetings when being held accountable.

That was that defining moment I made the decision to run. It is my duty to hold my elected officials accountable, offer a better solution, and protect my children and my city’s drinking water. It is time for green solutions in Toledo. I am stepping up to be the hero I had been waiting on.

CCC: What are the three greatest challenges facing the city of Toledo right now?

SC: Water quality is a huge one. As of right now, not much is being done to protect our drinking water other than adding more chemicals like alum and chorine.

Many are sensitive or even allergic to chlorine and cannot even drink from the tap any longer.

While campaigning and knocking doors, mother after mother, especially black women with children are not drinking from the tap or even cooking with tap water.

People are waking up to the fact that the government is working to protect corporations and not the people. Toledoans are rightfully worried our city will be the next Flint. Not on my watch!

Racism in our city police force is also a huge issue. It has been investigated that white supremacy groups have infiltrated the Toledo police force over a decade ago.

Now that we no longer have community-based policing. it is even easier for some police officers to be disconnected from the people they serve.

When a Toledo citizen calls the police, you have no idea who will come or when they will arrive. There have even been reports from my neighbors of the police not even showing up.

Crime is also a huge issue as well, especially in inner city areas which I have been campaigning.

At times, police escalate situations when they need to be deescalating situations. These issues need to be addressed, especially in our black communities.  

All these issues tend to run together. There is also the growing blight of abandoned and run-down homes, and absent landlords who live in another state or even other countries.

Poverty is a big issue here in Toledo. Not enough jobs that pay a living wage. Many have to work two or three minimum wage jobs just to get by.

Toledo is being left behind by the corporate state and it has taken enough from us.


CCC: What specific actions will you take to make changes for Toledo residents?

SC: The biggest action I will take is to actually listen to what Toledo citizens want from leadership in their elected official.

I have thoughts that community policing and de-escalation training may be a solution, but I also want to know what the community wants and feels is the solution to bad policing in Toledo.

More community events were the police can meet with members of the community and host public speaking events with the police I think is also a good step.

A similar event was held a few months ago hosted the Community Solidarity Response Network if Toledo run by local black activists, I feel more events like this need to happen and often.

I also want to be an active voice on City Council in support of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights and all citizen brought initiatives. I want to make sure that when environmental protections are put in place or when funds are taken away, it is done in the best interest of Toledo citizens and not industry or corporations.

I want to be a voice that LEBOR is now the law as written into the Toledo charter and will be honored.

I support and will voice restoring local wetlands and riparian buffer zones along waterways that filter and clean our water.

I also want to be a voice to protest outdated dirty or dangerous energy sources like coal and nuclear.

I recently protested HB6, which is a bailout for Davis Bessie nuclear plant and removes subsidies for Green Energy.

Toledo needs to be investing in the future and sustainable jobs with Green Energy, like wind and solar. This is another way Toledo can act locally on minimizing climate disaster while bring in good jobs and innovation.

I am also in support of a composting and recycling center that will be a solution to curbside leaves that do not often get picked up.

This compost can go to city community gardens. I also support urban and community gardens which would address the food desert issue.

Just last year, both the Aldi’s food store and Kroger’s food store closed off Glendale Ave. who population is predominantly minority and low income.

At this time the city pays Republic, which is an out-of-town company, to take our recycling. I want to see a recycling services and center here inside Toledo to bring in income and create jobs.

We could also take other cities’ recycling as a source of revenue. Better yet, we can also invest in industry here in Toledo that will manufacture goods from these recyclables.

We need to invest and train the people of Toledo for these jobs. It’s a win for everyone and for the future of Toledo.


CCC: How can voters learn more about your campaign?

SC: Feel free to contact me to ask any questions.

I would love to hear from Toledoans and Greens about what they feel is needed to improve Toledo, and what they love and want more of in Toledo.

I also have a Facebook page, twitter, Instagram, and webpage. Feel free to send me an email as well.  

Consider donating through my webpage and help me build a Green Toledo!

For more information about Stefania Czech and her campaign for a greener Toledo: