HUDSON, Ohio — Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert is no stranger to controversy. And comments made at Tuesday night's city council meeting have once again landed him in the headlines.
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During a discussion regarding ice fishing safety, Shubert expressed concern regarding the practice. In particular, he stated his belief that ice fishing could create a slippery slope that ultimately leads to prostitution.
"If you open this up to ice fishing, which while on the surface, it sounds good, then what happens next year? Does somebody come back and say, 'I want an ice shanty in Hudson Springs Park for X amount of time?'" Shubert stated. "And if you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem: prostitution. And now you have the police chief of the police department involved. Just some data points to consider."
Shubert's comment -- which has since gone viral on social media -- initially elicited confusion in the room before councilmember Chris Banweg broke the silence by stating: "that's why I'm not in favor of shanties," which drew laughter.
Michael Whitacre has been ice fishing in the same spot in Hudson since he was a kid, and was surprised to a see a sign banning the activity that recently went up. He wrote to City Council, and finds himself just as baffled by the mayor's comments as anybody.
"We go out there to get away from women," he laughed. "There is no reason that it should be this fun to catch 4-inch blue gill through an 8-inch little hole."
Over the course of the past year, Shubert has made headlines for his criticism of the city's school board due to controversial writing prompts -- including prompts that focused on sex and drinking -- in a book that was assigned in Hudson’s Senior College Credit Plus Writing class. Shubert, who likened the prompts to "child pornography," called for all five of the city's school board members to resign over the incident.
Despite a Summit County Prosecutor's Office investigation into the matter referring to Shubert's call for board members to resign as "reckless," the mayor proceeded to double down on his criticism.
"The prosecutor’s office has spent tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds gunning for me, to intimidate me and the Hudson parents who spoke at the September 13 school board meeting, but has ignored the real crime of who is responsible for ‘pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor," Shubert said in a statement to The Akron Beacon Journal.
Ward 1 Councilwoman Kate Schlademan noted Shubert's history of odd statements in a conversation with 3News, adding that several school board members received death threats in the wake of the prior incident. But while she could hardly contain her own laughter when thinking about the latest brush-up, she also made sure to distance herself and the rest of Hudson from the mayor's actions.
"That comment does not represent our wonderful community," she said."
Shubert has yet to comment publicly since the meeting.