Take Back Toledo kicks off petition campaignWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
About 140 people attended the Take Back Toledo kickoff rally Jan. 12 at the Erie Street Market Chowder House restaurant to circulate a petition to recall Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
The political action committee aims to oust the mayor, according to Tom Schlachter, Take Back Toledo spokesman. The group hopes to collect 19,937 signatures to place the issue on the September ballot during the mayoral primary election. Signatures must be filed with the Lucas County Board of Elections within 90 days to qualify for a referendum.
Schlachter addressed the audience, telling them to ignore the name-calling he’s heard from opponents and nonsupporters of the effort to recall Finkbeiner two months before he faces re-election in November. He emphasized the right of the people to take action to remove from office public officials deemed unworthy of public service.
Organizers estimated 200 to 250 people attended the rally.
“You’re here because you’re a vigilante; you’re here because you’re a rabble-rouser,” Schlachter said, mockingly. “Those are all the stupidest damn reasons I’ve ever heard. You’re here because you’re tired; your’e tired of what the city has become.”
He also acknowledged the ongoing efforts of Take Back Toledo’s sister entity, On Our Watch Toledo, which aims to influence city government regarding all aspects of municipal administration. Once the recall issue makes the ballot, he said, the group hopes to have a say in the process of establishing policies affecting Toledo business.
“That’s really where we’re headed,” Schlachter added. “We want a political action committee in this town that is a factor when it comes to picking candidates; it’s a factor when candidates or elected officials are making their decisions.”
Public figures, including former Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President Jim Hartung, attended the meeting, which was co-hosted by WSPD radio personalities Fred LeFebvre and Brian Wilson.
LeFebvre addressed the audience, reiterating the group’s claims of mismanagement under failed city administration. He cited decisions finalized in the mayor’s office at One Government Center that, he said, hurt the local economy, including investing in the Erie Street Market as a revenue-generating enterprise.
“I don’t know if you noticed this on your way in, but all the doors are locked and chained on the other side of the building, which is why you had to come in here,” LeFebvre said. “The normal procedure is to lock people out; that’s why the Erie Street Market is successful.”
After the meeting, which educated people volunteering to circulate petitions, Toledo residents expressed their views about the effort to recall the mayor. Three Toledoans spoke out against the mayor, citing various reasons for their desire to support the recall effort.
“The man walked right into my yard, lied to my face [and] told me he would behave this time,” said a man named Ron, who lives in the city. “And when a public official lies, we need to send a message; we need to send a clear message,”
Another resident, who identified himself as Joe, explained his grievances with the City of Toledo as a matter of poor monetary planning. He said the amount of money spent on city unproductive projects is “just ridiculous.”
“I bought a house in Toledo about two years ago and moved here from Perrysburg and I’ve had issues with all of the public services, the trash pickup, the plowing of the streets. It was an absolute waste of dollars that he’s spending,” he added.
Toledoan Mike Urbanski agreed, emphasizing the right and obligation of citizens to act against public officials who fail to adequately serve their constituents and handle taxpayer money with competence.
“I am fed up with the ever-expansive government and the exorbitant cost that it costs nowadays,” Urbanski said. “The government really doesn’t offer value for the money that we give. I’m just fed up with it and we are exercising our rights to change things.
Additional Take Back Toledo rallies will be held on Jan. 14 at Dave’s Home Cooked Foods and on Jan. 15 at Arnie’s Again Bar and Grille.