Toledo Pride?Written by Tom Morrissey | | email@example.com
Passing them nearly everyday whether coming home from church or school, the signs greet drivers and passengers with the proclamation: WELCOME TO TOLEDO, A CITY WITH PRIDE.
The giant red letters rest above I-75. TOLEDO PRIDE
But I’m not too sure that “pride” is the right word to describe the atmosphere of failure radiating from One Government Center in Downtown Toledo, and the presence of signs does not change reality.
Pride is what I have in seeing the fruits of my labor. Pride was when I and my brothers were paid for mowing lawns every summer. Pride was clear when I drove my first car home. Pride was bringing my California bride back home to Toledo. Pride was when I and my wife finished closing on our new home. Pride is the wonderful emotion that comes after hard work and success. And I am still proud that as a full-time student at UT and as a full-time employee bringing in very little, I own my first home. My pride will be extremely apparent when I graduate with a law degree. The pride I have in what I have been able to accomplish has not faded and will never fade.
During the Great Depression, pride was exhibited by a few who refused federal government handouts to propel them through the bleak economic time. For many more, pride had to be swallowed to accept the help they needed. National unemployment for most of the Great Depression was more than double February 2009’s national unemployment rate of 8.1%. The attitude regarding one’s ability to provide resulted in pride.
The emotion that surfaces when I finish a task is pride. Signs at the city limits and letters above I-75 mean nothing and have nothing to do with the existence of pride in a community.
The subject of questioning “Toledo Pride” is almost taboo to Toledo’s “Cheerleader,” Mayor Finkbeiner. Mayor Finkbeiner takes questioning the reality of Toledo pride personally as if one is questioning the Mayor’s own love of country, but pride is not November leaves left on the streets until March. Pride is not pot-hole infested roads. Pride is not a sad 27.7 million dollar deficit. Pride is not a city’s sub – par sewer system backing up and flooding basements. Pride is not threatening cuts in essential services when the Mayor doesn’t get his way. Pride is not 12.9% unemployment. Real Toledo Pride coming from One Government Center in Downtown Toledo would be a balanced budget, a city government living within its means, the basic needs of the city being met, and Mayor Finkbeiner’s 2005 promise of 700 police on the street coming to fruition 4 years later.
Somehow, Toledo pride is being buried even deeper by our elected officials. Practically admitting failure, Toledo is begging for handouts from the Federal Government to fulfill the needs our political “leaders” should have already met. We are applying for money to hire new police officers, and this act of simply applying is a shameful admission of failure. An embarrassing mayor and our city council have not been able to fund the primary task of the City of Toledo – protecting its citizens. Instead, Toledo is chucking the last remnants of pride away and requesting funds from the stimulus plan.
If Toledo politicians cannot protect its citizens by funding an adequate police force, public embarrassment and resignations should abound. Toledo’s inability to accomplish the simple yet important things this city needs is such a disgrace. The disgrace is magnified when our tough economic times are nowhere near the struggles presented by the Great Depression, yet the way Toledo politicians beg is as if the economy is worse than it was in the 1930s. If Toledo pride still exists, it has nothing to do with the actions of those operating out of One Government Center. If Toledo pride exists, it is in spite of the shameful and despicable beggars posing as city officials.
I and an overwhelming majority of Toledoans are people that love their city and want to put Toledo back on the map. We have Toledo pride. We just need our city officials to start funding the necessities, forgetting about the frills. We need our city officials to take pride in performing their actual duties. We need them to catch the pride that we as hard-working Toledoans are passing on.
Tom Morrissey is a Lucas County resident and lifelong Toledoan.