Mayor responds to HarpenWritten by Carty Finkbeiner | | firstname.lastname@example.org
TO THE EDITOR,
Last week in his column, “Carty fiddled while …” Jim Harpen referred to the All-America City Awards as a “little-known award of little-recognized value from organizations little-known outside the world of career politicians and award plaque makers.” Many would beg to differ, and presumably, so would the National Civic League, which sponsors this annual civic competition.
All-America City is the oldest community recognition competition in the United States, launched in 1949 by The National Civic League, which was founded in 1894, by Theodore Roosevelt, Louis Brandeis, and Marshall Field. For more than a century, this organization has worked to increase civic activism, and promote recognition of America’s cities.
The NCL abides by four core values: 1) Empower people to participate and act. 2) Celebrate and embrace diversity and inclusiveness. 3) Support democratic processes that create high-performance governments. 4) Nurture hope and contribute to success in communities.
My question to Mr. Harpen is simply this: What’s your problem?
Why do I believe Toledo has an excellent chance at being named an All-America City? Because we are populated with citizens who don’t sit around and bemoan our problems, but rather, work to create innovative solutions to them. We are a community that pulls together to conquer our challenges—the main criteria that All-America City judges look for when choosing their winners.
No taxpayer money is being spent on our efforts to win this prestigious title. We are raising the necessary capital via a series of independent events. And, our entry into the competition is not distracting anyone’s attention away from the important budget challenges facing us.
When I told reporters to “Get a life” at our April 3 announcement, I was directing that towards those media members who insist on solely adding negativity to our newspapers, airwaves, and television screens. It is true there is 12 percent unemployment locally. But, that leaves 88 percent working. There are plenty of good news stories to tell, but some in the media just yearn for the negative slant.
We have been nominated for the Oscar of civic awards, after many cities did not make the final cut. This is an honor for Toledo, particularly in light of the financial difficulties we are facing. The NCL recognizes that Toledoans are fighters, who never back down from a challenge … while Mr. Harpen simply wants to ignore a challenge, dwell on negativity, and miss a chance for Toledo to show what a great city we are!
CARLETON S. FINKBEINER, Mayor, Toledo