Mayoral race is government lesson for local teenWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo mayoral candidate Clint White III refuses to accept campaign contributions from his parents, but has no problem taking money from other family members.
“I did accept $25 from my grandma,” he said.
White’s not apologizing, though. After all, he is only 17 years old and just graduated from Whitmer High School. He doesn’t even have a summer job.
“I think I can make a difference — hopefully, not a negative one,” said the west Toledo resident. “The city right now, we have a mayor who can do whatever he wants. If I get elected, I will take that out. The strong mayor system is good only if you have good people in there.”
White, 4718 Douglas Road, is one of 18 names on a list of people who took out petitions to run for mayor. In fact, when White took out petitions on Jan. 5, he was the second person to do so. The first person was Daniel Angel, 715 Boalt St., who has since decided not to run.
At first White’s parents thought he wasn’t serious. White is an average student who plays in a bluegrass band and he has never even held a student government office.
“I don’t think they were sure about it, and I still don’t think they are sure about it,” White said. “I like to do things for fun and live to the fullest.”
His mother, Mary White, said his announcement to run for mayor came as a surprise.
“I was kind of shocked. I couldn’t believe it. He feels like he can make a difference, and my husband and I have always said, ‘Whatever you think you can do, you can try it.’”
Win or lose, she said it’s a good experience to run for office. He learned about running for office after attending Buckeye Boys State in BGSU last summer.
“Yes, I am only 17 years old, and if you’re thinking that this ‘kid’ does not have the experience to lead a city, I can tell you that you are wrong,” White wrote on his MySpace page.
“I’m sure a five-year-old could run this city better than what we have now. … At Buckeye Boys State, I ran for City coulncil (sic) and won. My roomate [sic], ran for Mayor of our city and won a very hard race. From that did I not only learn the job of the city council, but the job of the mayor as well.”
If nothing else, White said he wants to at least accomplish the task of collecting the 750 signatures required to run for office. Other residents on the list like Donald Gozdowski, 3142 Franklin Ave., stated in an e-mail that he’s as serious as “Christ Crucified” about the campaign, and Jeremiah Van Buren, 2438 Georgetown, has decided to run for Toledo city council instead.
“But, let me be clear, I really don’t want the job,” wrote Gozdowski in his blog, “who in their right mind would willingly embrace the madness of politics?”
All joking aside, none of the people who have taken out petitions, even the four major candidates, Mike Bell, Ben Konop, Jim Moody and Keith Wilkowski, has turned in petitions, according to the Lucas County Board of Elections. The deadline is July 17.
“Out of youthful zeal, I decided I was going to try and run for mayor,” Angel said in a statement. “Then after some wise consul (sic), I decided I was not ready to make decisions that would effect (sic) over 300,000 people.”
White said he knows winning one of the two spots in the Sept. 15 primary election is a long shot, but he wants to make sure people know that young people are monitoring the Toledo political scene. He will turn 18 on Aug. 6.
“Government should not brush off the people,” he said. “[Mayor Carty Finkbeiner] wants the government to be in everything … there’re all these rules. I am going to lower business and residential tax laws.”
White pointed to the Bass Pro Shop opening outside of Toledo as an example of a lost opportunity. He doesn’t blame the owners, though. Toledo has too many taxes. Lower taxes will bring people and businesses into the city, according to the young Republican.
“What Carty doesn’t understand, if you raise taxes, people don’t like that,” White said. “People like having money in their pockets.”
Opal Covey has also taken out petitions to collect signatures to run for mayor. She said that God wants her to be mayor, just like He did in 2000.
God even gave Covey, who lives at 2236 Broadway St., a vision of how to make Toledo thrive, which would be through an amusement park at Promenade Park, she said.
“God has trained me for 32 years for this,” Covey said.
As mayor, Christopher Frank Adams Sr., 1918 Barrows St., said he would listen and then research. He’s tired of all the politics and knows how to get results because of his 20 years in the business industry, including managing big-box stores.
“I haven’t been on TV or anything like that because I sit back and acknowledge what the other candidates are saying,” he said.
“We have to quit fighting as a city,” Adams continued. “I have been to a lot of council meetings, and it seems like all they want to do is bicker and fight … if you don’t want to keep this ship afloat, jump overboard.”
Earl Harris, 523 Chapin St., said he considered running for mayor and went so far as to collect more than 500 signatures, but then realized “this city isn’t ready for the ideas I wanted to present.”
“My main concerns are public safety and creating a business-friendly environment,” he wrote in a statement.
White said it depends what happens with the election, but he is considering college and possibly moving away from Toledo.
“No matter where you go, if I was to move to Florida or Japan, Toledo will always be in my mind,” he said. “No matter what I do, Toledo will always be my home.”
White said there’s nothing like the kind people of Toledo. He recently fell off his bicycle and a guy stopped and said, “Do you need some help?”
“If I don’t make it past the primary ballot, I will see where I go from there,” White said
Also in the running …
Toledo mayoral candidates listed in order of when each person took out petitions. No one has turned them in yet, according to the Lucas County Board of Elections.
1. Daniel J. Angel, 715 Boalt St./ Dec. 8
2. Clint White III, 4718 Douglas Road/ Jan. 5
3. Christopher Frank Adams Sr., 1918 Barrows St./ Jan. 6
4. Opal Covey, 2236 Broadway St./ Jan. 13
5. Pastor Clinton D. Dudley, 1980 Northtowne Drive/ Jan. 20
6. Michael K. Jackson, 3408 Westridge Drive/ Jan. 20
7. James D. Moody, 2468 Parkview/ Jan. 26
8. Keith Wilkowski, 2309 Middlesex/Jan. 27
9. Jeremiah Van Buren, 2438 Georgetown/ Jan. 27
10. Donald Watras, 282 Majestic Drive/ Jan. 30
11. Daniel Sartin, 823 Koch Drive/ Feb. 13
12. Christopher Allen Stevenson, 230 13th St./ March 6
13. William Cutcher, 910 Geneva/ March 10
14. Donald R. Gozdowski, 3142 Franklin Ave./April 1
15. Earl N. Harris, 523 Chapin St./ April 21
16. Jo Pollitt, 1016 N. Michigan St./April 30
17. Ben Konop, 100 S. Huron St., Suite 7C/ May 19
18. Mike Bell, 3010 Hopewell Place/ June 4