Pounds: One step up …Written by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
There is always interesting news to be found in the weekly flow of life in Downtown Toledo. Two developments worth discussing this week are the exciting plans announced for the Steam Plant and City Council’s dubious vote on the Red Cross union negotiations.
For far too long, the Steam Plant has stood as a symbol of our city’s inability to capitalize on its magnificent waterfront. But the news — first reported April 20 by Toledo Free Press — that the YMCA and University of Toledo Medical Center have plans for the facility is a cause for cautious celebration.
As reported by Caitlin McGlade, “The $16 million investment is a money saver for the YMCA, part of University of Toledo Medical Center’s expansion plans and the answer to developers David and Dean Ball’s goal to build downtown apartments. The building, dubbed the Water Street Station, will house 67 apartments from the third to sixth floors. The university’s medical center will lease space from the YMCA. The deal marks the third installment of plans to spread clinics across Northwest Ohio.”
Coupled with Mayor Mike Bell’s plans to renovate Promenade Park and the development of the Marina District, Toledo could finally see some progress on its long-underutilized riverfront.
Progressive Councilwoman Lindsay Webb led the charge for City Council (like the Lucas County commissioners) to stick its collective nose into the labor negotiations between United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 and the blood collection branch of the American Red Cross. At this point, Webb’s quixotic pursuits are an unsurprising facet of her approach to public service, but Councilmen Tom Waniewski and Rob Ludeman were correct in opposing the nonbinding resolution — not from disrespect to the union negotiation process but from respect for Council’s time and attention.
“We stand with our Toledo workers, that’s what the resolution said and that’s what we’re asking them to do. We are supporting Toledo taxpayers in a dispute in which their employer was found to not have good cause and participated in unfair labor practices,” Webb said. “That is not something we tolerate in this city.”
That’s one or two too many applications of the word “we.”
As Waniewski said, “Figuring out somebody else’s contract talks is not something we should be doing. The Red Cross is a great organization and they’ve already shown that they’ve settled everywhere but Cleveland and Toledo. It was a waste of a resolution, it was a waste of our time here at City Council.”
Webb may not quite be fiddling while parts of Toledo burn, but she certainly has rosin on her hands. It is possible to respect her determination and consistency, but question her priorities in asserting her more tenacious qualities.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.