Pounds: For whom the Bell rollsWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Two local media mainstays, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and Columbia Gas of Ohio, have been the subject of conversation this week. They always are, but there are interesting public relations elements to discuss.
A few photos of Bell have been posted on Facebook and local message boards such as Toledo Talk. The photos show the mayor hanging out at the new Ye Olde Cock n’ Bull Tavern, wearing his motorcycle leathers and torn jeans. He is shown on stage with a band, posing with women at the bar and just generally enjoying himself.
Good for him.
It appears the photos were posted to embarrass Bell by raising questions about his behavior. It is of interest that these photos almost always draw comments about the race of the people Bell is with; whether those comments are in jest or come from a less admirable mindset can only be known by the people posting them.
During his run for office, Bell promised he was going to remain true to himself and he has. He has taken controversial stances, made statements with bulldog determination and run the city as he said he would.
If he parties on his own time and it helps him deal with stress and stay in touch with who he is and what he loves about Toledo, that’s healthy.
Bell has made mistakes, and his increasing distance from some City Council members is a concern, but none of his perceived missteps have to do with him blowing off steam on his motorcycle and enjoying some rock star action.
There are lines of behavior and responsibility on the party scene, and there have been no indications that Bell has crossed them.
Rock on, Mike.
Residents at GrayStone Woods have been rocked by the discovery of methane gas seeping around their homes. Columbia Gas of Ohio determined the levels were a danger and cut off service to the subdivision. This has understandably caused distress to the homeowners, who have been without a major utility service for three weeks. No gas means no hot showers and meals cooked in microwaves, with no immediate endgame in sight.
The situation is undoubtedly a major inconvenience for the homeowners, a scary proposition for developer Seneca Building Co., a jurisdiction puzzle for government and a public relations issue for Columbia Gas.
The utility company is doing the right thing. Columbia’s zero-tolerance policy is a safety-first call (one that does not help its bottom line, by the way) and one residents should respect, even if they can’t appreciate it.
Residents in GrayStone Woods have a right to voice their unhappiness, but they would have much bigger worries if Columbia Gas had rushed to restore service and one or more homes or lives had been lost.
We certainly hope the parties involved can find a quick and permanent solution to the problem. But in the meantime, Columbia Gas and Mayor Bell find themselves in a similar situation; being criticized for taking care of their business — and their lives — with unwavering dedication to what they believe is right.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.