Collins meets and greets at Ottawa TavernWritten by Bailey G. Dick | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayoral candidate D. Michael Collins fielded questions from a small crowd of voters at the Ottawa Tavern’s weekly Political Parties series, held at the Ottawa Tavern on July 16.
With questions ranging from sludge being emptied into Lake Erie to bike lanes in the Downtown area, voters quizzed Collins on his plans for the city.
“We have to return to a city that recognizes the value of what we have,” Collins said. “The city has to be rebuilt, retooled and re-energized by the younger generation.”
Several people questioned Collins about job creation, and how to keep young Toledoans from leaving the city in search of jobs elsewhere.
“The No. 1 responsibility of a leader of a community and those who serve as the board of directors is to be able to take the city that they’re responsible for and provide the environment so that there’s good jobs,” Collins said. “Everything else falls into place if there are good jobs.”
Attendees also quizzed Collins on his thoughts about small businesses and encouraging the arts community in the city as well as his plans for water treatment facilities and the area that formerly housed Southwyck Mall.
Collins admitted some of the ideas presented by the voters were new to him, including one about making Toledo more bike-friendly.
“I never thought about it, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t think about it. And that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t look at it and say, ‘That’s a darn good idea. Let’s do something about it. Let’s make it happen,’” Collins said. “When I say let’s make it happen, I’m talking about empowering people to make it happen. Why should I tell you what you need if you’re a bicyclist and I’m not?”
Collins also spoke to the audience about his discovery of two SUVs purchased by Mayor Mike Bell’s administration. While at a Navy Week event last summer, Collins saw one of Bell’s employees driving city guests in what he believed to be her vehicle. Concerned about the possible liability issues, Collins began to investigate the situation, and found out the vehicle belonged to the city.
Because the vehicle lacked government plates, he contacted undercover investigators, thinking it was an undercover vehicle. Only later did he find out the vehicle belonged to the Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor.
“I pulled the purchase order, and it was actually a street sweeper,” Collins said. “This authorization was to buy a street sweeper, and not a [GMC] Terrain.”
Collins said he later came across a Chevy Tahoe with a stereo system and strobe lights that was also purchased for the Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor, but not used by that division.
“I wrote the auditor’s office and gave them all the paperwork, and I hope they bust them for it,” Collins said.
Collins also told the largely 30-and-younger crowd that the younger generation of Toledoans is the reason he is running for mayor.
“I want to have that opportunity to write that first chapter, so that the youth of this community can write that final chapter, and have that book called, ‘How We Rebuilt Toledo,’” he said.
The Ottawa Tavern is slated to host five other candidates on Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m. for the remainder of the summer. Next up is neighborhood development specialist Alan Cox on July 23.
Also scheduled to make appearances are Bell (July 30), Opal Covey (Aug. 6) and Councilman Joe McNamara (Aug. 13). Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, whose July 9 event was postponed, has rescheduled for Aug. 27.
Toledo Free Press and 1370 WSPD are media sponsors for the event. For more information, visit www.otavern.com.