Pounds: Lopez’s rhetoric hinders investmentWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucas County Auditor and Toledo mayoral candidate Anita Lopez’s stance on foreign investment at the Marina District is misguided, misinformed and potentially damaging to a crucial part of Toledo’s future — global development. Following the NAACP candidates forum on Aug. 6, Lopez sent out a news release that touted, “Lopez proved she is the best candidate for Mayor of Toledo. Lopez offered a clear plan to create jobs by working with local businesses, not foreign corporations.”
It also reads, “The Marina District was one of our key assets in the city of Toledo and it was practically given away with no plan, no benchmarks and no accountability. That is a pattern and practice that has happened at the city of Toledo for too long. I would have tried to identify investors with a solid plan before allowing foreign investors to come here. I would have given local businesses, first, an opportunity.”
In addition to being outright false that there is no plan, benchmark or accountability for Mayor Mike Bell’s Marina District deal with Dashing Pacific, her comments could dramatically retard the relationships and partnerships Toledo is forming on a global stage.
I spoke with Bell’s office this week and relay his response to Lopez’s comments: “Investors purchased the land at fair market value, which anyone with financing could have done for more than a dozen years. We included a clause in the contract that stipulates the city can buy the property back if there is no development after five years. The property is back on the tax rolls, contributing revenue to the community for schools, human services and other publicly funded needs. And, the terms of the sale were approved by city council. This project is not without measurement and it did not occur in a vacuum.”
That clearly refutes Lopez’s misinformed statement, but there is more going on here. Principal “foreign” architects behind the Marina District deal have purchased other properties Downtown and have moved their families to live with us in what retired management consultant Jerry Jakes has long referred to as Lake Erie West. How must they feel when they observe unfriendly comments such as Lopez’s on the radio, television and in newspapers? How must the people overseas feel about us when, as they keep track of their investments, they hear such unkind and uninformed words? How much untold damage to the confidence, relationships and potential future business partnerships is being done by such baseless political grandstanding?
And what is the impact on another group of “foreigners” who have a great investment in Toledo — the Italian company that owns our beloved Jeep? What must they think of such unfriendly rhetoric? It may not be outright racism toward our global partners, but is unquestionably xenophobia at its ugliest and most close-minded. Yes, the Marina District sale is open to debate and criticism, but on merit and facts, not a desire to cater to the basest and most reactionary elements of the electorate.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.