Pounds: Re-elect BellWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
On the surface, this may seem like a relatively safe mayoral election. Both incumbent Mike Bell and challenger D. Michael Collins are reasonable men who have devoted their lives to public service. Both are outside the two-party system (if the sorry state of the Lucas County Republican Party merits inclusion in that description) and both have clear visions for the city.
But as it always is with politics, the truth is more complicated than it seems and a careful examination of the issues leads to only one conclusion: It is imperative that Toledo retain Bell as mayor.
It seems like a long time has passed, but it was only four years ago that Toledo faced a major budget shortfall, soured relationships with our suburban partners and a reputation for making national headlines for all the wrong reasons. Bell made tough, unpopular decisions to control the budget, has worked to bring our neighbors to the table and has made headlines in national publications such as Forbes as well as international publications for his economic development successes.
There is real momentum at stake, positive energy and results far more important than the petty squabbles and political infighting that make up the bulk of criticism aimed at Bell.
Bell’s efforts to chisel out a place for Toledo on the global stage will have decades of continuing impact.
Bell has acknowledged some of the missteps his administration has made; such concessions are rare in politics and indicative of Bell’s growth as a leader. Try to think of similar mea culpas ever being issued by any of Bell’s public servant opponents.
There are those who continue to combat Bell over his 2010 use of exigent circumstances to cut city workers’ wages and his 2011 support of Senate Bill 5, which would have restricted public employee collective bargaining; even though their side “won” the latter battle, they would advance that ideology over what is best for the city’s momentum.
I have questioned and criticized some of Bell’s budget decisions and continue to be concerned about some of the communication issues between Bell and City Council. But the positives of the past four years far outweigh the negatives.
Bell has restored dignity and action to an office that was sorely lacking both. I respect Collins and believe he has the city’s best interests at heart. But at this time, Bell is the clear choice to keep Toledo moving in the right direction.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.