Pounds: Seven upWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
The last inclusive forum for the seven Toledo mayoral candidates was mild but offered a great amount of insight. Organized by the Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition (NOCC) and moderated by WNWO’s Jim Blue and Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller, the Aug. 26 forum provided an opportunity for audience members at the Toledo-Lucas County Main Library to ask questions and watch interactions between the candidates.
A simple question about a complicated issue — so-called right-to-work — evoked the most intense response. Mayor Mike Bell has pointed to the proximity of Michigan competition as a factor in considering the legislation. Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, in her most convincing and passionate moment, lambasted right-to-work and any politician who supported it. City Councilmen D. Michael Collins and Joe McNamara were both clear in their opposition, albeit without the fire Lopez injected into the conversation. Alan Cox, a union leader, said workers adopt right-to-work at the peril of their representation for benefits and working conditions. Only Michael Konwinski and Opal Covey stated they favored right-to-work policy, and both absorbed some halfhearted boos for their stances.
It was also interesting to hear all seven candidates express their unqualified support for improving education (of course). Many of the candidates expressed confidence in Superintendent Romules Durant, but not one — not one — mentioned the upcoming 10-year Toledo Public Schools levy. Not even the most academic or administrative candidates wish to be tied to taxes.
McNamara’s nonpoaching agreements strategy, his responses to the stronger schools question (safe schools means more resource officers and not reinventing committee work) and his example of limiting Toledo government (regionalize services like IT) show planning and consideration.
Lopez was at her most polished, drawing laughs and applause when she said, “The city will never operate the same after I get finished with it,” a statement that rings with as much threat as it does promise.
Konwinski was gracious in giving Bell credit for handling the financial difficulties he inherited. His discussion of Toledo needing financial remuneration for the money it has spent developing the water department’s infrastructure as water delivery is regionalized shows he’s on top of the issues.
Cox may have lost some people when he noted that the majority of his supporters “are from my church family.” It indicates he may lack the experience and/or skills to create a coalition of diverse people. His story about friends and colleagues telling him he should be a mediator in his retirement indicates he sees one of the important roles of the mayor is mediation, and not everyone wants a mediating mayor.
The American voting process is unique and fascinating, and forums such as this one provide strong examples of leadership and weakness. The entire forum may be viewed at http://bit.ly/mayoralforum419. I hope you will watch it before the Sept. 10 primary. It’s an opportunity to see all seven candidates at their best — and worst.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tags: Alan Cox, Anita Lopez, D. Michael Collins, Jim Blue, Joe McNamara, Micahel Konwinski, Mike Bell, Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition, Opal Covey, Publisher's Statement, Right to Work, Romules Durant, Tom Pounds, WNWO