Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Goodbye Finkbeiner!

Here we go. I've been calling it for months. Finkbeiner officially joins the mayors race Thursday. There will be a lot of diversity at the podium, but its the former Kest operatives & select Kest supporters who have delivered for Finkbeiner, and to whom he's made his most important promises. He took 13 ABC for a good ride the past few years, got his Kest buddies to temporarily subdue the Lucas County Democratic Party, and worked overtime to badmouth Mayor Ford at every turn. He's been campaigning for over a year, even as an on-air television commentator. And, starting today, his polling numbers will only go in one direction. Down.

These next 76 days will be historic for Toledo. A great debate about our city's past, present and future is about to unfold. As I've said here before, no one should be afraid of a contest of ideas, and, at last, honesty catches up to Finkbeiner's lurking, deceptive, divisive and selfish strategy. His is a strategy upended by the surprise entry of Keith Wilkowski, who with Rob Ludeman will siphon thousands and thousands of dollars and votes away from him in the September primary.

Which is why I say, "Goodbye Finkbeiner!" I believe these next several weeks will be his swan song as an aspiring politician.

He has devoted his life to the City of Toledo, and we should respect that and the many good things he has accomplished. In a way, my attention to this matter could be interpreted as honor. But his time is past, and neither do I want nor expect him to be successful this fall. He was fortunate to be Mayor under a President who's fiscal policies ushered in a golden economy, not a wartime, jobless recovery - and he played the role as best he could, despite all the self-inflicted humiliation to himself and our city. (Not that he has the market cornered, I have goofed and will goof again - same for my colleagues.)

My observations would be less corrosive if Finkbeiner had simply been honest from the get-go. "Yes, I want to run for Mayor again. I won't play coy to stay on TV. Yes, we changed the rules of the Democratic Party last summer to deny the endorsement to the incumbent Democrat this fall, despite all that he's done for the party and how little I have. Yes, I just think I should be Mayor again and again, because no one is better than me." What is this, his fifth or sixth run for Mayor of Toledo?


Is this the pot calling the kettle black? Am not I an "aspiring politician" that works an agenda not openly disseminated? Why all this from Finkbeiner's last campaign manager? What did Finkbeiner ever do to Szollosi? Doesn't Frank have something better to work on?

Good questions, and I welcome more. I will support candidates that work together for the benefit of our community, and by extension, work together to elect Democrats. It is my sincere belief that electing Democrats at the local, state, and national levels proves beneficial to our community. It is also my sincere belief that Finkbeiner has been and continues to be a complete failure in the "working together" department - both within NW Ohio and within the context of helping to elect Democrats. Finkbeiner's failure is a stark contrast to Jack Ford's success. He has striven to work together within Lucas County, and no local Democratic elected official has done more to assist Democratic candidates in Toledo, Ohio, and at the national level than Jack Ford. I genuinely respect that - though I don't expect our critics to respect it, nor do I even expect a lot of people to understand what I mean, because you have to be a fairly dyed-in-the-wool Democrat to get it. And I respect what Mayor Ford has been able to do for Toledo despite the Bush recession - not laying off police & fire, and making sure municipal employees by and large only got bumped into utility positions. Quietly working with the private sector and labor to attract thousands of new jobs. Faced with these deficits, there is no doubt in my mind Finkbeiner would axe employees by the dozens.

Mine was a brief episode with Finkbeiner. In 1997, as an incumbent Democrat, Chairwoman Paula Ross endorsed Carty and worked with B-Teamers to re-elect him. I just wrapped up my work for Clinton-Gore in Washington, and worked with both A & B teamers to re-elect Carty. For all of Finkbeiner's faux gravitas and affable courtliness, it is a courtesy he and the Kest gang are too small as persons to repay to Mayor Ford. And I stand for re-election in my own right not only without the support of the B team, but they've purposefully, and with great deception, denied my endorsement by the party for which I've long labored. I will work to secure their defeat without rest and in good cheer.

There are people with Finkbeiner who I consider friends, just as there are people with Wilkowski who I consider friends. Politics is a strange business. And the next 76 days will hold an awkwardness of unusual dimensions. We will all be working to win - and Toledo will never be the same.


Blogger toledoman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

Save the slurs for another website - your timetable and theory are welcome here, though I believe somewhat incredible.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank, I'll give you credibility when you come clean with facts.

Explain to me, after watching the budget fiasco with scrutiny, how you can say Jack balanced the budget? You throw that out there like Jack saved Toledo. Wrong, Frank. Some people pay closer attention than you do.

The only thing that saved the jobs in the first place was the refund from the BWC. Not Jack. That refund was an 11th hour gift and not one of you can acknowledge that, even tho I have read the Blade's account. Heck, you guys were ready to jam Toledo up with it's citizens paying for the pickup of two bags of garbage only, with the citizens having to dispose of everything else, including recycling. Forgot how that went already, Frank?

All you councilpeople know anymore is CYA. Just like your tendency to delete comments you don't like, Frank. It's a joke.

It's these antics that take away from that credibility factor. All I can say is "Good riddance 'A' team."

4:52 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

Sir, I do not forget the garbage tax debate, as I was against it. Ask Rob.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prediction in the September Primary:

Finkbeiner: 35.5
Wilkowski: 25.6
Ford: 20.4
Ludeman: 18.5

Since Finkbeiner hasn't announced yet as of this Thursday morning, I like Wilkowski's platform with strong commitment to downtown and other projects, Ludeman--since his announcement to run this past spring I have yet to hear anything , and for Ford--he has yet to convince me of why I should vote for him for second term.

Despite of Carty's tactics--we all know he has passion for getting things going in Toledo and we Toledoans are familiar with his platform which many either love him or hate him. What has Ford done? What has Ludeman done? I am a very open-minded professional who is seeking for a mayor that believes downtown Toledo is #1 priority--if there wasn't a downtown there wouldn't be a city. Arena needs to be in downtown, market-rate housing needs to be built in all of the Toledo area (e.g. Hill/Reynolds and Hill/Byrne area) since mostly are being built in downtown (just condos or lofts) or in the suburbs. It is extremely important to have a vital downtown which is the heart of all activities and it creates a ripple effect would helps surrounding neighborhoods.

Right now I'm leaning toward Wilkowski because of his platform, Finkbeiner is my back-up in case The Blade come up with some story about a shady secret of Wilkowski's past (e.g. Kest's credit card fiasco). Ford has a long way to convince me because like Jack said "We'll worry about 2006 when it's 2006"...sorry that doesn't cut it for me--I believe in long-term goals and vision because I love Toledo. Not some flash-in-the-pan "oh what do I feel like today" attitude--I'm sorry but that's not acceptable to me.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank, I really don't understand why you defend Ford the way you do. I would think that, if you are an "A" teamer (whatever that is), Wilkowski should be your guy. He's experienced, decent, smart, and well-intentioned. I think everybody acknowledges that he would be the best of the bunch. Why don't you support Wilkowski? And I hope you won't say because The Blade and the UAW told you to support Ford -- you're better than that, Frank.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the news today--City of Toledo has lost 3,471 residents within the last year which is now 304,973. I'm amazed of how no one seems to be addressing this issue in the past years--like I said about the build arena in downtown and market-rate housing in the city in previous comment--you need to focus on building homes that would attract empty-nesters, families, singles, and professionals in the city limit of Toledo. I look at all the subdivisions and high-end homes being built in the townships and suburbs but none in the city. What I've seen being built in Toledo are lofts and condos, and low-income single family homes--which is fine but you are missing the "other" market which are the people who are moving into the suburbs. There are vast of lands that can build subdivisions, cul-de-sacs, and high-end homes in open land areas like Dorr/Reynolds, Hill/Reynolds, and Hill/Byrne. Tax breaks, low crime, good schools, accessible infrastructures, and good planning is the key to attract the developers to build these homes. Focusing only on job creations is not going to bring people into the city because many of them would still buy attractive homes in the suburbs and drive to work. It's got to play hand-in-hand as you create jobs you got to create housing developments. But with lack of attractive, market-rate homes makes people look elsewhere outside of Toledo.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding to my comment above--look at the magnitude of the Jeep development. Case in point where are the housing developments????? The city seems to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs but no housing availabilities? Get rid of the vacant homes, get rid of the rundowns and build new homes (NOT low-income). I'm amazed that with new developments of the Toledo Hospital, Westfield Mall, Jeep Plant, Glendale Ave. Wal-Mart and there is NO new housing developments. Only in downtown with the new 5/3 Field there has been developments--but you've got to look at the entire city or people are going to continue to exit to the suburbs. With no new housing--you will continue to lose population and potential new population.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Rodney said...

Frank, I have to agree with an earlier post that questioned why you choose to support Ford. The only reason I've really heard from you is that he is the incumbent. I'm interested in your opinion of Wilkowski. I personally feel that after the dust settles in the political free-for-all between Carty and Ford the city will realize that Wilkowski is the best of the current batch of candidates.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

He's experienced, decent, smart, and well-intentioned. You just explained some of the reasons I'm stickin' with Jack.

Incumbency has little to do with why I'm stickin - though I've worked with both Finkbeiner and Ford, and can tell you who is better with people, more intelligent, and much more honest.

Several folks got a letter from Finkbeiner this afternoon. He suggests that after the primary we should work together to insure a Democrat gets elected, work together to re-unite Democrats. What a riot. Here's a guy who does everything he can to divide the party for his own benefit, then basically invites us all to fall in line behind him. What a complete lack of shame.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Rodney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're ducking the question Frank. Why are you supporting Ford over Wilkowski?

9:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa Renee said...

Entering into the fray here, I understand that you feel loyalty to Jack Ford and then we have this whole A team and B team thing. So no one should be surprised you don't support Carty as a candidate.

I'd also be interested in your take on what Keith Wilkowski is proposing. So far I like what I have heard from him as well.

As I blogged about earlier my fear is that Carty being in the race will cause even more division than there is now. I'm sure it was not easy for Wilkowski to decide to run. Especially since he is friends with many of the same people Jack Ford is. But he did and it took courage for him to do that. It seems he is very sincere in believing he can add something that is currently lacking.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

You're ducking the question Frank. Why are you supporting Ford over Wilkowski?

For one, I feel a sense of loyalty to Mayor Ford. He has served Toledo and the Democratic Party honorably, though so too has Keith Wilkowski. I believe in the experience Ford has gained as a Councilman, leader in the Ohio House, and four years as Mayor.

In 1990 then Councilman Ford came to my high school graduation party - and he helped my mom with her campaign that year. Mayor Ford has been a steadfast supporter of mine since I first tried breaking into elective office in 2002 - though again, Keith Wilkowski has supported me as well. (And, for that matter, so has Carty & the Kest gang - which make it even worse that they have broke their bond with me - and many other good Democrats - for one last bite of apple for Finkbeiner.)

Race is a complicated subject, though its discussed more openly in Democratic politics. Mayor Ford has earned great support within the African-American community. He has channeled that political support on behalf of countless fellow Democratic candidates over the years - most of whom wouldn't have been successful without strong Demcratic returns from our African-American community. I am appreciative as hell of that community's role in helping to elect Democrats - just as I honor the contributions of organized labor and other strong Democratic constituencies. What Finkbeiner and the Kest gang have done, rigging the Democratic Party against Mayor Ford and so many others - its an unbelievable insult, and a reflection of how selfish and short-sighted they are.

Wilkowski is shooting the gap, willing to do just about anything to deny Carty & the Kest gang success. I understand that impulse - but I firmly believe in Mayor Ford and his chances of dispatching Carty & the Kest Gang.

Wilkowski's ideas are good ideas, and just like a lot of what Carty promised today, we've already been discussing and acting on. Automobile industry related tech and manufacturing - Ford has delivered hundreds of new jobs in a tough economy. Downtown revitalization - Ford helped save Pilkington, Owens Corning, SSOE, and a few other large businesses - and has worked hard to mitigate the OI decision.

We have our work cut out for us. Looking forward to all this debate - keep it coming...

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Sepp said...

Yes race is a sensitive issue. I was more than just insulted by Mayor Fords racist remarks about his Malcolm X picture hanging in his office and how he "likes to see white businessmen's legs buckle when they see it" and the other racially devisive / inflamatory rhetoric. (as reported in the Toledo journal)
For a man to preach diversity the way Mayor Ford does, those comments spoke volumes of his true nature.
I'm also confident that those comments did nothing to attract businesses to the city when we need them the most.
Until i read the article myself, I had the oppinion that Jack may be a bad Mayor but, a decent person until he changed my mind for me.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Marshall said...

You have got to stop blaming Bush and the national economy for Toledo's sluggishness. The fall of the economy started under Clinton and continued under Bush. You can't honestly argue otherwise. And I don't blame Clinton or Bush for the downturn....the stock market driven economy was over-bought and overpriced and had to correct. Toledo needs to fix its own problems...not place blame on someone else. I'm also going to have to vehemently disagree with you on the idea that Democrats are better for local, state, and national economies than Republicans. Take a look at the fastest growing areas of the country.....all Republican. In fact, of the 100 fastest growing counties in the country, 99 of them voted for Bush. Take a look at the country and its unemployment and population growth and you'll find that red states are growing at a much faster clip than blue states. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Republican party fuels growth, but I am saying their hands-off, pro-business approach and philosophy work better than Democrats.

If someone really was serious about Toledo turning the corner economically then taxes should be cut in half. Toledo's spending outpaces growing cities' spending by two-fold....which means taxes and fees must also be twice as large. Toledo spends almost $1500/person every year. Compare that with Indianapolis ($693), Memphis ($802), Houston ($777), Louisville ($1024), and Oklahoma City ($954). I randomly selected 22 cities and compared their spending with their population and percent growth over the last 15 years, and I found that the 9 dying cities have average spending of $2158/person and the average spending in the 13 growing cities is $1013/person. That's pretty amazing, isn't it?

Model Toledo after more successful cities by cutting taxes and programs. Making Toledo more business-friendly and more people friendly will lead to growth and a better future for its residents.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Sepp said...

BTW, I expect nothing less than a three ring circus from Carty's camp. His dual role as the ringmaster and clown should be interesting to see.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank, thanks for your explanation on why you support Ford over Wilkowski. I might not agree with it (I think Ford is taking Toledo on a path to nowhere), but I appreciate your candor.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There comes a time when change is the only thing that saves a city. The personna of Ford is distant, aloof, and unavailable. Carty is just the opposite. As for Wilkowski, well, I am just not comfortable with him joining the race after being in Ford's camp. Mr. Ludeman is a nice person, but I feel he lacks that bulldog mentality that it's going to take to turn Toledo around.

While I had hope for you a couple years ago I am disappointed in your own short-sightedness when it comes to revitalizing this city.

Jack Ford did not balance the budget. Ford has not been accessible to the citizens of Toledo, nor has he availed himself of the vast fields of knowledge that our citizens hold. If, in the beginning, he had taken advantage of the interest of the citizens of Toledo he may be in a better position today. Now it's too late. Any efforts on his part are viewed as grabbing at straws.

Jobs, education, safety, housing, and solidarity are all keys to holding a city together. So far I'm looking at an empty key ring. This is not a good thing.

Carty is the man Toledoans love to hate, but you can bet that he will do everything he can to put Toledo back on the road to success!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa Renee said...

Well Frank, on the opposite side of the spectrum? I still have hope for you. Infact the more heat I see you take and the way I see you handle it? You've gone up on my scale.

I didn't expect you to campaign for or support Wilkowski, I figured you had a high level of loyalty to Jack Ford. You could have taken the more safe road and not get behind any of them until after the primary. Personally I think that would have been worth considering, but you have been honest about your feelings on it.

Whoever wins when this is over you'll find a way to work with them because the main goal is what is best for the City of Toledo. As this progresses it will be interesting to see your take on what each candidate promises.

Some of you that post here seem to forget that he doesn't have to do this, he is the only local politician that I know of that not only has a blog but comments back and is not overly delete happy.

So Frank, thank you. Even when I don't agree with you, like on Mayor Ford being re-elected, I do appreciate your point of view.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Sepp said...

I'll second that. I can't go along with all Your ideas Frank but, I do give you the credit for being the only council member with the ballz to hear and be heard. THAT is an important trait that every leader must have. Excercise some peer pressure on your fellow councilmen to follow your lead. I'm sure a lot of folks have learned something about "FRANK" and Frank has learned a lot about what the populace is thinking. It's win / win for ecerybody.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carty's remarks, though true, are deplorable. His problem today as it was in the past... speaking off the cuff with no regard for the result of his words. In today's business and social climate, that style is not acceptable. I hope people will see he's the same old carty.
As for Ford, dependence on the inner-city vote while decrying the issue he's an african-american candidate is just as bad. Wake up Jack, hold a press conference on a real issue.
Toledo is falling fast and hard. Wilkowski's experice in private and public sector will be a progressive step forward. I respect his courage for challenging his friend Ford and giving the people of Toledo a real choice.

10:31 AM  
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