Thursday, September 29, 2005

RON: On the Air & On the Ground

Reform Ohio Now has hit the airwaves across Ohio to support State Issues 2, 3, 4 & 5 - efforts to restore trust, confidence and faith in Ohio. Click here to view the ad on-line.

We're also continuing to hit the streets spreading the word - this Saturday we'll meet in the morning at McDonalds on Dorr & Collingwood, and again Sunday afternoon. There is ground action across several NW Ohio counties and all over the state. Email me for details.

40 days out & the movement to clean up corruption is poised for a historic victory. Now is the time for YOU to step up and help with a contribution, volunteering some time or taking a yard sign. Again, email me for details.

Here is a big reason people across partisan, geographic, civic and professional lines are supporting these common sense reforms.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Conservative Republicans For RON

Five Ring Circus



With news of the Lucas County Democratic Party's endorsements, I'm reminded of a great time I had with my wife and son about 10 days ago - an evening at the circus.

Lucas and I had a chance to ride an elephant. Under the big top, aerial acrobatics LIVE, WITHOUT A NET. Tigers in a cage, leaping through flaming hoops and balancing on little medicine balls.

See the unity candidate! See the trailer with 1000 pound snakes!

Clowns, vendors, carnies running to & fro!

Dogs riding horses and other fun tricks. Cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, carmel apples.

Prancing ponies. Cue the flying trapeze. Win balloons, buy circus peanuts. Trampoline stunts.

A man folding himself into a clear 1x1 box. "My friend."


"Buy our coloring books for $1, my little chickadees!" cried the rotund ringmaster.

A man with a long metal pole on his chin, holding up a woman in a seat, juggling. Women swirling 30 hula-hoops at a time.

A man throwing coffee cups, office garbage cans, and restaurant tables.

More horse tricks and juggling - bowling pins, hoops, knives, flaming sticks.



A high wire act, including the deadly 7 man pyramid.

Send in the performing elephants, our candidate needs money!

"Under the biggest big top on earth, with the worlds largest traveling menagerie" Thanks UAW Local 12 Education Committee for bringing in the circus!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Working Together for Good Jobs

Mayor Ford, Councilwoman Grachek, Commissioners President Skeldon-Wozniak, and I are supporting the responsible, private efforts of the Westgate owners in their redevelopment efforts, including a potential Costco store. Research on the company yields an impressive track record of profitability, sustained employment, and respectful treatment of employees. A Westgate Costco store would mesh with the new design standards adopted in the Walk Westgate plan, and generate a huge increase in consumer traffic to sustain local small businesses. Over and above the dignity for 200 Toledoans in good jobs with above-average wages, longevity, vacations, a bonus, and health and pension benefits, the income taxes of 200 new Costco employees would help close our budget gap, assisting us in the delivery of city services, among other valuable community & economic benefits.

The Costco Way from Business Week Magazine

Jim Hightower

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Carty Finkbeiner threatens Costco and Westgate redevelopment. At a Westgate forum tonight he rejected Costco in his opening statement and repeatedly throughout the evening. Carty's choice is Whole Foods, whose CEO has compared unions to herpes (click here). Whole Foods at Westgate would threaten the good United Food and Commercial Workers at Krogers. Click here for more info on how Whole Foods treats it's employees.

Deep Thoughts

First, the wiki entry for Jack Handey to give credit where credit is due. Besides, haven't you heard, the A-Team is legit.

On a more serious note, a Congressional hearing was held last week entitled: Political Speech on the Internet: Should it be Regulated?

There are at least 18.2 million blogs as of this writing, though I appreciate Roberta's shout out. And I'm not the only candidate/elected official intrepid enough to share my thoughts online either - then-mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski posted here once, despite my support for Mayor Ford. Which only goes to illustrate the small-d democracy of the blogosphere, anyone with an opinion can add their comments here. (though if you use an obscenity or intentionally misspell names, I'll delete 'em)

My inspiration for over a decade has been Vaclav Havel. After reading Summer Meditations, I found myself constantly measuring my actions against his words. It's not easy, and I'm not perfect.

One of my goals for this blog has been to gather ideas and criticism about policy in Toledo, which is simply an extension of offline conversations and meetings. For example, one of the brightest minds in municipal government, Ford Weber, handed me a report a couple weeks back, entitled Turning Around Downtown: Twelve Steps to Revitalization released by The Brookings Institution. Again, we should measure the actions of public and private sectors locally to the recommendations of national experts. Are we doing enough to entice people to live downtown? For our downtown merchants and businesses to be successful? What is the right mix? Who can we approach for greater investment? How do we capture the vision and rally people and resources over the long term?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Carty & Noe! Did I say lunch?

Carty bought Noe's breakfast. Injured workers bought Noe's lunch. Facts back up my claim that Carty was warming up his Noe connections, even as The Blade was exposing Noe's activities. Why is it important? Carty claims to be a Democrat, survey's say he has all this support from union households. I bet there are a lot of injured workers who'd like their breakfast back from Tom Noe, and would be sorry that Carty chose to serve Noe breakfast instead.

Published on April 28, 2005 Blade, The (Toledo, OH) written by Tom Troy

Finkbeiner GETS A TASTE OF EXECUTIVE SUPPORT

Former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who has been testing union and Democratic Party support for a possible mayoral run in November, yesterday reached out to sample support in the business community.

The former mayor invited area executives, entrepreneurs, and political supporters to a private breakfast meeting at Cousino's Navy Bistro at The Docks in International Park ...........

Among those in attendance at the bagels-and-juice affair were ..... ; Tom Noe, owner of Vintage Coin & Collectibles and chairman of the Bush re-election campaign in northwest Ohio


Carty's campaign finance report (soon to be posted here) demonstrates that FINKBEINER FOR MAYOR '05 paid for the breakfast. Carty was raising and spending money while an on-air commentator on WTVG-TV 13 during their newscasts and on his political news show - deceiving Toledo every step of the way. He also paid for a worthless "mail back" poll to test his divisive themes earlier this spring. When someone rigs the rules of a party, covers town all spring shaking hands, assembles weekly meetings, raises and spends money from a mayoral campaign committee, does a poll, sends letters and is openly and privately critical of the incumbent - he's running for office, which is what Carty did for months before his "official" announcement. Don't let him buffalo you.

Why would Carty kiss Noe's butt? Next week Finkbeiner holds a fundraiser with all of Noe's old GOP buddies, thats why. Perhaps these guys are telling Carty to do what he can to drive away a great union jobs company like Costco from Westgate, because Carty is certainly trying. When good Democrats started criticizing Tom Noe and Republicans over the Bureau of Workers Comp allegations in early April, sticking up for Ohio's injured workers, (my first comment in The Blade, April 5) Carty was kissing Noe's rear end - as mentioned earlier here, Carty even did so openly on his tv show.

Answer the question Carty, why would you seek the support of Tom Noe?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Work to Reform Ohio's Politics

Ohio hasn't witnessed political corruption on this scale in generations. I'm working with Reform Ohio Now to help pass 4 state constitutional amendments this November.

We'll be in Fulton County tonight, at a Toledo organizing meeting this Thursday night, and in Bowling Green Wednesday and Saturday - email me for details.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Unity, Teamwork, Victory

Thank you to voters for their support of LucasCountyDemocrats.org! Our message of job creation, support for police, fire and municipal workers, and better city services AND our unity and teamwork led to an impressive performance across the board:

Mayor Ford will represent his supporters and everyone else who opposed the re-emergence of Carty Finkbeiner (a very, very large percentage of the vote).

My council colleague Phil Copeland and I finished 2nd and 4th respectively.

And our fellow Democrats finished in a statistical dead-heat for 6th place:

Shanahan 505 votes from 6th, or 0.33 percent
McConnell Hancock 628 votes from 6th, or 0.36 percent
Vasquez 942 votes from 6th, or 0.54 percent

Dave Schulz, a Republican, next finished 3,282 votes from 6th or 1.87 percent out.

Looking forward to analyzing the precinct by precinct returns.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Turnout

Looking at turnout across the city, particularly by ward. Working with many, many people in an effort to boost turnout in key precincts. Its hot - blogging from my phone. Just in from several streets off Hawley - great response for our ticket. Proof tonight.

Primary Report - AM

Ah, the nitty-gritty of another Election Day - I really do enjoy this...

After midnight I was criss-crossing Toledo delivering flyers to people who'll be standing at the polls today - Slater Road, Cheltenham, Rockridge, Northwood, Tamarack - got home for just a few hours of shut-eye. Signs up at the polls, pollworkers across Toledo, and a supportive phone call from my mom got me moving.

By dawn I was standing at my polling place, Church of the Holy Cross, at Eastgate & Glendale. Initially light turnout, by 10 I'd say it had gotten better.

My pitch is pretty simple "Name's Szollosi, running for Council, appreciate your consideration." Some shake hands, some don't, some take my flyer, some don't, some smile, and some don't. I must of had 25 people say they'd support me, and then one guy jumps out of his minivan, I'd say about 55, wearing a Marines cap with what looked like an NRA cap on his dash, and approached me only to say - "Don't even say it, you'd be the last person I'd vote for!" And he went on the rail about my father & grandfather! - My only response: a hearty "SEMPER FI to you too."

With that, I noticed a skin & bones German Sheperd hovering around the parking lot, with a collar. For the next half hour or so it was the dog, Szollosi, and intermittent voters. They say that if in your in politics, and you want a friend, get a dog. So "Cocoa" and I started to bond a little bit after the angry Marine.

In about an hour, a very nice woman looked at the dog's tag and decided she should take it home. We looked up the street on a map, Cocoa jumped into her car, and I was alone again. One woman walked out of the church and said in 20 years I was the first candidate she'd seen standing at Holy Cross. I liked that.

It's nice to stand at your own precinct and meet folks you've waved at while driving through the neighborhood all summer - but in the afternoon I'll probably be heading north.

Around 9:30am a gentlemen pulled up in a flawless, creme leather Lincoln Town Car, his intitials on his license plates. We shook hands and he pledged me his vote. A couple minutes later he walked out, chagrined, and announced I had in fact just lost a vote. Wha? "They won't let me vote - said I requested an absentee ballot, but I never got it, never voted yet." Here we go... "Go back in, tell them you want to vote a blue provisional ballot, federal law gives you the right to vote this morning." So he went back in. I shook some more hands. And he came back out really fuming. "They called down to the Board and told me I had to vote downtown. I'm not going downtown." 5 years after Florida and this sort of thing still happens - even in Republican precincts! He had backed his car halfway out, I grabbed my cell phone, and asked him to stop "We have election protection lawyers standing by for this sort of thing, wait a minute," I said. So he stopped. A couple minutes later, one of our Democratic attorney's pulled in with impeccable timing. The gentlemen explained his plight, saying "Carty sent me an absentee ballot application, I sent it in, but don't believe I ever got my ballot." Great, I thought, another vote for Finkbeiner. The attorney went back in with him a third time, and in a few minutes he reappeared saying, "The Board will have a clerk waiting for me on Jackson Street in front of Government Center & I'll vote in my car." According to the attorney who went in with him, the gentleman exclaimed that it must have been Carty's fault.

Soon, my wife and son came to join me. I set her up and took Lucas to preschool. Went to get some gas, granola, chocolate and powerbars for volunteers, and stopped off at Glendale-Fielbach to see Karyn McConnell Hancock and some Phil Copeland volunteers to give them some snacks.

While I was gone from Holy Cross Rob Ludeman showed up with a cameraman from WNWO-24 - always sorry to miss the press.

A hot, dry and inspiring morning. Will check back in later...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Szollosi Endorsements

I'd like to thank my family, my wife Wednesday and son Lucas, as well as my parents and grandparents. Our family has a rich history here in the Toledo-area, and I remain committed to working hard for a better economy, better jobs, safer neighborhoods, and responsive city services. I will continue to work together for Toledo's future.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed in some way to my success as a Councilman and to those who've contributed to my campaign.

Thank you to the rank-and-file women and men who are supporting my candidacy through the following organizations, as well as to the executive board and officers who's good judgment and loyalty I'll always remember:

United Auto Workers

Toledo Federation of Teachers

Northwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights

Laborer's Local 500

Iron Workers Local 55

Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 50

Associated General Contractors

Toledo Fire Fighters Local 92

LucasCountyDemocrats.org


I am also grateful for the support of Mayor Jack Ford and my colleagues on City Council, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Lucas County Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Pete Gerken, State Senator Teresa Fedor, Oregon City Councilman (& brother) Matt Szollosi and Ohio House Democratic Leader Chris Redfern, among many fellow elected Democrats.

Finally, I thank each and every citizen in Toledo for the opportunity to serve on Toledo City Council. I respectfully ask for your vote to allow me to continue to serve you.

Lucas County Board of Elections has information on candidates, polling locations, and will stream election returns Tuesday night. They are doing a great job this year.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Does it sound like he's changed?

First, Carty shoots his mouth off threatening the redevelopment at Westgate.

Now he insults a professional developer actively recruiting investment into South Toledo.

The combined economic impact to our city of the demolition, construction and renewed commercial activity at Westgate and Southwyck is in the hundreds of millions. We are getting it done, the previous administration had its chance, and instead of supporting progress on jobs and investments, Carty is traveling his well worn path of division and selfishness. Sadly, it's more of the same old "ready, shoot, aim" Carty.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

victoria para unidad

It was a humbling experience this evening to be included in a 'brown-black' unity rally at the south Toledo offices of FLOC, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. For several months there has been unease and division between Toledo's African-American and Latino communities - at least among its leadership. I'm not in a position to explore the specifics, but a major wedge has been the Mayor's race. Forces working against Mayor Ford have targeted the Latino community for political gain. There are so many significant parallels with the latino and black communities - social and economic justice, the need to expand access to health care and child care, and their historic commitments to civil rights.

Mayor Ford has an excellent record of supporting latino candidates, organizations, causes, and families. His efforts with CareNet, for instance, have made priceless contributions to the latino's served. And he founded Adelante - a social service agency primarily benefiting the latino community.

A giant among men, Baldemar Velasquez, International President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, made an impassioned endorsement of Mayor Jack Ford this evening. Mayor Ford expressed unequivocal endorsement of the record number of latino and latina candidates running for office in Toledo this year: Bob Vasquez for City Council At-Large, Lisa Canales-Flores for Council District 6, Bob Torres for Toledo School Board and Lourdes Santiago for Judge. In fact, all the candidates in the room had support pledged to them.

Several African-American and Latino/Latina elected officials and activists participated, shared expressions of solidarity and support - and Baldemar asked everyone in the room to pull out all stops for the Mayor, and all the candidates. Justice, unity, truth, solidarity, loyalty - it was one of the best moments of the year.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Council Profiles

This week's online edition of the Toledo Free Press includes statements by my fellow candidates for City Council.

About a week ago Tom Troy did a similar piece in The Blade.

For my top picks for Toledo City Council, click here.

Southwyck Town Hall Meeting

Southwyck developer Larry Dillin and Mayor Jack Ford will conduct a Town Hall Meeting Thursday evening in the center court of the old mall at 5:30pm. Mayor Ford is credited as being the catalyst for Dillin's agreement with the owners of the aging mall - having twice quietly criss-crossed the country and holding countless conference calls to spur action.

My colleagues Louis Escobar and Rob Ludeman and I are also co-sponsors of the forum. Thanks to Mr. Dillin for agreeing to engage with residents of our community as he develops his exciting plans for that great location. Council candidate Bob Vasquez, who lives less than a minute from Southwyck, also encouraged city officials to hear from the malls neighbor to explore Dillin's vision of mixed use commercial, retail and residential. The meeting is open to the public, and I encourage you to attend.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Work



Couldn't find an older image of Toledo's Labor Day parade, though I've been attending them since I was my son's age. This image from Buffalo, 1900, with the flags proudly waving and the disciplined cadence of the workers, is a compliment to over a century of contributions by the labor movement to our country - the forty hour work week, the weekend, the elimination of child labor, continual improvement in workplace safety, innovation and productivity gains, health and pension benefits, and the right to organize and pursue better wages - whether in a union or not, everyone has benefited. The urgency of today's labor movement is reflected in the turmoil engulfing its leadership and in recent polling that suggests 53% of American workers would join a union tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself.



Over 100 years ago Toledo Mayor Samuel 'Golden Rule' Jones put into words what can only be described as Toledo's enduring mission: putting people to work. Note the diversity of the workforce, circa 1902, south Toledo.



This image from the 1940's is a credit to the rugged workers who have built Jeeps in Toledo for decades. The tradition continues, with 7 new supplier parts plants, and beginning in 2006, an increase in output at the new Stickney Jeep Assembly from roughly 250,000 trucks per year to 450,000 trucks per year. It is incumbent on our region to lead the world in automotive technology and research.



Technical precision was required by women working on Toledo Scales, 1960. Today, hundreds of new engineering jobs have been brought in by Dana Corporation, and our universities are transforming themselves into research institutions. Regional photovoltaic and alternative energy research & commercialization continues to receive an increasing share of federal, state and private investments.



The Toledo Broadway Street Water Works, circa 1910. I'm proud that we are investing $450 million now to replace sections of that 1910 sewer system - putting people like these guys to work in building, construction and engineering.



These ironworkers share a moment with the Toledo skyline, 1930, as they contruct the Anthony Wayne "High Level" Bridge. Of course, 75 years later, their brothers and sisters continue their dangerous craft on our new Maumee River Crossing.

What about our future? I believe in a regional approach. A collaborative effort with our regional economic development partners continues - and is creating jobs (did I mention the new 7 Jeep parts suppliers & hundreds of new jobs.) In short order, the City of Toledo and Lucas County economic development staffs will be working together, partnering with a beefed up Regional Growth Partnership, among others. We have got to work, work, work to overcome the punishing effects of globalization, to not only diversify our economy, but to invest and excel in what our workforce already does better than anybody, anywhere else.

photo credits: Buffalo image: "Labor Day Parade, Main Street, Buffalo, New York. "Detroit Publishing Company circa 1900. Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920, American Memory collections, Library of Congress. Other images: Toledo-Lucas County Public Library's Images in Time section.

Billy Shouldn't Shop At Wal-Mart

Click here for one of many good reasons to buy union and avoid anti-union retailers.

Friday, September 02, 2005

'get off your asses and do something'

...so plead the Mayor of New Orleans to state and federal officials. Click here to listen to N.O. Mayor C. Ray Nagin's primal, disturbing radio interview.

"Give money till it hurts," I heard someone say this afternoon. As of 2:00pm today, $200,000 has been donated to our Toledo Red Cross for Katrina relief, according to its crackerjack director, Tim Yenrick.

Yenrick also confirmed that 30 refugees have taken up with family in Toledo.

I heard on the radio just before six about a convoy of Toledo buses leaving tonight and loading up provisions & so I dropped off 10 cases of water. Figure out where else to donate water and non-perishable food.

So many have already done so much locally, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has done anything to help.

Resist the urge to just get in your car and drive south. Call the Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross and sign up for next weekend's Disaster College here in Toledo - get trained and give your time and talents to saving lives. 419-329-6060 or call 2-1-1.

The Salvation Army has an interesting communications tool for families, friends and rescuers down south.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper presses were flooded - it could only publish on-line for three days - and has essential coverage, including a bulletin board for families and loved ones to reconnect. At one point today I heard that over 7,000 people are reported missing.

Offer your home or other places for refugees to stay on ebay.com

Mayor Ford, in the forum with almost a hundred clergy this afternoon at City Hall, asked Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur to appropriate federal resources into permanent housing solutions for refugees, including using some of $10.5 billion to relocate refugees into homes in cities like Toledo. TPS will enroll students immediately. Commissioners President Wozniak pledged the support of the myriad human services offered here in Lucas County. A woman interrupted the forum this afternoon and plead with Rep. Kaptur to make things happen - now - to rescue people. Send in as much military as it takes, send as many planes and buses as it takes, just get those folks out of harms way. I am grateful that Marcy flew in after voting on the emergency aid back in DC for our forum, I am also grateful to the woman who spoke up, for as she said, "being a voice" for those still trapped in their attics and destroyed neighborhoods in oppressive southern summer heat and humidity.

A tough post this morning by Tim Tagaris at GrowOhio.org

Yeah, the Bush Administration's budget slashed flood control programs in Louisiana, slashed money for the Army Corps of Engineers efforts to strengthen the levees, to say nothing of platooning the Louisiana National Guard in Iraq as N.O. and other smaller communities see babies, women, children, men, the disabled and the old & frail perish day-by-day. Corpses float and are being eaten and are rotting on American streets as I type this evening.

But, people in Louisiana have been talking about the "bowl effect" for years - when they saw the storm coming, why didn't Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin and the President demand that supplies, personnel, and contingency plans go into effect before landfall? Why not have 3,000 pound sandbags and jersey berms already at the levees? Our government was not prepared - and they should have been. (Check this memo out, the state asked the feds for help on August 28) We have hard lessons to learn.

As great a calamity as Katrina is, the south once struggled with similar hardships during the Civil War and through Reconstruction, 1866-1877. Race, economics, the organization (and response) of governments - these are enduring, open questions.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Toledo's Heart

As shocking, saddening images and stories continue to pour in from our Gulf Coast, Mayor Ford and other leaders are drawing up an appropriate response. So many citizen heroes in our community have already taken the initiative in reaching out, from the International Services of Hope to our local Red Cross chapter. It is a time for everyone in our community to join together and offer aid to the suffering.

I participated in a conference call late this afternoon organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at Mayor Ford's invitation.

On the line were top FEMA and White House officials, along with mayors from coast to coast, to go over plans to mitigate the disaster.

Dan Craig, of FEMA, listed the priorities: First, life safety - rescuing the stranded, evacuating the Superdome, etc. Second, law enforcement - activating the Guard, restoring law & order. Third, life sustainment - the logistics of food, water, and essential medicine. Fourth, housing - there are 500,000 evacuees from the City of New Orleans, and tens of thousands more from across the region.

He indicated that it would take 6 months to "unwater New Orleans" after which it would be a few more months to clear debris, then begin the process of restoration - that in itself is a debated point.

Craig also reiterated that cash donations were most preferred, that any personnel offered should be run through each state's emergency management agency, which is working hand-in-hand with FEMA. A toll free "800" number will be released Friday to serve as a national clearinghouse of help and information for survivors.

One of the most pressing issues relayed to The White House from several Mayors were reports that as many as 52 Gulf Coast region small town Mayors were not receiving any help whatsoever from FEMA or their state's EMA. It was reported that some of these small town Mayor's were crying, and in one case, that all the senior citizens in a particular small town had perished from a lack of food, water and medicine.

Another major topic was offers of housing, schools and residency. FEMA will give a refugee as much as $25,000 to start over someplace else. "Permanent relocation." They are also spending $1.4 billion on travel trailers - "buying them as fast as they are built." Cities are also being faxed "housing questionnaires" to give FEMA planners data on where there are available hospital & nursing home beds, as well as temporary and potentially permanent shelter. Many Mayors were offering state parks, closed military bases and college dormitories.

Mayor Don Plusquillic of Akron will be coordinating with Ohio's big city Mayors on fire fighters and other emergency personnel. Mayor Ford is taking the lead locally, along with Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, and has called an interdenominational meeting Friday at 2:00pm with clergy and religious leaders across all faiths in our area to marshal resources, and presumably, to appeal to God for mercy for the survivors and rescuers in our American South.