Friday, October 07, 2005

First Full On Council Forum

The League of Women Voters and The Urban League Young Professionals sponsored a Toledo City Council Forum Thursday evening at The University of Toledo. 11 of the 12 candidates for At-large City Council participated. It was our first formal candidate debate of the campaign - and things went reasonably well. Only certain candidates were asked certain questions to allow for greater variety of topics. Here are some questions I wrote down and my (non-verbatim) answers:

1. What does Council do? I didnt have to answer this one, so here I submit Council's homepage.

2. Council is a part-time job, how will you use your time? Managing time is critical. Balancing life as a father & husband, growing my consulting business, and devotion to public service is challenging. I will continue to give great energy, be creative, and not be afraid to take risks.

3. How do you handle constituent services? (I didnt get to answer this one.) I give each request equal attention, and attempt to respond as soon as possible. We field email, phone, mail, and walk-in requests. I also tap issues into my PalmPilot when I'm out in the community. People have previously used blogs to address issues to me, which is cool.

4. Do you support city intiatives for minority owned businesses? Yes. Small businesses lead other enterprises in job creation. This is reflected in our income tax reciepts - Toledo has realized modest growth in small business employment the past year. I support the UT Capacity Building initiative run by Ken Dobson, which has received state, federal, city and significant private funding. The $450 storm water renewal project is another example of help for minority & in fact all businesses. The Responsible Contracting Ordinance that I introduced in 2003 included help for all local workers, including women & minority businesses, thanks to the input of colleagues such as Karyn McConnell Hancock.

5. Living Wage support? Yes. Here's a reason.

6. Arena site? (I didn't get to answer this one either, but, being a good sport, will give it a shot.) I'm an East Toledo partisan, and I respect the intent of the voters in the '01 Section 79 vote. I also remember working for the Board of County Commissioners, along with Tom Chema and Pat Zohn, on the wildly successful Ballpark Project, and I'm currently part of an arena working group with the county. It has to be a public-private partnership. Identifying $50 to $60 million for construction and management is daunting - especially for what would be private owners of a hockey franchise, and the special management concert and event bookings & promotions would require. Of greater concern is the development of housing, commercial and retail in the Marina District - and the City deserves credit for its skill in property acquisition and remediation, and deserves a break on the development in light of the national "jobless recovery" and the challenge of arena financing. Pizzuti and the City clearly has work ahead.

7. LCIC, RGP, economic development? Kudos to Mayor Ford, Commissioners Gerken & Wozniak, and the regional-minded suburban and township officials who chose to work together in good faith with the new & improved Lucas County Community Improvement Corporation. Kudos as well to private sector leaders who have raised upwards of $9 million to fund the RGP for 5 years. Each agency has a role to play in the retention and attraction of jobs & investment. Now is not the time to go back to "my way or the highway" Finkbeiner. We must work together as a region, utilizing our competitive advantages against regions around the country and the world.

I'm going to bed, check back for responses to the remaining questions:

8. Cut council to 9 from 12?
9. Smart growth vs. suburban sprawl?
10. Toledo as point of destination?
11. Vision for Downtown Toledo?
12. Local political turmoil?
13. Brain drain?
14. New schools?
15. poverty in Toledo?
16. unions & economic development?
17. How to stop domestic violence?
18. TABOR?
Closing statement

38 Comments:

Blogger billy said...

6. Nice dance - you said you'd give it a shot, gave the longest response in the 7 issues you replied to, and didnt say one way or another where you want the arena. How bout you answer the question like this, just say either "Downtown" or "East Side"?

7. You tell how much $$ your side has raised. Big deal - how bout some hard facts of the results garnered with said funds? You say "Each agency has a role to play in the retention and attraction of jobs & investment."
That means exactly what? Once again, you say nothing then turn it into a carty bash. I do like the idea of working together as a region, because even tho toledo is not growing, the region is.

This is going to be an interesting election - this town will always go "D", but now with two "D"'s running, folks are gonna have to stop for a change and think about things. Straightforward, easy to understand answers are going to be what sells the ticket, not doubletalk that leaves folks saying, 'huh?'

8:01 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

lighten up, billy

8:44 AM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

Frank- I was there too and posted my observations on my blog.

What I found most hilarious during the evening were the comments by the two 'bull' boys, McCloskey and Shankland. While the moderator was reading McCloskey's bio, I raised my hand to count 1-2-3-4 times elected to City Council. Bob looked over and tried to stare a hole in me. I smiled back with the 4 still on my fingers. And he wants another 4 terms. The way I see it, he can dodge the term limit referendum the rest of his life and become the permanent member of Toledo City Council.

Then the joker, Shankland, opened his mouth. This guy is more of a right-wing zealot than Russ Limbaugh! And he is endorsed by the real Democratic party??? What was that he said about welfare cheats and getting government off of our backs? And didn't you love his 'I worked my up from my bootstraps' personal story. My question is: 'Up?'

I guess Carty and the real Democratic Party had to go to the highways and byways to cull candidates for Council and they sure got a loser in this Shankland character.

By the way, was Betty Schultz absent because she was waiting for her indictment to be delivered last evening?

8:45 AM  
Blogger runnindog said...

billy asked some good questions and made some importnt points and the best you can do to ansewr them is lighten up?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

at 8 o'clock in the morning, yeah, I went to bed at 1am & wanted to eat breakfast. Are you going to nail me for that too?

10:19 AM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

Billy sez: This is going to be an interesting election - this town will always go "D"
So much for Betty Schultz and George Sarantou?

What attracts Democrats to folks like Sarantou and Dave Schulz is that they are brain-based Republicans with a non-hardened heart.

Get it, Billy?

Regarding your comment, didnt say one way or another where you want the arena, had you attended the forum you would have noted that few if any of the candidates thought that the 'arena' idea was viable due to the Bush economic mess that munincipal entities face. Further, many candidates hedged too. At least Frank is up front with his 'hedge.'

Regarding #7, Frank had the facts, while other respondents blathered in general terms. Seems like you like being a sofa king, Billy. Get off your butt and attend these gatherings so that your comments might be based on what you saw and heard.

When's the next one, Frank, so that Billy can be there in person, and participating with questions from the audience?

10:47 AM  
Blogger billy said...

Congratulations L-D! That might be the stupidest response Ive ever seen!!

"So much for Betty Schultz and George Sarantou?

What attracts Democrats to folks like Sarantou and Dave Schulz is that they are brain-based Republicans with a non-hardened heart.

Get it, Billy?"

First off are you talking about Betty Schultz, or Dave Shultz? You mention them both - also, how is it you stick up for them now and have slammed them elsewhere? Especially Betty?

Then you say "few if any of the candidates thought that the 'arena' idea was viable due to the Bush economic mess that munincipal entities face."

Have you seen Levis Commons? Levis Park Industrial complex? Arrowhead? Perrysburg and Bedford are going to need new high schools due to the residential growth. Dundee just up rt23 is booming with residential, retail and industrial growth. Drive out thru whitehouse and waterville... Guess somebody forgot to tell all those folks about the Bush economic mess.

At least Frank is up front with his 'hedge.'

Now thats just plain funny. Nuff said.

Get off your butt and attend these gatherings so that your comments might be based on what you saw and heard.

So basing my comments on what I 'saw' in print right here isnt good enough?

Anyway - thanks for the yuks on a busy friday afternoon. (by the way, the company I work for right here in toledo is set to have its biggest quarter in history. I guess we didnt hear about GWB's finanical mess either)

Sorry - I'll "lighten up" now.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

billy, your point about every other community doing no wrong has limits. I'm proud of the fact we don't have a halfway completed arena project as in Wood County. Arena contruction & management is a complicated, expensive and risky proposition - much more difficult than the Ballpark Project. Have you ever considered that public hedging about location is a not insignificant play during the property acquisition process? Why not announce our location this afternoon and watch the price for investors & the taxpayers go through the roof.

A number of candidates, challengers mainly, asserted last night that small business was departing Toledo. You can ask Sarantou or the Director of Finance, or better yet, Dr. Paul Kozlowski, an economist at UT. Small business tax reciepts are not only up in Toledo, they are growing more robustly than any other sector of Toledo's economy. Perhaps that's why Mayor Ford is the only Mayor in the Midwest to have received an SBA award from the Bush Administration.

Glad to hear your company is doing well.

2:28 PM  
Blogger runnindog said...

"Small business tax reciepts are not only up in Toledo, they are growing more robustly than any other sector of Toledo's economy. Perhaps that's why Mayor Ford is the only Mayor in the Midwest to have received an SBA award from the Bush Administration."

Or perhaps mayor ford is simply reaping the benefitts of presidnt bush's tax cuts that were aimed specificaly at small businness owners to jump-start the economy. oh i forgot-good things that happen are the mayors job and bad things are bushs fault.

3:36 PM  
Blogger billy said...

"billy, your point about every other community doing no wrong has limits"

It sure would - if that was my point. My point was addressed to LD, when he said "few if any of the candidates thought that the 'arena' idea was viable due to the Bush economic mess that munincipal entities face."

My point was to point out that "municipal entities" all around us are finding ways to grow and prosper instead of whining and pointing fingers.

6:13 PM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

So Bily, let's say that you wer on Toledo City Council. Tell us your plan for hte arena, including financing.

8:13 PM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

billy said the company I work for right here in toledo is set to have its biggest quarter in history. I guess we didnt hear about GWB's finanical mess either)


Gosh, I didn't know that Halliburton has an office in Toledo!

8:21 PM  
Blogger billy said...

be happy to. I asked a couple questions first tho. so did runnindog.

8:22 PM  
Blogger historymike said...

When is the next candidate forum, Frank?

I didn't find out about yesterday's until it was too late. Would have liked to have been there.

8:57 PM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

I noticed that Betty [absent] Schultz was able to ride in the UT Homecoming Parade yesterday. And like her re-election signs on public property, she ignored the 'no politics' rule for the parade.

There she was [or was that her grandmother?] with her RE-ELECT BETTY SCHULTZ signs plastered to the car as she toured the Old Orchard neighborhood, much akin to the Queen of England.

7:29 AM  
Blogger historymike said...

Another interesting note on Betty Schultz: on some of her signs she is using a photo, and it is the same photo that graces her Council biography:.

A photo, alas, that must be from the 1980s, or for which a fair amount of Photo-Shopping has been added.

Look, I used to wait tables at a toney local restaurant, and Schultz would frequently sit in my section (this was 2001-2003). Let's just say that the Betty Schultz today and the Betty Schultz in the photo look very different.

Do truth in advertising laws apply to political ads? Should politicians have to keep their photos up-to-date?

10:26 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"liberaldem" good point. I’d expect more from ‘Billy’ than just complaints. Where is his plan?

Billy seems to like to set up unanswerable questions like "East side or Downtown?" The only realistic answer is where the MARKET can sustain it. We don't need Frank or ANYONE on council to play market analyst, just to be smart enough to read the studies out there that say where an arena should be built and make sure it does not harm the city, it residents, or the neighborhood where it will be built.

I just got back from NYC which is a marvelous collection of diversity and a study in when politics and economic development sometimes cooperate, sometimes clash. We are facing urban issues here as in the boroughs of NYC. Though a Dem to the core, I must point out that the market always wins. Elected officials can serve up incentives, which is good. They can help protect neighborhoods from development that devalues and depreciates the local area, which is good. They can even help ensure that local labor is utilized before outsourcing when building and developing, great! In any size city, elected officials cannot determine or legislate market needs or demands. They can typically only respond to them, with good information and a progressive philosophy, they can sometimes prepare for them. The sprawl versus increasing density issue is easy. To sustain and grow downtown, you need greater density. A solid core to a city is essential. I would argue that only one successful city in the US does not have a solid core, that is Los Angeles. Every other has a dense center that is desirable to residential, retail, and cooperate all at the same time. Toledo, I do not think has met that critical mass. The 'white flight' that drove people from the central city and downtown is being repalaced by more progressive thinkers (Mayor Ford included) which will continue to help develop some very desirable areas of downtown, uptown, and the warehouse district. Elected officials can help, but cannot directly control this growth.

Billy seems to simply be asking Frank to insult his East Side loyalties and constituants, when we know darn well the economic viability study suggests Downtown to be a more viable venue for an area.

Carty should know about market related issues, why the hell did he not get the thing built when he was Mayor during one of the most prosperous times in Toledo history?

Dan

10:46 PM  
Blogger billy said...

"Billy seems to simply be asking Frank to insult his East Side loyalties and constituants, when we know darn well the economic viability study suggests Downtown to be a more viable venue for an area."

No, what Im asking is for somebody - anybody to say whats being done on either side - hell, I voted for it on 9-11-01, its over 4 years later and still nothing, but its a talking point for everyone.

Why do I get to be the bad guy just for asking the question that's on everybodys mind? seeing as how it was on the ballot, was there not a plan for it to begin with?

I dont remember the ballot asking do you want to go ahead with this, and please write in how you are going to fund it.

and if its un fundable - fine - say it!

But Im not gonna lose any sleep over it, Carty wont answer my questions on the stuff he does that's 'just not right' either.

2:53 PM  
Blogger runnindog said...

billy said...
6. Nice dance - you said you'd give it a shot, gave the longest response in the 7 issues you replied to, and didnt say one way or another where you want the arena. How bout you answer the question like this, just say either "Downtown" or "East Side"?


Billy- frank already answered it, back in febuary.

from Frank's post on Feb. 25-
"The East Side site is the choice of the Mayor, myself and several of my colleagues - out of respect to voters who approved the location with the Section 79 vote."

but now that the mayor is flip-flopping on it, so is frank. typical.

10:06 AM  
Blogger billy said...

here's something kinda ironic:

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030701/NEWS16/107010065

the proposal to put the arena downtown was brought to light by none other than RAY KEST!!!

So now Ford and Frank are siding with Kest and company, and Carty has said that if we put the arena in any place other than the east side it must be approved by voters.

So can we finally be rid of this business of pairing Carty up with Kest and company at every post?

7:49 AM  
Blogger Robert B. Scott, esq. said...

Frank,

Here's a question.

Why won't you authorize the Blade to check your credit records and do a criminal background check on you, just like the city does for every city employee?

12:25 PM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

Why won't you authorize the Blade to check your credit records

Seems to me that the Blade has no business requesting nor authorizing a credit check on a City Council candidate or member. Would YOU give your SS# and authorize 'someone' to look into your credit? I doubt it.

Looks like the Blade is looking for another Pulitzer, but is dealing with small potatoes.

2:18 PM  
Blogger billy said...

"Seems to me that the Blade has no business requesting nor authorizing a credit check on a City Council candidate or member. Would YOU give your SS# and authorize 'someone' to look into your credit? I doubt it."

You guys are truly hilarious. You all think that history began yesterday.

Where were you and all your complaints when the shoe was on the other foot in 2001 when everybody was all up in Ray Kest's credit records??

They not only quoted figures, but commented on different expenses he chose to use his credit cards on - remember his daughter's tuition??

But now that the scope's on the "A" Team its all just a terrible crime...

What comes around goes around.

4:37 PM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

"It's good enough for us, just not quite good enough for them."

Frank's done everything he can to avoid my question I posed to him on another thread, so don't expect an answer, Billy.

It truly cracks me up to watch the selective posts Frank choses to respond to. Why NOT open up your personal information, Frank?

As they do with insurance, credit cards or a lucrative career promotion, your credit report will soon determine the validity of your existance. It won't be too soon in the future before the voters expect a credit history before you run for office.

Be the trendsetter you've set yourself out to be, Frank. Set the initiative, unite the Democratic Party in Northwest Ohio! EXPOSE YOUR CREDIT HISTORY!!!!

Unless, of course, you have something to hide.

5:36 PM  
Blogger !@#$%^& said...

Brian and Billy are by far the two biggest idiots ever to soil this forum, and that is saying something. Criminal background check - absolutely, personal credit history - no way. What assurance does Frank or any other candidate have as to the security of his personal information once it is signed over to The Blade?

"Unless, of course, you have something to hide."

- Here's an idea, why don't we just dunk each of the candidates in a tank of water, the one that drowns will be posthumously awarded the victory.

Kudos to Frank and the others for drawing a perfectly reasonable line and saying no.

7:48 PM  
Blogger billy said...

Just a second there !@#$%^, I never said anyone should divulge their credit history - where did you get that?

I'd tell the Blade to go pound sand. The point I was making that you didnt grasp, was the hypocracy of how it was just fine when the Blade printed all of Kest's info back in 2001, but its a major problem now.

Hell yes the A team should protest this, but the time to protest was years ago, before they let the Blade make a precident. Now they come off as hypocrites.

Im sorry you missed that there !@#$%^ - next time I'll type slower.

And by the way, I think Kest is and was a crook and he didnt get my vote, but if these guys want to pretend to represent us, then they should call foul when ever they see it, not just when the foul is called on their team.

Take care.

9:11 PM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

Unless, of course, you have something to hide.

Are you the same right-winger who tells us not to try DeLay, Frist, Rove, and Libby 'in the press?'

I thought so.

9:28 PM  
Blogger !@#$%^& said...

That's right Billy, you never said Frank should have given in to the request. But my point, as I type slowly for you, is that you would rather use the issue as pretext for yet another lame Ray Kest comment, instead of seeing the much bigger issue involved here.

And by the way, the word is - hypocrisy.

9:53 PM  
Blogger billy said...

the bigger issue that no one should have to have his personal finances being made public? No, I was addressing that.

And I apologise for my spelling error, you nameless coward

10:02 PM  
Blogger !@#$%^& said...

That's mighty big of you, "billy".

Thanks.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The issue here is that The Blade did not clearly identify why they wanted this private financial information. They did not indicate a clear chain of custody assuring protection of this information. Poor journalism, and risky business for anyone giving out that information.

Secondly, this information (a credit check) is not only about the candidate, it includes private information about their families or friends, and this does not seem like a fair request to me. Why should my wife's information be published in The Blade because I am a candidate for something. We own a house, cars, etc., together with credit. Her information would be as public as mine. I would not subject my family to such an intrusive and risky request even with the good credit I have.

The "A" team "B" team, and Republicans ALL should have cried foul a while back Billy. Not fair though to inlude new candidates in that bunch...

FYI, The Blade has also recently asked some candidates for copies of their last few 1040 Federal income tax returns... anyone want to comment on that? Anyone careless enough to hand that information over without assurances of safeguards?



Dan

10:48 PM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

It's because the Blade's allegence has swung to Carty's camp, that's why.

It's painfully obvious that the present administration has no fiscal responsibility, and if a City Councilperson is going to dispense my tax money, I want that money to be spent frugally. Giving away $300,000 to a campaign contributor isn't frugal spending.

There's going to come a time where the people left aren't going to fund any of these stupid ideas that are conjured up on the 22nd floor of 604 Jackson, and I'll bet the Szollozi/Ford gang will be long gone.

5:28 AM  
Blogger billy said...

I heard an interesting tidbit yesterday - we all know that the block family also owns the pittsburg paper as well as the blade.

it so happens that pittsburg is also haveing a mayoral race and council election.

no such financial requests have been made of the pittsburg candidates.

think maybe its time we all - A team, B team, Republicans - stood together and told somebody that we're not putting up with his crap anymore?

6:02 AM  
Blogger liberal_dem said...

It's painfully obvious that the present administration has no fiscal responsibility,

Painfully obvious? Nice joke!

The only 'pain' that I know of is the $15,000,000 bill Carty stuck Ford with upon his arrival at One Gov't. Center.

Might I conclude that it is 'painfully obvious' that you are an uninformed bloke who hates the mayor?

7:36 AM  
Blogger RJ said...

If there have been no credit check requests in the Pittsburgh mayoral election, maybe it's because they have an actual two-party race going on. In Toledo there's no danger of a Republican outshining a Dem in a credit score race. Possibly not the same situation in Pburgh, and the Blocks might be reluctant to open that can of worms.

8:31 AM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

liberal_dem,

It's "painfully obvious" that Toledo has voted these two nit wits into the primary, so apparently Toledo dosen't feel as you do.

As far as the $15 million anchor Carty left? Compensate that with the businesses that have either closed or moved out of Toledo since Jack became mayor.

Compensate the loss of tax income from the employees, the company, the sales taxes the corporate taxes the taxes on the land, assorted purchase taxes affiliated with consumer goods these people would have purchased, blah blah.

Let's not factor in the population losses since 2001 either, ok?

Don't be tossing the "uninformed" card unless you're guaranteed the pot.

5:13 AM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

Well, it's been a week and LD has posted on other threads since I left the above post. Afforded every opprotunity to respond to his calling me out, my leaving the facts may have created anxiety to respond, seeing my not being "uninformed" and all, LD will resort to belittling me for leaving this.

He could have been "proactive" when he'll always be "re-active." I just hope his retort is more amusing than his calling me out, "bloke".

6:01 AM  
Blogger BrianInVero said...

HEY LD, way to defend your stance.
I just went a week without power after going through a hurricane and this is all you got?

Nothing?

LD, you've just relegated yourself down to a simple typist with an opinion.

5:11 AM  

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