Mar 30, 2009

Take Back Toledo Gathers Signatures

Volunteers from Take Back Toledo set up shop in a vacant lot in West Toledo today in their efforts to gather petition signatures to place an initiative on the ballot to recall Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. The folks I spoke with said that they were "pretty busy" today at the intersection of Secor and Laskey, though they did not offer any specifics on the number of people signing the petition.

In the ten minutes or so that I meandered about, I saw six people pull in the lot and fill out the petition, which would translate into a few hundred people over the course of a day.

Interestingly, a city road crew set up shop on both sides of Secor, closing the road down to one lane for both northbound and southbound traffic. Now, I am not a conspiracy nut, and there have been some water main problems nearby recently, but it certainly is curious that motorists would be so inconvenienced on the same day that Take Back Toledo happened to be nearby.

But hey: perhaps the warm sunny day was just ideal for road work.

I have mixed feelings about the petition drive. One part of me believes that anti-Carty activists would be better off funneling this energy and money into a viable challenger to Finkbeiner, who is also expected to run for re-election in the fall. The TBT campaign received a significant boost from local news-talk station WSPD and its Clear Channel partners in town, which have been running pro-TBT ads featuring Clear Channel VP Andy Stuart.

I used to think TBT might fail to make the ballot because of the antics of WSPD's Brian Wilson, who regularly refers to Finkbeiner with such epithets as "Mayor Pantload" and "S for Brains." I now think that Loose Cannon Brian will end up making Carty look like a victim, and on-the-fence people will vote for Carty because they think he's being unfairly demonized.

Which, of course, he is. WSPD is breaking new ground by throwing all its weight behind TBT, but do we really want powerful media outlets being local political power brokers? Yes, John Robinson Block and the Toledo Blade are at times guilty of this, but at least they put on the appearance of impartiality in the news, and they limit their shilling to op-ed pieces and photo ops. I have been hearing nonstop TBT ads featuring Andy Stuart on every Clear Channel stations for weeks now, and the local talk shows on WSPD are attacking Finkbeiner and pimping TBT at a furious pace.

Very strange.

Carty may be a corrosive force in the city's recovery, but Wilson and Stewart could singlehandedly turn him into a martyr with whom people will sympathize. The 2007 recall campaign by local activist Tom Morrissey was seen as a grass-roots effort by average citizens, but Carty's people will turn this into a "Clear Channel vs. Aw-Shucks-It's-Just-Me-Carty" farce.

"Yes, it's Mr. Finkbeiner, Man of the People, taking on Big, Bad Corporate America," or so says the imagined campaign ad in my head. In the middle of a major recession and AIG-bailout anger, I suspect that this message will play well among the sheeple.

In the meantime, though, folks can follow the above link to Take Back Toledo if they want to learn about volunteering or signing a petition. At the very least, the issue is worthy of consideration on a ballot.

But can you imagine how strange this city's politics would be if Carty Finkbeiner lost a recall election in August but won in November during the general election? Only in Toledo could such a bizarre electoral drama play out.


chrismyers said...

I see enough people so sick of Carty, the only way it will turn into sympathy is if things were going well. I guess we will find out.

Hooda Thunkit said...


You're right in that WSPD, Brian Wilson and Andy Stuart constantly pimping for the recall is getting to be a bit over the top; frankly, I'm getting a bit tired of it myself.

"Only in Toledo could such a bizarre electoral drama play out."

True enough, considering that "We the Sheeple" ARE apparently incapable of learning from history....

Tim Higgins said...


Perhaps it is only by such an over-the-top performance that the people of Toledo are stirred from their apparent coma to take an interest in their surroundings. While perhaps not agreeing with some of the more extreme comments (at least not in public), I am happy at least to see such an effort take place.

Mad Jack said...

Road crews blocking the access? Sure it's possible. Consider the fiasco with the bike path protest and subsequent police harassment of the protesters.

Bernie said...

There's enough criticizing to go around,but where are the solutions? A better city council may be the answer. Carty has done more for the city then so many others,and has no one to work with. He is a strong Mayor,maybe not strong enough! Which one of you have NOT blown off steam when things are overwhelming or you are not making progress? Almost every city in the U.S. is having trouble.
Thanks to the world situation and the previous administration. Don't we all wish we had the billions back that was sunk into Iraq? If you don't wish we had all the boys back,and the mental and physical injuries eliminated,something is seriously wrong with this generation. We'll be paying for the war forever in one way or another.
So to solve this problem that no one can solve in Toledo,may be kneeling down and praying is the answer.No no wants to take a cut in pay or shorten their work week,hence the lay offs. We can't have it all,unless you own your own business,and know the short cuts.
Complaints about roads,floods,trash pick-ups, taxes,parks,swimming pools etc. etc. are bounding and sometimes laughable. The crews can't be everywhere . Take a deep breath,chill out! There are reasonable answers and please stop harassing a man who is at least trying. Think about it. None of you are any better or any worse then your Mayor. You have all made mistakes. Hopefully this harassing will get him elected again. Or hopefully the next Mayor will be perfect.
Five months until elections. People ,get off your duffs with good ideas and get to work! Who knows,maybe all new blood will be the answer.