Tuesday, March 29, 2005

It's Good to be the King (Mayor)

Well, Toledo Mayor Jack Ford has found a good deal to support his re-election campaign. The mayor has founded a new program for "stimulating economic development" in town. This consists of using tax payer money to put up billboards with his face and name on them. These billboards are going to be placed in such far reaching places at Toledo, Toledo, and Toledo. You might think that if you were trying to stimulate economic development in Toledo, you might try to advertise the city in another market rather than here at home. You might also try to highlight the benefits of locating your business in Toledo rather than just the name and face of the mayor.

At first, the only ones calling this economic development program into question were republicans (the few that live in Toledo). But now, democratic supporters including The Toledo Blade (one of America's great newspapers) are starting to realize how this is a poorly disguised re-election campaign rather than an economic development plan.

IN AN election year, Mayor Jack Ford's new "Toledo Works" publicity campaign doesn't pass the political straight-face test, and the $24,600 in city money spent on it can be legitimately questioned.

Yes, that's right, nearly $30k was allocated for this project. That is tax money. Money taken from my paycheck to support city services, not a re-election campaign. By the way, the money was pulled out of three seperate city departments to avoid having to go to the city councle.

Add to it, the continued streaching of the truth, the issue stinks even more. Back in '04 Mayor Ford traveled to this little political rally, the Democratic National Convention, in Boston and made the outrageous claim that President Bush lost 15,000 jobs in Toledo. He then went on to relate how Bu$hHitler ran an auto parts firm out of town, neglecting to mention tha the auto parts company made chrome bumpers, which are not used on cars anymore.

Now Mayor Ford takes credit for creating jobs and helping a company, outside of Toledo, expand.

The site, referred to on the billboards, declares boldly that Toledo is "a model for economic progress by adding more than 2,800 new jobs in the past three years." It points to "signature projects" like the Jeep plant expansion and Dana Corp.'s technology center - even though the Dana facility is outside the city.

That is still a job loss of 12,200 on your watch Mayor Ford.

The Blade says that the campaign doesn't pass the "smell test."

Even the most hard-boiled political consultant would have difficulty suppressing a smile while claiming otherwise. A quick look at the Web site leaves doubt that the campaign is Mr. Ford's re-election manifesto.

I say the whole thing doesn't pass the smell test. It stinks all the way to city hall.