Port Authority touts self in video

$4,300 spent for 7-minute animation posted on Web


The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has created a seven-minute animated video explaining the agency’s functions and contributions to the Toledo area.

The program is to be available on port authority Web sites — including its new tourtheport.com site that contains another video specifically describing Maumee River terminals, both public and private — and also will be shown during port staff’s speaking engagements, port President Paul Toth explained to the agency’s board of directors last week.

“As the levy campaign starts, we can use it to show to groups,” said Nadeem Salem, the port board’s vice chairman, referring to the 0.4-mill tax renewal the port board has placed on the Nov. 5 ballot.

But Holly Kemler, the port authority’s communications manager and a co-producer of the video, said the program has been in development since late last year, well before the port board decided to seek the levy renewal.

And its script is careful to avoid any mention of the levy, much less promoting its renewal, so as to sidestep any potential assertion that it was developed as a campaign tool, for which Ohio law would prohibit the use of public funds.

The closest it comes to that ethical precipice is occasional mentions of the port authority’s receipt of public funds and thanking the public for its support of the agency.

The port authority paid Allied Media Group Inc. of Toledo $4,300 to create the video. Allied Media’s owner, Phil Morisay, is listed as a co-producer. The video is on YouTube under the title “Do You Know the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority?”

The video describes the port authority’s five primary areas of operation: Toledo’s Lake Erie port, its two airports, and the agency’s “brownfields” redevelopment, business financing, and Better Buildings energy-efficiency programs.

The program touts the seaport’s and airports’ importance to the regional economy, including promoting the Ohio Air National Guard 180th Fighter Wing at Toledo Express Airport as well as passenger service there.

During the last five years, it notes, the port authority brought $83 million in state and federal grants into metro Toledo, using $10.5 million in local funds as matches. Port programs and operations support 10,000 jobs that generate $1 billion in economic activity, according to the presentation.

The video can be broken down into shorter individual segments for showing to targeted audiences, Ms. Kemler said.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.