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Published: Wednesday, 6/8/2005

A good idea in trouble

THE outlook for a Toledo-Lucas County plan to merge economic development efforts as the Lucas County Improvement Corp., looked rosy last week, after Springfield Township dropped its lawsuit tied to language about annexation. Then it crashed.

Why? Apparently because some township officials objected to the fact that the county and the city would control LCIC's executive board appointments, and hence LCIC operations.

What did they, or GOP County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, who supports them, expect? The city was set to put $1.1 million into the effort, and the county $635,000. As far as is known, no suburb comes close.

Taking a pointless political swipe at Ms. Thurber, a Republican, Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, a Democrat, said she wanted "to stack the board with township folks and seek to take majority control of the executive committee." Apparently this would occur by letting them name two private sector members to the board, a proposition Ms. Thurber said she thought was no longer in play.

She said she just wanted some assurance that township officials had a say before decisions were made. That makes sense. Springfield Township Trustee Andy Glenn appears to be one of them with a strong yen to be included. He also seems to want to be in charge.

Just as deadlocked jurors must often go back and deliberate further to come to unanimity, these politicians must regroup and go at this key effort at regionalism until they get it done.

The city and county governments, both now controlled by Democrats, must assure some representation of Republicans and/or suburbanites on this critical body. It is also up to them to allay the ever-present city-suburb distrust.

The suburbs, for their part, need to face up to the notion that until they put more money into the effort and until they elect a county commissioner majority or a Toledo mayor, they will be the loyal opposition to city and county leaders who are now mostly Democrats. In that capacity, they are vital to the success of countywide economic development.

Mr. Glenn must face the fact that majority rule is a basic democratic tenet. He can't get exercised that the majority won't do what he wants unless they want it, too.

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