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Published: 2/25/2009

A question of trust

MOST Toledoans know Republican Jim Moody as the candidate who moved in from Sylvania Township last summer so he could run for mayor of Toledo this year. Now they also know him as the kind of guy who would appropriate a political opponent's Internet address for the fun of it.

Petty might well be a more accurate descriptor. At any rate, it isn't the kind of notoriety we would want if we were running for public office in a city where people were still getting to know us.

As Mr. Moody told Blade politics writer Tom Troy, he and his nephew, Mark Kidman, were sitting around, perhaps in a tavern, last Aug. 8, discussing Mr. Moody's potential run for mayor, when Mr. Kidman bought a number of Web addresses for Mr. Moody. Among the domain names were several Mr. Moody could use if he ran, including moodyformayor.com.

But he didn't stop there. Instead, he and his nephew apparently decided it would be a hoot to buy the domain name Keith Wilkowski had used in his 2005 mayoral campaign: wilkowskiformayor.com. They also bought up several other variations with Mr. Wilkowski's name.

The question is, of course, why?

Entrepreneurial types buy Web site names in the hope they can sell them for a profit, but that's probably not the case here. Mr. Moody also said he meant to tell Mr. Wilkowski last week that he could have the domain name back but forgot, suggesting that taking the Web site had been nothing more than innocent fun. But that strains credulity.

Instead, absconding with Mr. Wilkowski's former campaign site appears to be a juvenile act intended to annoy and inconvenience a Democratic opponent.

All in all, this is just the sort of prank one expects from 20-somethings in a bar doing what people do in bars. It is not, however, what one expects from a serious businessman who wants the people of Toledo to entrust their future to him.

But there's more. Tucked into The Blade's story about the Web site theft was the comment that "in the same session that he reserved Mr. Wilkowski's old domain, Mr. Moody picked up www.takeback.toledo.com, which he said he gave at no cost to the organization trying to recall Mayor Carty Finkbeiner from office." That was in August, two months before Take Back Toledo held its first public meeting to announce its intent to recall the mayor.

When asked in December about association with the recall group, Mr. Moody said in December that he was "aware" of the group but not of its recall goal when he attended the October meeting by invitation. And yet, two months previous to the October meeting, there's Mr. Moody, hanging out at a local tavern, reserving an Internet domain name for a group of which he's only "aware."

Mr. Moody's residency in Toledo may meet the letter of the city charter, but it appears Toledo needs a mayor with both vision and the drive to see that vision become reality. It also deserves a mayor who is honest, open, and forthright. (Did we mention that Mr. Moody's family still lives in Sylvania Township? This raises the question of just how committed he is to the city.)

Actions such as these illuminate the character of a candidate and, at the same time, do nothing to encourage us to believe he is deserving of the people's trust. If Mr. Moody thinks he should be the person to lead Toledo for the next four years, he has some explaining to do.



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