There’s a lot to like about Mike Bell and Mike Collins. They’re both tough, independent, tireless, and decisive.
There are also some things to dislike, such as Mayor Bell’s support of Issue 2 and his hardheaded rigidity on the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s homeless policy, and Mr. Collins’ proclivity to be the expert on everything and to micromanage.
But only one issue is decisive: Who will deliver the services and programs Toledo is crying out for?
The city needs better services, especially the inner city, which needs more programs to improve neighborhoods and keep kids on the right track, and more community policing to stop gang violence.
The city needs jobs. That requires better programs to serve business needs and to encourage creating jobs, to welcome investment from here and anywhere else in the world, and to attract and welcome immigrants with open arms.
We’ll need these as the capital improvements section of the temporary tax (more than $15 million) is rightfully applied again to capital improvements, and won’t be available to the general fund.
To do that, the next mayor needs to be a budget hawk on wages and benefits. On that issue, Mayor Bell is the clear winner.
Mr. Collins has argued — wrongly, as The Blade has shown — that we never had a real budget problem. He has supported generous wage and benefit increases, even while we faced a nearly $50 million budget deficit and workers in the private sector were making major sacrifices.
Mayor Bell’s approach would deliver needed services and programs. Mr. Collins’ approach would give us budget deficits and slashed services and programs. I’m voting for Mayor Bell.
Editor’s note: The writer is a former Toledo mayoral candidate, former president of the Toledo Board of Education, and former member of Toledo City Council.