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Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Published: 11/3/2001

Mud flies despite best intentions

In yesterday's newspaper, mayoral candidate Ray Kest gave a pointed description of who should be at this city's helm.

“Toledo needs someone with passion, determination, and commitment ... Toledo needs someone with the energy and enthusiasm to make things happen. Ask yourself who best fits that role.”

Well, cripes, what a no-brainer.

Passion? Determination? Commitment? Energy? Enthusiasm?

Carty Finkbeiner! Hands down!

Here we are, just days from the election, and Mr. Kest's vivid wish-list of mayoral characteristics points most to the man who - compliments of term limits - is now packing up all his Glass City trinkets from the 22nd floor of city hall.

Oh, well. Never mind. Tuesday will be here before you can say “mudslinging,” and January's inauguration will arrive soon thereafter.

A new day will dawn in Toledo politics, because however much they're distinct from one another, both Mr. Kest and Jack Ford promise their temperaments as mayor would never resemble the gale forces of Mayor Finkbeiner.

At the moment, my sympathies are with those good-hearted optimists overseeing the “clean campaign,” as it's so charmingly named. This would be the solemn pledge taken by both mayoral candidates - at the prodding of this newspaper, by the way - to play it fair and square.

Now that we're at single-digit days in the election countdown, they're finally getting around to playing it for laughs. Oh, not intentionally. No, they think they're playing it for real now.

This explains an uber-sneaky, smear-tactic web site; a titillating deposition quietly circulated; the whispering here, the snickering there.

However much we may have ached for a campaign where issues and issues alone drew the focus, there is something to be said for the comforting reassurance that human nature remains (especially in a tight race) unaltered.

Mud happens.

But here's the real deal: For all the claims a web site makes of a “mentally crazed Jack Ford” who was “insane on drugs and alcohol,” the actual police report on this 15-year-old nonincident incident is far less damning, and in no way describes Mr. Ford in such a light.

And here's another real deal: Ray Kest's deposition in a sexual harassment lawsuit against him is indeed juicy enough to have provoked so much citywide tittering.

But very often this is more because of the graphic questions, and not Mr. Kest's answers, which were largely a series of denials, as in: “I don't skinny dip, so your question is - the answer is no.”

More interesting (and pertinent) than the sexual Q & A was what the deposition revealed about the candidate's acknowledged loosey-goosey management style - but I am reasonably certain this isn't why Toledo is now littered with copies of a 1996 document.

So, where does that leave us? With the economy, suburban sprawl, education, and the provision of basic services.

Some substantial differences exist between the candidates on these issues, however unsexy such issues may be.

Here's hoping everyone paid enough attention to make a choice between what one faithful reader dubbed the fate of being Bored by Ford or a Kestastrophe.

Roberta de Boer's column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays,

and Saturdays. Email her at roberta@theblade.com or call 1-419-724-6086.



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