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Published: Sunday, 7/20/2003

East Toledo has nothing to fear from downtown

Some items while thinking Bill Clinton should have played the “blame British intelligence” card when he intentionally misled us:

TURF WARS: I've never understood the “East Toledo” dynamic that simmers beneath the surface of our community.

In this space two weeks ago, I praised Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest's plan that calls for an arena to be built one block from Fifth Third Field. Ample existing parking and the “synergy” factor make it a no-brainer, if you ask me.

George doesn't see it that way. “As an ex-`East Toledoan' I recognize the mindset of Ray Kest and those who are jumping on his bandwagon,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The East Side has been ignored or dumped on for many years.”

OK, I'll admit to jumping on Mr. Kest's bandwagon, but I plead not guilty to the “mindset” charge. From what I've seen in my nearly six years here, East Toledo cannot claim it has been “ignored and dumped on.” (Exhibit A: The Docks.)

But I know there's a lot of history behind George's claim. Thus, the underlying tension in the public dialogue about the arena's location.

All I know is I'm of the “mindset” that the Marina District will do just fine without an arena -- and that downtown desperately needs it.

TICK TOCK: Granted, it was a Monday, around dinner time, but I'm pretty sure employees outnumbered customers inside Southwyck Shopping Center when I stopped by for a measly $9 purchase. Sadly, the mall is bound to become even more desolate when Dillard's closes its home store at the end of the month.

When Westfield America Trust, which owns Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park, announced on Feb. 25 that it was going to buy Southwyck and expected the deal to be complete by the end of May, I figured I had written “the proposed Mall at Fallen Timbers” for the final time. Now I'm not so sure.

The start of the holiday shopping season is just four months away. Should we read anything into this delay, Westfield?

DELAYED NOSE-RUB: On Thursday, I received a scathing e-mail from a man who lives in Jerry City, Ohio. Among other things, Bob said that he was tired of “you people” trying to rewrite the Constitution.

I had no idea what he was referring to because I hadn't written anything recently that would have provoked that type of response. Then, I noticed his e-mail was dated “Monday, Dec. 23, 2002.” I did some checking and, sure enough, the day before I wrote that I hoped the American Civil Liberties Union prevailed in its lawsuit to bring down the Ten Commandments monument that stands outside the county courthouse in downtown Toledo. (My reasoning: The government should be free of religion and vice versa.)

It took 206 days for the e-mail to make its way through cyberspace. But it was worth the wait -- I had never been branded one of “you people” before.

TWIN PACK: Two slanted questions this week. In counting the days until Toledo's smoking ban takes effect, I'm offering 35 points for each correct answer.

1) Even though the 29-year-old conjoined Iranian twins died, isn't their story one of the most inspiring of the year?

2) Won't history show that those much-mocked, often-belittled peaceniks were right -- “winning the peace” in Iraq is far more difficult than winning the war?



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