Friday, Apr 20, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Seating on the fences of county politics

Seven bite-size Lemmon Drops to nibble on while waiting for Dan Rather to bow out gracefully:

  • Loyal reader Jim couldn't believe what he saw as he drove past the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association headquarters. There, among "a yard full of [campaign] signs", were pitches for Harry Barlos and Pete Gerken, who are opponents in a Lucas County commissioner's race.

    "Talk about playing both sides!" Jim said in an e-mail. "As a union guy myself, I found this humorous. Unions were built by people taking stands, not riding fences."

    Turns out it is one of three races in which the union made a "co-endorsement." It also gave a double thumbs-up in the contests for Lucas County treasurer (Betty Shultz vs. Wade Kapszukiewicz) and Common Pleas judge (James Jensen vs. James Vail). Yes, signs in support of those candidates can be found at the corner of Woodruff and Franklin avenues.

    Greg Harris, president of the 546-member union, said it has opted for "co-endorsements" before, but never for more than two races in any election. He called the six candidates "friends" of the association; thus, the unprecedented double-endorsement hat trick.

    In case you're wondering, the union went the conventional route -- endorsing one candidate -- in 23 races, Mr. Harris said.

  • A viewing tip for Thursday's televised debate between the aforementioned commissioner candidates: If Mr. Barlos is asked whether he supports Toledo's smoking ban, keep an eye on his shoes. He's been known to break into a tap dance when answering questions on that topic. (To Mr. Gerken's credit, his position is clear -- he supports the ban.)

  • Remind me to call my stockbroker and ask about Redflex Holdings Limited, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. It is the parent company of Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., which installed and maintains the red-light cameras in Toledo.

    Now that six of the 13 cameras have the capability to nab speeders, Redflex will see a rapid increase in revenue from its Toledo gold mine. For the first 24,000 tickets, whether for running a red light or for speeding, Redflex will receive $71.25 (out of the $95 fine) for each one, or $1.7 million. Toledo's cut during that same period: $570,000.

  • We hardly knew ye, Toledo-Lucas County Clean Campaign Committee.

  • Swiss Pretzel is the latest casualty at Southwyck Shopping Center, reports loyal reader Howard. What makes this noteworthy is that it had one of the better locations in the mall, close to Dillard's.

    Then, he shared a story that speaks volumes about Southwyck's plight. As of last week, one of the listings on the mall's job-posting board indicated that King's Wholesale Furniture "is coming to Southwyck."

    "The problem," Howard wrote, "is that it has not only come, but it closed at least two months ago!"

    There's a chance, Howard, your frown could be turned upside down. Southwyck's manager said King's might return for the holidays. Then again, the manager said, it might not.

  • I'm thinking it will take the public longer to make the transition to "Medical University of Ohio" (from Medical College of Ohio) than it did to "University of Toledo" (from Toledo University) and "Owens Community College" (from Owens Tech).

  • Political scientists seeking to determine whether this is "the most important election of our lifetime" should drive through my neighborhood. It's a pretty good barometer. The number of presidential-campaign yard signs is about double what it was four years ago.

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