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Published: Sunday, 12/25/2005

Council has 'Godfather' moment

Six bite-size Lemmon Drops to nibble on while evaluating the job Santa did this year:

  • Who does Bill Lichtenwald think he is, Don Corleone?

    At least Mr. Corleone the character played by Marlon Brando in The Godfather made an offer that an adversary couldn't refuse. (OK, so acceptance of the offer came after the discovery of a horse's head in his bed. Big deal.)

    Mr. Lichtenwald, president of Teamsters Local 20, played the role of political thug Wednesday in a one-on-one meeting with Toledo City Councilman Frank Szollosi.

    According to Mr. Szollosi, Mr. Lichtenwald who is a member of Mayor-elect Carty Finkbeiner's transition team "wasn't subtle" in his demand that Mark Sobczak be elected council president on Jan. 3. Not supporting Mr. Sobczak would result in Democratic opposition for Mr. Szollosi in his future runs for office.

    "I told Frank that in order to have the Democratic Party work, the only candidate was Mark Sobczak," Mr. Lichtenwald was quoted in Thursday's paper. "I told him if you're not willing to work with us, we're not willing to work with you."

    Can't you just feel the love among local Democrats?

    Mr. Szollosi, who wants to be council president, probably burned a bridge by talking about his meeting with Mr. Lichtenwald. But the bridge was on the verge of collapse anyway Mr. Szollosi made some biting comments against Mr. Finkbeiner during the mayoral campaign.

    Mr. Lichtenwald didn't do Mr. Sobczak any favors. Even before he is sworn in for his first term on council, Mr. Sobczak has allowed others to create the perception that he is going to be a political puppet.

  • Former Lucas County commissioner Harry Barlos is returning to public service. Next month he will become Holland's first administrator, a job that pays $55,000 a year.

    Didn't anyone tell Mr. Barlos that he could have been elected county commissioner again next year?

  • The mayor of Maumee, Tim Wagener, has announced that he will run for Lucas County commissioner. Maybe I'm wrong, but he doesn't strike me as the most forward-thinking politician out there.

    For one, Maumee's political leaders have shown no interest in engaging the public in a debate about a smoking ban.

    For another, Mr. Wagener backed the, um, "business decision" to not give Twist of Faith a public screening at the city-owned Maumee Indoor Theatre.

  • I love my zoo, but not necessarily its top management.

    A county task force, which evaluated operations at the Toledo Zoo earlier this year, strongly recommended that the new chief veterinarian be hired from the outside. Instead, the zoo promoted Dr. Wynona Shellabarger.

    A quote by Andy Odum, interim director of zoological operations, in a Dec. 17 story made my jaw drop: "The zoo the task force interviewed six months ago doesn't exist anymore. We're past the point of controversy."

    He might as well have said, "We know better."

  • By giving Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President James Hartung a 6 percent pay raise increasing his salary to $164,724 annually one might assume there has been a steady growth in passenger traffic at Toledo Express Airport. Or that the county's economy is really humming.

  • Kudos to Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton for his tough-love proposals regarding ice fishermen in need of rescue.



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