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Published: Sunday, 2/26/2006

At least we're still ahead of Youngstown

Eight bite-size Lemmon Drops to nibble on while noting, for posterity sake, that we have yet to shovel snow from our driveway in 2006:

  • The Milken Institute's annual ranking of 200 metropolitan areas for job growth was, in effect, the final report card for former Toledo mayor Jack Ford.

    Toledo was No. 196. We were No. 195 the year before.

    While I will always admire Mr. Ford for the great strides the city made on social issues such as the implementation of a smoking ban and CareNet during his four-year term, he clearly did not master the "economic development" part of the job.

    That's not to say his predecessor, Carty Finkbeiner, fared much better in previous Milken rankings. Or his successor, Carty Finkbeiner, will fare any better in future rankings.

    But with Mr. Finkbeiner in charge, there's a sense that we're on the verge of turning a corner.

    Mr. Finkbeiner understands the importance of being a cheerleader. He has the ability to inspire the community, whereas Mr. Ford showed no interest in doing so.

    Four years from now, it will be interesting to compare various statistics of the Ford and Finkbeiner administrations. I doubt if there will be much difference.

    In the perception game, however, Mr. Ford is no match for Mr. Finkbeiner.

  • A special audit by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation found that Tom Noe and an associate owe the state more than $13.5 million. Who needs smoke and mirrors to live a lavish lifestyle when you control $50 million in investment funds provided by the BWC?

  • Originally, I thought it was a shrewd move on Jim Petro's part to air TV ads in late 2005 to promote his run for Ohio governor. At the time, the state attorney general had two high-profile opponents in the Republican primary, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery, and he needed to do something to separate himself. (Ms. Montgomery has since dropped out of the race.)

    I've changed my mind: Mr. Petro's ads were a waste of money. Mr. Blackwell's new attack ad in which Mr. Petro is dragged through the mud of the Noe scandal has obliterated any advantage Mr. Petro may have gained from his early ads.

  • From where I'm sitting, Pete Gerken has been far more effective as a Lucas County commissioner than he was as a Toledo City Councilman. He seems determined to put the construction of a new arena on the fast track.

  • My dream matchup for the 2009 Toledo mayoral race: Eugene Sanders vs. Larry Kaczala.

    (With Mr. Sanders leaving his job as superintendent of Toledo Public Schools in August, however, he probably will be moving from the area. If so, Keith Wilkowski would be a good substitute in the mayoral race.)

  • Come on, Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, get real. Three local residents were charged in a terror plot, and the TPPA says on its Web site that "questions are raised whether Toledo's environment attracts those groups due to the lack of police presence."

    Police Chief Jack Smith called it "irresponsible" and "opportunistic." He's right.

  • A "Carty Gets Results" campaign-promise update: Southwyck Shopping Center will be revitalized in, at most, 308 days.

  • In what was one of the busiest weeks for local news in recent years, this headline (from Tuesday's paper) may have been overlooked: Marina District construction is top '06 priority.

    Two words: Woo hoo!



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