Monday, Dec 05, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Opinion

Shy Bob becomes 'bye Bob

It was kinda like the final phase in my game of "Where's Waldo?"

Except, of course, around here these days the game goes by the name of "Where's Bob?"

As in: "Hey, anybody seen Councilman Bob McCloskey lately?"

There were reports of him breezing through city hall yesterday morning - but that's about as close to city hall as the beleaguered veteran pol has been lately.

Mr. McCloskey, who once turned toward media cameras as automatically as flowers turn to the sun, has become uncharacteristically shy in recent weeks.

He's been absent from a few full council and committee sessions, spoiling his virtually perfect attendance.

But then, I guess a civil lawsuit and indictment on bribery charges - followed up by an alleged federal bribery sting - can have that effect on a person.

And so a city has been wondering lately:

"Where's Bob?"

I'd been thinking about Mr. McCloskey yesterday morning. Maybe it was because I'd been summoned to jury duty, and being in a courthouse brought the councilman to mind.

Anyway, shortly after lunch yesterday (go figure, I was booted from jury duty), I drove across the Martin Luther King Bridge and into East Toledo, the east side being to Bob McCloskey what Manhattan is to Donald Trump, which is to say, part of his DNA.

To the best of my knowledge, at the time I went off in search of Mr. McCloskey, he was still officially a councilman. By the time I got back to the office, he'd resigned.

Not that I minded the jaunt, mind you. Yesterday afternoon was mighty fine.

Sunshine. Mild temperatures. Trees fluffed up with tender new leaves. Flowers everywhere.

Yeah, it was a pretty nice afternoon, if your name wasn't Bob McCloskey.

On the councilman's front porch, a wind chime clanged away in the soft breeze. A concrete goose standing guard was nattily dressed. A pot of red geraniums had been set out on the front porch.

A woman answered the front door, looking wary. Before I had even finished asking for Mr. McCloskey, she shook her head.

No, not home. No, she didn't know where he was. No, she couldn't say when he'd be back.

"He had business," she said. "And he's not making any comment, anyway."

Mr. McCloskey's neighbor on one side had a political sign in the yard, supporting Mike Craig for District 3 election.

His neighbor on the other side had a sign for Councilman Taylor Balderas.

In Mr. McCloskey's front yard, there was no sign to indicate what he stood for.

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