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Published: Sunday, 7/2/2006

Could a 12-week class help cure Carty?

Five molasses-coated Lemmon Drops to nibble on while waiting for naysayers to accept the U.S. surgeon general's findings on secondhand smoke:

  • It might be time to stage an intervention.

    Six or seven of Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's closest political allies may need to get him in a room and not leave until he agrees to enter a 12-step program for leadership.

    It just so happens that Dale Carnegie Training has openings for its next "Effective Speaking and Human Relations" course, which lasts you guessed it 12 weeks. The class will meet for four hours once a week starting later this month.

    "We could help him," said John Adams, the franchisee for Dale Carnegie Training in northwest Ohio and northern Indiana. "We could make all the difference in his approach to handling challenging situations."

    Such as the one Tuesday, when a confrontation between Mr. Finkbeiner and the police chief, Jack Smith, reached a boiling point. Mr. Smith resigned, returned to the rank of captain, then publicly criticized Mr. Finkbeiner's management skills.

    "He's a senior executive of a major city, and he needs to act like that," Captain Smith said Tuesday.

    Not that Captain Smith is blameless in this incident. Just like the mayor, he couldn't control his temper.

    "We knew those two egos would clash," a Toledo police officer said in an e-mail. "We just didn't think it would be this soon."

    Perhaps Captain Smith and Mr. Finkbeiner should bury the hatchet, so to speak, and enroll in the same leadership program.

    The first principle taught in Dale Carnegie's 12-week course? "Don't Criticize, Condemn, or Complain."

    While there may be some squirming in the seats during that four-hour session, Mr. Finkbeiner assuming he truly wants to change his behavior will learn that you can be tough in a nice way.

    "I've seen plenty of leopards change their spots," Mr. Adams said.

    There's no shame in attending a 12-week leadership course, Mr. Finkbeiner.

    The long list of distinguished Dale Carnegie alumni includes Lyndon Johnson, Lee Iacocca, Art Linkletter, Orville Redenbacher, and past governors of six states.

    Mr. Finkbeiner, who likens his role to that of a football coach, would be interested in knowing that Bill Belichick and Don Shula are also Carnegie grads.

    So is Defiance native Sam Hornish, Jr., who won this year's Indianapolis 500.

    Do it for the good of Toledo, Mr. Finkbeiner.

    Make a 12-week investment and, assuming you follow the principles, it will pay dividends for the rest of your four-year term. And beyond.

    Don't put it off. With Tuesday's blowup, you may have exhausted your supply of "That's Carty" passes.

  • Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for Toledo Public Schools, a dozen top administrators resign. I suspect they muttered in unison, "Take that, 3 for Change."

  • I'm an avid reader of church signs. This message from Trinity Church in downtown Toledo ranks among my all-time favorites:

    "Think God hates the people you hate? Think again."

  • Thank you, Toledo Museum of Art, for bringing the Ansel Adams exhibit to our corner of the world.

  • It's good to have you back as Toledo's top cop, Mike Navarre.



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