Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Mayor sticks to the script in response to detractors

The thought came to me as an epiphany while waiting in city council chambers.

Hey, this was a media holiday party! OK, no cash bar. No sparkly decorations. Still, this was as festive as we could expect.

In this economy, certainly, there'd be no office punch bowl, no holiday bonuses, not even impromptu get-togethers at some nearby tavern.

Alas, local media's only hope for holiday merriment was this - the possibility of a highly public mayoral meltdown.

Ooooh, we love suspense!

As the crowd gathered for Carty's afternoon exhibition of political self-defense - a news conference to "expose the motivations of the founders" of the latest recall bid - you could feel the anticipation.

And the crowd, by the way, contained a substantial number of Carty supporters. That so many Finkbeiner followers occupied so many of the 154 seats only proves the stars do sometimes align.

Even so, the crowd seemed every bit as curious about this event's outcome as the paid media onlookers.

This is Toledo, after all, land of long memories. How many of us decided to show up yesterday (me! me!) after remembering a theatrical, long-ago news conference in which Carty first kept an unnaturally long silence and then spoke haltingly through tears.

Circumstances were certainly prime yesterday for another such display.

Consider: Hizzoner confronts a nightmarish city budget in an economy for which his only consolation might be that we here in Toledo aren't in this alone - it's bad all over.

Now, add to that the fact that a man who considers it his destiny to be our mayor faces yet another mayoral recall effort, and sooo close to the end of his second first term (if you know what I mean), and, well - trust me, a city hall nuclear disaster was a distinct possibility yesterday.

And yet...

Carty Finkbeiner delivered one of his better speeches. Ever.

Disregarding whether Hizzoner should or should not be subject to recall, the highest praise must be given: If you didn't know Carty and you stumbled into council chambers yesterday, you'd have not the faintest idea that our mayor is as unpredictable as any human being can possibly be.

That guy who spoke at last week's Chrysler rally? The one who looked not only as if he'd slipped off the leash but also skipped a distemper booster? Phhffttt. Gone.

The mayor who showed up yesterday spoke in measured sentences delivered at noninjurious decibel levels.

More amazing? He stuck to the text.

Famous for straying into impenetrably dense ad-libbed sentences of his own dangerous construction, Hizzoner stuck to remarks he said he wrote "mostly" himself.

And it worked.

What started out sounding more like a laundry list of accomplishments from a State of the City speech did end up as advertised: A full frontal assault on Carty's detractors.

And even in such a highly charged context, Hizzoner didn't come anywhere close to exploding like unstable ordnance.

God bless us, everyone!

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