Staff writers George J. Tanber and Fritz Wenzel are following mayoral candidates Jack Ford and Ray Kest, filing daily reports through Election Day.
It had been 12 years since Charles Waters, Jr., last saw state Rep. Jack Ford.
But last night at a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio reception at the Main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library in downtown Toledo, Mr. Waters saw Mr. Ford greeting voters for his run for Toledo mayor and re-introduced himself.
They met only once, in 1989, when Mr. Waters, a high school senior, asked Mr. Ford for help finding a job.
Mr. Ford obliged. Soon after, Mr. Waters was hired by Toledo Edison.
“I know he didn't remember me, but it's just something you don't forget,” said Mr. Waters, 30, who now works at DaimlerChrysler and is a youth pastor at Love Fellowship Church on Norwood Avenue.
Mr. Ford had Mr. Water's vote, but the chance meeting underscored one of the cornerstones of his campaign: assisting youth.
“The way I looked at it, it was just a kid I had helped at some level,” Mr. Ford said. “It looked like he was prospering. There are probably 200 kids like that, if not more, around the city. That's what politicians and community activists are supposed to do.”
Mr. Ford's encounter with Mr. Waters was one of the highlights of a day that began at 6 a.m. at the Ford Motor Co.'s Maumee Stamping Plant and ended with him shaking hands at the Kroger's at Secor Road and Monroe Street until 11 p.m. Mr. Ford slept only three hours early Friday, ending up affixing labels to his final campaign mailer at campaign headquarters until 2 a.m.
The lack of sleep and grueling pace of the campaign's last days left Mr. Ford, who rarely sleeps more than four or five hours, admittedly tired when he arrived at Ottawa Lanes on Talmadge Road at noon yesterday. He mingled with members of the Young at Heart bowling league.
Betty Haynes said she did not like Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's temperament and believes Mr. Ford's opponent, Ray Kest, has a similar demeanor. Mr. Ford's calm disposition appeals to her.
“That's the only reason I'm voting for him,” she said.
Mr. Ford then held a news conference in front of the home of Kyle and Diana Schnitkey on Cloverdale Road, which has not been resurfaced in 15 years, to underscore his support for an improvement in city services.
“A central commitment of my administration will be bringing order to repaving our roads,” he said. “We have the tools available to increase efficiency. We need to add a missing element. ... Our citizens must be included in the decision-making process.”
Wade Kapszukiewicz, District 6 councilman and Ford supporter, said the current method of deciding which streets are repaved hasn't worked well enough.
“It's always been a fight between the mayor and the district council people,” he said.
Mr. Ford, not shy about stating his objective, told the Schnitkeys and other Cloverdale residents he'd be happy to help. “If I can get a few votes right now, I will make a pledge to repair this street.”
Mr. Schnitkey, who was going to vote for Mr. Ford anyway, said he believed him.
Neighbor Ed Petryk doesn't care what the motive is behind getting the city's attention.
“Any way we can get it done, we want it done,” he said.
Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Ford raised another $5,000 from supporters. Coupled with the $5,000 collected at a Thursday night rally, the revenue allowed him to buy more TV time for his commercials up to Election Day.
“I was told I needed a little more coverage,” he said before attending the Eddie M. Cole Scholarship Banquet hosted by Toledo's Thurgood Marshall Law Association at SeaGate Centre.
Mr. Ford, the banquet's honoree, was to receive a plaque, but it did not arrive in time. “I'm angry there is no plaque. I was promised a plaque,” he quipped, drawing a laugh from the crowd.