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Published: Friday, 1/9/2004

Ford seeks beauty, plans another run

Mayor Jack Ford said yesterday he s disappointed that some of the goals of his “elegant city” theme haven t been realized, and confirmed that he plans to seek a second term.

The mayor said in a taping of The Editors television program that beautification is a work in progress.

“It s happening in some areas; in others, I still have to struggle,” Mr. Ford said of accomplishing making Toledo an “elegant city.”

“On the beautification efforts, it s one of the disappointments I ve had that some of the neighborhood activists and organizations have not bought into this,” Mr. Ford said. “But we re going to continue to push this as a high value.”

The mayor has made alley cleanup a priority and has clashed with the nonprofit community development organizations over who has responsibility for neighborhood cleanups.

Mr. Ford, who took office in January, 2002, said one four-year term is not enough to do all he wants in economic development, the arts, youth initiatives, and parks.

“We plan to run. We ve had a lot of successes,” Mr. Ford said, adding that “I don t go around publicizing them. It s not my style.”

Mr. Ford was interviewed by Tom Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade. Mr. Walton said it has become a tradition of The Editors over 15 years to hold midterm reviews of Toledo mayors.

The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

In the wide-ranging interview, Mr. Ford said he will support fellow Democrat Pete Gerken, a city councilman who won the Lucas County Democratic Party s endorsement to replace incumbent Democrat Harry Barlos on the Lucas County board of commissioners.

“Pete supported me. He was one of the first to line up with me,” Mr. Ford said of his 2001 campaign. “Most of the folks in the county did not get involved in my campaign. I support folks who support me.”

Asked about his low-key style, Mr. Ford said his introspective nature has been noted all his life, and it leads some people to think he s angry when he s actually deep in thought.

He recalled that one of the themes of his campaign was “serious leadership for serious times,” but said humor is not in short supply in his administration.

“I probably laugh more in my office than any mayor in the history of the city because I see a lot of humorous things [in] politics,” he said.

He defended the most high-profile accomplishment of his administration, the passage of a ban on smoking in most bars and restaurants. Mr. Ford said the 30-day extensions given to more than 50 bars to finish their smoking lounges by Jan. 22 will be the last.

Mr. Ford said he knows some establishments have suffered, but said he continues to believe it was good health policy, and that business owners need to adapt to the law. “There s been enough time that there should have been some adjustments made, some different approaches to marketing their business,” he said.

Mr. Ford said a statewide smoking ban would be a good thing, and predicted it will happen eventually. “It may not be in the next round of political discussion, but sooner or later” a candidate for governor will make a smoking ban a part of their platform, he said.

He defended his proposal to extend a waterline to Berkey and Richfield Township with use restricted to current occupants of those two communities. He said uncontrolled availability of Toledo water in the county would hurt the city by spurring development that would draw middle-class residents out of Toledo.



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