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Published: Wednesday, 10/20/2004

Parties mend fences for sake of Port levy

Democrats and Republicans appear to have mended fences since some GOP officials said they were snubbed on Sept. 21 and not invited to a Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority levy renewal rally at International Park.

The Jobs, Cooperation for the Port Levy political action committee sponsored the kick-off for the campaign to renew the 0.4-mill levy that pays for economic development in Lucas County and the region.

Republican leaders, who said they support the levy's renewal, were irked they were not invited to the event, saying it appeared the port levy issue had become a private Democratic Party issue.

But for an endorsement news conference scheduled for today, those handling port levy events, including local public relations firm Communica, were not going to make the same mistake.

Bernadette Noe, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said she was invited, and the parties on this issue are on the same page. The GOP has endorsed the levy renewal, which is meant to be a bipartisan campaign, she said.

"Everything's fine, and our party has already endorsed the levy. So things are happy," Ms. Noe said. "We had some private conversations, and things got worked out. Certainly, nobody wants to be left out. It's going to take bipartisan support to pass this levy."

On Sept. 21, Ms. Noe said no one told her about the rally and said she learned of it while watching the evening news and saw Democratic Party officials there.

Other Republicans also complained, including Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber.

The president of the commissioners, Harry Barlos, also said he was not invited. He is a registered Democrat but is running as an independent and was endorsed by the Republican Party.

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