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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Wilkowski calls for new leadership in mayoral TV ad


Introduce, then attack.

That's Keith Wilkowski's strategy in his first television commercial of the Toledo mayor's race, a smile-and-snarl rip on Mayor Jack Ford and former mayor Carty Finkbeiner, which will air on broadcast and cable stations starting today.

The 30-second spot is the first step in a campaign that includes direct mail and another planned television ad Mr. Wilkowski hopes will propel him through the Sept. 13 primary and into the Nov. 8 runoff.

It cites job and population losses, flashes pictures of Mr. Ford and Mr. Finkbeiner, and declares in bright type, "We need new leadership."

A recent Zogby International poll showed Mr. Wilkowski, a lawyer and former county commissioner, fourth among the four major candidates, jostling with Mr. Ford and city Councilman Rob Ludeman for the No. 2 spot. Mr. Finkbeiner held a large lead.

Mr. Wilkowski said this week he'll spend $90,000 on television time before the primary to play catch-up. His initial ad and accompanying mail promote Mr. Wilkowski as the new leader Toledo needs to pull through tough economic times.

The television ads repeat his name often, a nod to the poll's finding that nearly half of likely Toledo voters don't know him.

The TV spot opens with a smiling Mr. Wilkowski introducing himself. It switches quickly to what appears to be a vacant warehouse with the words "12,600 lost jobs" superimposed over it.

It cuts again to flash the figure "17,467 lost residents" over a shabby-looking house. Then it shows black-and-white photos of Mr. Ford and Mr. Finkbeiner, who was mayor from 1994 to 2002.

"After 12 years with Finkbeiner and Ford," Mr. Wilkowski says in a voice-over, "we're still not ready for tomorrow's jobs. We need new leadership."

It ends with Mr. Wilkowski telling the camera, "We can get the economy moving again."

The mail piece includes a 10-point plan for the city on one side and a picture of the Owens-Illinois headquarters building, whose workers will soon relocate to Perrysburg, on the other.

"In 12 dismal Ford-Finkbeiner years," it says at the top, "we've lost ground."

Mr. Wilkowski financed the advertisements in part with $40,000 he loaned his campaign last month.

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