The dispute between Toledo City Council veteran Bob McCloskey and newcomer Dave Schulz heated up yesterday, with the two at-large candidates exchanging barbs.
Seated before a painting of a large, well-marbled steak bearing the words "Integrity at Stake" and his Web site address, Mr. Schulz held a news conference to repeat his claims that Mr. McCloskey has engaged in a "deceptive campaign."
Two billboards that say, "Problems in your neighborhood? Call your councilman Bob McCloskey" give a false impression that Mr. McCloskey, the District 3 Democrat, represents the entire city, said Mr. Schulz.
"I live in District 6, and he's not my councilman," Mr. Schulz said. "It's a concerted effort to deceive the voters. He is not their councilman."
Nonsense, Mr. McCloskey said in a phone interview yesterday afternoon.
"Nobody is trying to confuse the voters," Mr. McCloskey stressed.
Even though he represents District 3, as a council member he votes on citywide issues. "You don't just vote in a certain district," Mr. McCloskey said. "I vote on issues for the whole city."
Mr. Schulz said that Mr. Mc-
Closkey should not have accepted the donation of billboard space from the billboard's owner, Brock Rimmelin.
In a council committee meeting in 2001, Mr. McCloskey opposed extending a ban on new billboard construction. Mr. Rimmelin spoke at that meeting in agreement with that position, saying the ban hurt small, local operators.
During the next two years, Mr. Rimmelin contributed $500 to Mr. McCloskey. Mr. Schulz contended that it constituted an impropriety.
"It looks like Bob will advocate on behalf of someone to benefit his campaign," Mr. Schulz said.
Mr. McCloskey said that he would report the billboard donation to the state ethics commission when his next annual financial disclosure report is due.
Meanwhile, Mr. Schulz filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission, alleging that Mr. McCloskey improperly used the term "re-elect" on some of his political signs.
An elections commission spokesman said that yesterday the group has received the complaint but executive director Philip Richter has not looked at it.
Mr. McCloskey disagreed with Mr. Schulz's contention that his use of the word "re-elect" was intended to deceive voters.
"I had about 250 signs in my garage that said, 'Re-elect Bob McCloskey for District 3,'●" he said. "I painted out 'District 3' and sent 'em out.
"It wasn't an attempt to fool anybody into whether I was on council or not," Mr. McCloskey said. "There was no deception ever proposed or thought of.
"It was an attempt to save money by using signs that were left over from a previous campaign."
Mr. Schulz also charged that Mr. McCloskey's run for an at-large seat, which would give him an extra four years on City Council, violates the city charter, which states a council member may serve no more than three consecutive four-year terms.
Mr. McCloskey said he consulted city law director Barb Herring, who told him that council members may run again if they have served partial terms.
"The legal opinion is that it would be perfectly legal to run for office," Mr. McCloskey said.
Mr. McCloskey said Mr. Schulz seemed more interested in attacking him than in stating his own platform.
"He's made his whole campaign into Bob McCloskey," he said. "He should focus on the issues."