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Published: Tuesday, 10/25/2005

Finkbeiner criticizes Ford housing record

Mayoral challenger Carty Finkbeiner kept up his assault on incumbent Mayor Jack Ford yesterday, accusing him of letting housing development drift during his term.

But Mr. Ford's staff responded that they've issued construction permits at a faster rate than Mr. Finkbeiner did when he was mayor.

Mr. Finkbeiner stood in front of an 80-acre field at Hill Avenue and Byrne Road to announce a residential development that he said will happen if he's elected.

He said joint effort with the owners, Joseph Brothers Real Estate Development Group, private home builders, and "a Finkbeiner administration" will result in 250 new moderately priced, market-rate homes at the site, as well as commercial development.

Craig and Richard Joseph joined Mr. Finkbeiner, but acknowledged that they would likely do the project no matter who gets elected.

The former mayor was critical of Mr. Ford, saying the mayor has had few ideas, and has taken credit for projects started when Mr. Finkbeiner was mayor.

"Mayor Ford has let housing rehabilitation and development fall by the wayside," Mr. Finkbeiner said.

He criticized the lack of a housing commissioner for the last two years. Mr. Ford demoted the last housing commissioner to a manager-level position as part of the merger of two departments, neighborhoods and development.

"I will appoint a full-time commissioner who will work to develop market-rate housing," Mr. Finkbeiner said.

Mr. Finkbeiner promised city incentives, including help from the utility infrastructure fund, made up of 2 percent of the city's annual sewer and water rate collections.

In response, a Ford spokesman said the mayor has a strong housing team, including Bill Carroll, director of the merged economic and community development department.

Mary Chris Skeldon, Mr. Ford's public information officer, said the city has issued permits for 1,605 units of housing since the start of 2002, compared with 2,748 issued during Mr. Finkbeiner's eight years in office "when economic times were much better."

She said the city has used 2 percent funds for projects such as Starboard Side in East Toledo, Edison Place in North Toledo, and West Central Homes in the central city. She said other projects, such as the Bartley Lofts downtown and Sylvan Ridge Estates on Alexis Road, came on line this year with no city assistance.

Craig and Richard Joseph, who are cousins, said they're still in the planning stages. They projected 40 acres of housing and 40 acres of neighborhood-style commercial development.

Lucas County voters who requested absentee ballots should be receiving them as early as today.

The Lucas County Board of Elections started mailing 14,000 ballots yesterday after the first shipment of printed ballots was received on Sunday.

Board Director Jill Kelly urged voters to return their ballots as quickly as possible. Absentee ballots must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day to be counted, regardless of when they were postmarked, she said. The election is Nov. 8.

City Council candidate George Sarantou's campaign finance report was filed a day late, but far from a dollar short.

According to the report due last Friday but filed yesterday, Mr. Sarantou raised $16,655 in contributions in the most recent reporting period, Aug. 24 through Oct. 14. The next highest among the 12 at-large council candidates was Phil Copeland, with $11,201 in contributions.

Mr. Sarantou spent $3,223 and had $14,345 cash on hand at the end of the period. He had no cash contributions of $1,000 or more.



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