Mayor Carty Finkbeiner yesterday again sidestepped the question of whether he will seek another four years in office and instead said he is focused like a laser on Toledo's budget problems.
"You know what, I am not the least bit interested in who is raising what amount of money or what any poll says. I have lived in these shoes for a long time. I feel terribly blessed," Mr. Finkbeiner told members of the current class for Leadership Toledo, a nonprofit organization that aims to foster community involvement.
"What is before me now is far more important than raising money for a campaign, or taking a poll, or trying to line up all my friends," he said. "That's immaterial at this point and time."
On Feb. 12, Mayor Finkbeiner proposed $14 million in cuts and hoped-for revenue to balance the city's 2008 and 2009 general funds. He has repeatedly declined to say if he has decided to seek a fourth term in office. So far, only Democrat Keith Wilkowski, Republican Jim Moody, and independent Opal Covey have declared.
Others who may run for mayor include former Toledo fire Chief Michael Bell and Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop, both Democrats, and GOP City Councilman George Sarantou.
Kate Becker of West Toledo, a Leadership Toledo member who questioned the mayor yesterday during a speech at The Blade, said people are getting anxious to know the answer.
"He didn't answer my question," she said. "I asked him a yes-or-no question."
Mr. Wilkowski has raised $120,604 for his primary election campaign. He reported contributions of $55,465 and expenditures of $27,751 in the last six months of 2008 and was left with $87,173 on hand at the start of 2009.
Mr. Finkbeiner reported starting the period with $31,050 in his war chest and having spent $10,511. He had $20,539 left over. He reported no contributions.
Mr. Moody, a real estate agent, collected $11,825 in contributions, including $5,000 from the Realtor Political Action Committee in Columbus. He spent $1,567, leaving $10,258.
Ms. Covey did not file a report to meet the Lucas County Board of Elections' Jan. 30 deadline for the second half of 2008.