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Published: Friday, 7/17/2009

Toledo mayoral candidates Bell, Moody cast their intentions with petitions

BY NEENA SATIJA
AND TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

Two more mayoral candidates turned in petitions to the Lucas County Board of Elections yesterday. Republican James Moody submitted a petition with 1,444 signatures, and Independent Michael Bell turned in 1,500.

Today is the deadline to submit at least 750 valid signatures of Toledo voters, but no more than 1,500, to be included on the Sept. 15 primary ballot.

The top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan mayoral election will face off in the Nov. 3 general election.

Mr. Moody, 48, is the owner of Flex Realty and several other real estate businesses. He said he has lived in the Toledo area since 1985 and last year moved his residence from Sylvania Township to Toledo to be eligible to run for mayor.

Mr. Moody has acknowledged that his wife and a teenage daughter still live in the family's residence in Sylvania Township.

"I chose this city. I love this city. I want to be able to continue to live here. I want my children to live here," he said. "The health of the suburbs is dependent on the health of Toledo. Toledo is the economic engine for our entire region."

Mr. Bell, who is running as an independent, was Toledo's fire chief for 17 years.

"I'm a homegrown product," he said. "I've been here most of my life, and this is a homegrown person coming back to try to help out their city."

Mr. Moody said he has knocked on almost 10,000 doors in Toledo since launching his campaign. He said he has offered the most specific proposals to revitalize Toledo, and predicted voters in Democratic-dominated Toledo will look beyond party labels.

"I am humbled by the broad support we have received. This is a candidacy determined to put the old-style politics of the past aside and focus only on what's best for Toledo," Mr. Moody said.

Mr. Moody has proposed awarding city employees health insurance "savings accounts" in place of the city's current health insurance and turning operation of the police tow lot and basic life support ambulance service back to private businesses.

He also has proposed having the city sponsor a program to provide private mortgage insurance, eliminating some licensing regulations on home improvement contractors, and requiring registered sex offenders to have bright chartreuse-colored license plates on cars they drive as a warning to the public.

Mr. Bell said that one of his key campaign issues, and one of the first things he would address should he win office, is stabilizing safety forces.

"People do not feel safe," he said. "They're telling me that different things are starting to occur in our city that have not occurred in a long time."

Mr. Bell said the city needs to focus more on getting neighborhoods involved in fighting crime through community policing and Block Watch programs. He said residents he spoke with did not feel secure with the number of police officers on the streets and that more may be needed.

He said only after the community felt safe could real economic development begin, and that he planned to meet with a group of business and government leaders within "the first 100 days" to develop a plan for economic recovery. He has said he would endorse casino gambling as a tool for development.

Candidates D. Michael Collins, an independent, and Democrats Keith Wilkowksi and Ben Konop filed their petitions Wednesday. Independent Opal Covey filed petitions on Monday.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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