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Published: Thursday, 10/29/2009

Wilkowski meets unions, outlines economic plans

Democratic mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski yesterday highlighted a 21-point plan for turning around the Toledo economy during an appearance with unions that are backing him for mayor.

Mr. Wilkowski, who faces independent Mike Bell in the election for mayor on Tuesday, said a pillar of his plan is expanding green-collar construction, which he said includes not only solar panel installers but traditional installers who work with caulk and insulation in making homes more energy-efficient.

"The mayor can't do it all on his own. But for too long the city has shirked its responsibility in [economic planning]," he said. He said his goal is to keep Toledo "a strong middle-class city with a strong working-class background."

He vowed to hold the line on taxes, support free college tuition for area high school graduates, and make Toledo a "solar capital."

Representatives of 16 labor organizations attended the news conference in the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall on Ashland Avenue.

Bruce Baumhower, Local 12 president, cited examples of Mr. Wilkowski's support for workers in the past, and for advocating that Toledo not abandon its manufacturing sector when others were advocating a switch to technology.

"Everybody wants to shift from manufacturing to technology. Keith talks about blending," Mr. Baumhower said.

Mr. Bell touts an economic development plan that involves appointing a business advocate as a deputy mayor and promoting regional economic planning through the University of Toledo's Meta Plan.

He said Mr. Wilkowski's plan was put together by an "inside" group, while his was developed in open meetings with public input.

"Our plan was put together by representatives of the city of Toledo and the region, and we stand by the seven-point recommendation that we have in our platform," Mr. Bell said yesterday.

The Lucas County Republican Party's executive committee has voted to endorse Kevin Haddad and Royal Barber for Sylvania Township trustee, party Chairman Jon Stainbrook announced yesterday.

The two are running against Republican incumbents Pam Hanley and DeeDee Liedel.

Ms. Hanley, the current president, and Ms. Liedel have said the township is financially robust with the highest bond rating of any northwest Ohio township. The challengers say the incumbents have cultivated a culture of fear within the township work force and balanced the books through an estate-tax windfall.

Mr. Stainbrook also announced endorsements for other races:

Bill Connelly for Toledo municipal judge; George Sarantou, Rob Ludeman, and Constantine Stamos for Toledo City Council; Mindy Jenson, Toledo school board; Pam Haynam and Dave Spiess, Sylvania school board; Jerry Peach, Oregon City Council; Mike Brown, Sylvania City Council; Marylin Yoder, Springfield Township trustee, and Joe Rutherford, Lucas County Educational Service Center board. The party also endorsed Issue 4, a replacement levy to provide support and services to seniors.

Toledo City Councilman Steven Steel, who is on the ballot to retain his seat, announced yesterday that 15-second and 30-second TV ads would begin running today on local stations and cable.

"My experience as president of the Toledo Board of Education prepared me to hit the ground running on council, so to speak," Mr. Steel said. "I have worked with fellow council members to tackle the issues that matter most to Toledoans."

The advertisements detail endorsements for Mr. Steel by the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, the Toledo firefighters union, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Toledo Area Board of Realtors, and several other labor organizations.



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