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Published: Thursday, 9/19/2013

Bell, Collins debate on economic development

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Mayor Mike Bell and Councilman D. Michael Collins debated economic development today during their second forum since the pair emerged the winners in the primary election last week.

The forum was hosted by the Ohio Contractors Association.

Mr. Collins criticized the Bell administration’s approach to economic development, saying Toledo is stuck in “silos,” or groups that don’t communicate with each other.

“In order for this government to work we need bold new concepts and leadership,” Mr. Collins said. He called for installing the "meta plan," which would unify the economic development agencies in the region. The plan was developed by Dan Johnson, a former president of the University of Toledo.

"Would it not make more sense that we are all on the same playing field and all going for the same goal," Mr. Collins said. "I am not going to go out of the country to create this."

Mr. Bell disputed that he hasn't tried anything new during his four years.

“We have done some things that nobody thought we could get done,” the mayor said. “Flying to China wasn’t "normally inside the box for Toledoans.” He also boasted of merging the Toledo and Ottawa Hills fire services and inviting regional mayors and county commissioners to the mayor’s office for the first time.

"People from each of those organizations have traveled with me," he said, referring to area economic development agencies. "We have a global economy. If you don't reach out to other countries we’re missing the mark."

Both are political independents and face off in the Nov. 5 general election.

 

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

 



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