Mayor Mike Bell started airing a campaign commercial Friday reminding voters that he balanced the city's $48 million deficit in 2010, hired more police and firefighters than the previous two mayors combined, and “fixed the city's trash pickup.”
The incumbent mayor also reminds voters that that his challenger, City Councilman D. Michael Collins, voted against those three issues.
“Mike Bell has made difficult decisions and now Toledo is moving forward,” a narrator says as the mayor is seen walking and talking to people.
“He eliminated the $48 million deficit he inherited without raising taxes or laying off safety forces, hired more police officers and firefighters than the previous two mayors combined, and fixed the city's trash pickup,” the narrator says. “And Mike Collins? As councilman, Collins voted against every one of these measures.”
A disembodied, black and white Collins head then appears as the word “No” in light green is slammed on top of the words “deficit elimination,” “hiring fire & police” and refuse improvements.” The narrator says: “No! No! No!”
The commercial ends with “where would we be now if Collins had his way? The choice is clear,” as Mayor Bell turns toward the camera and smiles while standing along the waterfront in East Toledo.
Bell campaign spokesman B.J. Fischer said the 30-second commercial will air 242 times over seven days. Another commercial will run during the final 10 days before the Nov. 5 election.
“The buy is $50,000 that we paid earlier this week,” Mr. Fischer said Friday. “It's on all the TV stations and cable.”
It will run mainly during newscasts, but also during high-viewer programs like the Detroit Tigers' baseball playoff game today, he said.
“The goal is contrast Mayor Bell's record on some of the issues facing Toledo versus his opponent,” Mr. Fischer said. “We don't think it is negative. It is a comparative spot, it is factual comparing of the two records of the candidates.”
Mr. Collins said he voted against the 2010 budget and against measures Mayor Bell used to close a $48 million predicted 2010 general budget deficit – among them was forced concessions on city employees that was called “exigent circumstances.”
“I voted no on the budget because there was nothing to replace retiring police officers and I said we would be experiencing attrition so we needed to fortify our streets,” he said.
“The exigent circumstances is still being fought in the Supreme Court of Ohio by the Toledo Police Command Officers [union], and if we lose, it will cost the city about $1 million overall,” Mr. Collins said. “The case was ruled in the trial court and in the court of appeals, and both decisions supported the [union].”
Mr. Collins acknowledged that he voted against the mayor's plan to outsource trash collection to a private company through a contract with the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District.
“I voted no on the transfer of trash because I believe [the mayor] completely obstructed the decision of council in 2008 and 2009 to continue our core services under automated trash trucks,” Mr. Collins said. “He sold $12 million worth of brand-new trucks for $8 million and he gave away $9.6 million in containers that will not be paid for until sometime around 2023.”
Mr. Bell and Mr. Collins both ran commercials during the primary campaign – as did Councilman Joe McNamara and Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, who were both eliminated.
Mr. Collins said he will run a commercial, but it will not air as often as Mr. Bell's ads.
“We don't have the financial ability to do that,” he said. “We are running a grassroots campaign with no intention of trying to buy an election.... The Collins campaign will not engage in an negative campaign or make comments that would be disrespectful to the office of the mayor.”
Mr. Collins said he hopes to spend $25,000 to $30,000 on television commercials.