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Published: Sunday, 10/27/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

TOLEDO MAYORAL RACE

Bell, Collins won’t disclose health specifics

Both candidates for mayor say they are fit to run Toledo

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mayor Mike Bell exercises on an elliptical machine at Super Fitness on North Reynolds Road. He works out four days a week. Mayor Mike Bell exercises on an elliptical machine at Super Fitness on North Reynolds Road. He works out four days a week.
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One in a series

Neither Mike Bell nor D. Michael Collins is svelte, but both say they are in excellent health.

Both say their work habits aren’t hampered by chronic disease or fear of technology.

Both spend in excess of eight hours a day working. They know about things like tablets and social media, but neither man has it down quite right. Mr. Bell said he doesn’t use “The Facebook,” and Mr. Collins said he does not have a “Tweeter” account.

The two candidates vying to be mayor of Toledo for the next four years — two men who spent decades protecting Toledoans in their younger years as a firefighter and a police officer, respectively — declined to allow the Blade access to personal health information such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and resting heart rates. Both had the same answer for Toledoans: Don’t worry. I’m healthy enough to do the job and I can put in the long hours.

Mr. Bell, 58, tries to squeeze in an hour workout four mornings a week at Super Fitness on Reynolds Road. Clad in blue spandex shorts and a sleeveless, tattered muscle shirt, Mr. Bell starts off with about 25 minutes on an elliptical machine. Drops of perspiration cover his bald head by the time he steps off the machine and heads over to the other side of the gym with his jump rope.

The rope spins over his head and under his feet in a blurry motion. His rhythm is reminiscent of a Rocky movie.

Next for the mayor: 30 incline crunches, more jump rope, and 30 more crunches.

“I have been doing just cardio since I hurt my neck,” Mr. Bell said. “I went to a chiropractor and it took about two days, but he fixed it.”

Last week, he decided to resume some weight training and took a seat briefly at a shoulder press machine — grimacing to lift each time. 

Early workout

His hour-long workout usually starts at 7 or 7:30 a.m. When it’s over, Mr. Bell drives home, suits up, and either heads to the office or to an appointment.

“Some days are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” Mr. Bell said. “Not only are you on during the day, but there are night events and weekends that people want you to be at and if you don't show, people get upset.”

Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat, who is often at the mayor’s side, said Mr. Bell rolls into One Government center anytime between 8 a.m and 11 a.m.

“He goes and works out early in the morning and sometimes he will have an 8 a.m. meeting or he will have something later,” Mr. Herwat said. “He is usually the last one here at night.”

Mayor Bell is not known to take home stacks of paper or keep reams of paper on his desk — two things former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner was famously known to do.

“He has a series of bond documents on his desk right now to read and sign and when they are signed, they will move along,” Mr. Herwat said.

The mayor has an iPad and a Droid phone — neither of which he uses fully. The man does not use email or text messaging.

“This is government, and the rules of government are completely different,” Mayor Bell said regarding texting. “I am not putting myself in a compromised position.” 

Toledo Councilman D. Michael Collins, a candidate for mayor, goes door to door with Steve Leggett. 'The younger members of my campaign are challenged to keep up with me day-to-day,' Mr. Collins says. Toledo Councilman D. Michael Collins, a candidate for mayor, goes door to door with Steve Leggett. 'The younger members of my campaign are challenged to keep up with me day-to-day,' Mr. Collins says.
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Walking about

Mr. Collins, a district councilman from South Toledo who turned 69 in June, said he also has no chronic health issues and gets semiannual physical exams.

“The younger members of my campaign are challenged to keep up with me day-to-day,” he said. “Prior to the campaign, I would walk a lot and play golf. I do not use a golf cart and I shoulder-carry my bag if I am playing nine holes.”

Walking door to door is part of Mr. Collins’ campaign strategy and some days include hours of walking.

“People walking with me normally can’t make three days in a row,” Mr. Collins quipped.

As a retired police officer and former police union president who taught at the University of Toledo and then at Lourdes University, he acknowledges he has more time than others to devote to his job as a councilman.

“I treat council as a full-time job and I respond to emails over the weekend as well,” Mr. Collins said. “There are many other things going because of the campaign, but I would normally spend 35 hours a week in the Government Center in my council office and probably another 10 hours between phone responses and emails at home and then Block Watch meetings.”

The councilman has a smart phone, which he uses to check the Internet and texts. He also knows how to change ring-tones, to the chagrin of some council office staff members.

The famous horse racing music “Call to the Post” is the regular ring-tone for most callers, but Irish folk music plays for incoming calls from some family members.

Unlike Mayor Bell, Mr. Collins takes home stacks of documents and spends his off-time researching city issues. 

Past candidates

Past Toledo mayoral candidates have let the public know about their personal health issues.

In 2005, Jack Ford and Carty Finkbeiner discussed their health in interviews with The Blade. Only Mr. Finkbeiner released medical records and authorized his physician to answer questions.

Mr. Ford — who was at the time the incumbent mayor fighting a challenge from Mr. Finkbeiner — released a brief letter from his doctor summarizing an exam.

Mr. Finkbeiner was diagnosed with the heart disease that is America’s No. 1 killer — the artery-clogging condition atherosclerosis. It causes most heart attacks and strokes. Quadruple coronary bypass surgery in 2004 restored blood flow through clogged arteries.

Mr. Ford, a candidate for Toledo City Council next month, is among about 15 million people in the United States with Type 2 diabetes.

In October, 2001, mayoral candidate Ray Kest — who ultimately lost to Mr. Ford the following month — told The Blade that he suffered from Type 2 diabetes, which he had been diagnosed with in 2000. He also revealed suffering from an ulcer in his esophagus, a condition he contracted 10 years earlier and for which he had been taking medication for five years, he said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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