Top o the morning, Bert:
I can never remember who said this. Maybe it was Thomas Jefferson, maybe it was Captain Marko Ramius.
But it went something like: A little revolution every now and then is good.
(OK, if you re wondering, Ramius was Sean Connery s character in the Hunt for Red October. Jefferson was a president. You gotta keep up on these things, Bert.)
That came to mind when I saw the big bold headline, Mayor won t run again, staring at me from Monday morning s front page of The Blade.
It didn t particularly surprise me, although you never quite know with Carleton Finkbeiner, or Carty to his friends.
By the time this third term ends, he will have served as mayor of Toledo for 12 years.
Or will it be 11 years, 10 months, 2 weeks?
As you know, Ms. Esteemed Colleague, a group called Take Back Toledo has collected enough valid signatures to put a Finkbeiner recall vote on the ballot at the same time the mayoral election is contested on Nov. 3. If successful, it would mean Carty would be booted from office about six weeks before a new mayor takes the oath on Jan. 4 of next year.
I have no particular problem with Take Back Toledo, which is also offering a slate of fairly fresh candidates for City Council. The Democrat party in NW Ohio is fractured and perceived to be about as friendly as a mosh pit to outsiders. The Republicans barely exist. Old-time politics around here ain t exactly what our mothers and fathers would remember.
So, yes, a little revolution every now and then might be a good thing.
But it s time to call off the dogs on the mayoral recall vote. Because Carty is leaving of his own volition and, frankly, he doesn t deserve having his nose rubbed in it.
You can dislike the guy or you can hate his policies and actions and the perception of what he has done to a decaying, death-watch city. But he has done good things, too, however overshadowed they might be. And, as the great Andy Douglas said in Monday s story, the one thing you can t question is his devotion to his beloved city.
I believe that to be true, Bert. At age 70, Carty doesn t deserve the indignity of being recalled on his way to the political sidelines. The revolution merely becomes petty at that point.
Thanks for the explainer on Captain Marko Ramius. I m pretty sure I saw that movie (that is, I remember Sean Connery in something submariney, suggesting I didn t read but watched this story), and still I had no idea what guy you were talking about.
But Carty? Everybody knows Carty. People who live nowhere near here and have not so much as visited Toledo know who Carty is. And my reaction to his voluntary political retreat is a feeble and inarticulate one-word statement:
Because, face it, it s hard to imagine the local political landscape without Carleton S. Finkbeiner. Kind of a variation on that old tree-falling-in-the-forest: If Carty isn t involved in Toledo, is Toledo still Toledo ?
And the answer is: Of course it is.
Things change. Life moves on. Carty isn t the first political fixture to step off to the side of the road, and he won t be the last.
In his various terms of office as mayor, he has (in my mind, anyway) come to embody a very distinctive version of Toledo, a kind of nod to a bygone era. Toledo as wishful thinking, so to speak.
I remember when he threw his hat into the ring for this latest term, after having already served twice and then taken the term-limited required hiaitus from the 22nd floor. He gathered boatloads of supporters at The Docks (of course) for a news conference at which he announced what everyone already knew and the guy actually broke out into a chorus of We re Strong for Toledo.
We re strong for Toledo!
The girls are the fairest,
The guys are the squarest
You have to be Of A Certain Age to know that song. I am probably at the upper range of that demographic; it s a song I remember hearing in childhood. It s a hokey song, hokey to the point of approaching camp but he belted out that number and I remember thinking to myself, Get ready to take two steps backward.
Not, necessarily, because of Carty s policies or aims. There can be no denying that Hizzoner wanted to move this city forward, that he loved loves Toledo, that this city is his passion, and blah blah blah, so on and so forth. It s all true, certainly. But if anyone has proved that love and passion are not always enough to see us through, well, it s Carty.
I have a lot more to say about Carty Finkbeiner and I will, probably in the column, sometime before he leaves office.
But today, Hack, I m with you: Carty doesn t, as you so aptly put it, deserve the indignity of being recalled on his way to the political sidelines. The current recall effort is not only a waste no, a squandering -- of energy and time and money, as well a needless duplication of this little system we have called voting, but it s also absolutely petty indeed.
There s time enough left for serious analysis of the political achievements and failures of Carleton S. Finkbeiner. Today, it s enough to say that his announcement this week marks the end of a political era here in Toledo.
And I, who have been among his harshest and most relentless critics, will miss the guy.
Hugs n kisses,
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