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Published: Friday, 4/27/2001

Mayor says his lessons can aid young Toledoans

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said last night the obstacles he overcame to become mayor hold a lesson for young adults who think the city may hold few opportunities for them.

His biggest hurdle was getting anybody to believe in him after he was forced to return the outstanding young man of the year award from the Junior Chamber of Commerce when it was discovered he had exaggerated the resume he entered for the contest.

In comments to more than 100 people at the Toledo Club, including members of Aspiring Mind of Toledo, a year-old group that encourages business networking and community involvement, the mayor said he couldn't find work for more than a year after the episode. With a young family to support, he briefly considered moving to Maryland.

“I wouldn't surrender any of those challenges,” he said. “The integrity issue I learned the hard way. Don't exaggerate. Tell it like it is. I am glad I got burned. I think I got burned for a reason. Somebody was sending me a lesson.

“I didn't run in 1971 from the toughest thing I had to deal with, and to the best of my knowledge I haven't run since.”

It took him 10 years after that humiliation to win election to city council, and another 14 years to get elected mayor, he said. The city will need that kind of persistence to make the transition from a reliance on manufacturing to a more balanced economy that embraces high-tech enterprises. Abundant water and a good transportation system are important area assets.

Making money has never been a motivator. “That's not to say that that's wrong,” he said. “But you have to make sure there is a social service bent to your life.”

The mayor said he identifies with the frustrations of blacks in Cincinnati, where four black men have been fatally shot since November. “I would be right there on the streets in Cincinnati with ... those young black men and women if four innocent young black men and been shot by the police department of Cincinnati.”

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