Former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who has been testing union and Democratic Party support for a possible mayoral run in November, yesterday reached out to sample support in the business community.
The former mayor invited area executives, entrepreneurs, and political supporters to a private breakfast meeting at Cousino's Navy Bistro at The Docks in International Park.
Mr. Finkbeiner, and some of those present who heard his pitch, said he focused on the need for the business community to take more leadership in Toledo.
"I want some honest discussion to take place that frankly does not have politics as the center of it - our position in competition with other regions, and our muscle, or lack thereof, in relation to other regions," Mr. Finkbeiner said.
Among those in attendance at the bagels-and-juice affair were Bruce Rumpf of Job One USA and a supporter of a downtown arena; Tom Noe, owner of Vintage Coin & Collectibles and chairman of the Bush re-election campaign in northwest Ohio; and Tony Packo, Jr., president of Tony Packo's Inc., the nationally known Hungarian restaurant based on Toledo's east side. The event was hosted by Tom Cousino, owner of the bistro, but it was not clear whether he ultimately paid for the light breakfast.
The former mayor circulated a form for attendees to complete, which included a blank space where an individual could indicate what assistance he or she would be willing to offer - if the former mayor chooses to run again, of course.
Mr. Finkbeiner, a Democrat, said he'll decide whether to run by June 15 after determining whether he has the political support and after learning the outcome of some physical examinations. The city's first strong mayor underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery in March, 2004. He said he has changed his diet and instituted a daily workout to combat his heart disease.
Incumbent Mayor Jack Ford's campaign consultant, Jim Ruvolo, said Mr. Finkbeiner's meeting was clearly the activity of a political candidate.
"The only people who don't know Carty's running is the management of Channel 13," Mr. Ruvolo said. Mr. Finkbeiner works part time as a host and commentator for a public affairs program Sunday mornings on WTVG-TV, Channel 13.
Brian Trauring, WTVG news director, said Mr. Finkbeiner hasn't told them whether he's running but that he will have to quit if he becomes a candidate.