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Published: Friday, 12/30/2005

'The passion's still there,' incoming mayor declares

During Carty Finkbeiner's two terms as Toledo's first strong mayor in decades, the economy boomed, federal dollars flowed, and Gov. George Voinovich - a former Cleveland mayor - offered support.

"I was blessed," Mr. Finkbeiner said of his 1994-2001 tenure during a taping of The Editors television program. Explaining, in part, his comfortable margin of victory last month over incumbent Mayor Jack Ford, he said: "The timing of the national economy did not work in his favor."

Mr. Finkbeiner takes office next week.

The mayor-elect, 66, had heart bypass surgery in 2004, but said he has not lost his energy - as, he added, his campaign workers can attest. He follows a regimen of healthy diet, exercise, and rest - and "of course, don't stress out," he said. "I need to be a learned, a more sensitive person in my communication skills."

He said he learned back as a onetime football coach that he was a better motivator, whether expressing anguish or joy, when he raised his voice.

"I need to tame it down, but the passion's still there," he said.

Mr. Finkbeiner elaborated on his plans and hopes for several ongoing projects, including the Marina District, Westgate Village Shopping Center, and Southwyck during a conversation with Thomas Walton, vice president and editor of The Blade.

The Editors will be broadcast at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

Mr. Finkbeiner envisions a "village experience" in developments at Westgate, Southwyck, DeVeaux Village Shopping Center, and in East Toledo's Birmingham neighborhood, anchored by Tony Packo's Cafe.

"We want to keep that small-town flavor," Mr. Finkbeiner said.

He said his administration would work to bring new tenants to One SeaGate as the landmark downtown building prepares for the departure next year of Owens-Illinois Inc., which has made its headquarters there for nearly 25 years - and to make sure that other tenants stay.

Mr. Finkbeiner was criticized during his first eight years for not having a chief of staff who could act in his stead. That's already changed, he said, as Robert Reinbolt, his designee for the post, has had such authority since the election.

"I wouldn't hire anybody that he didn't sign off on," Mr. Finkbeiner said. "It's something actually I would love to have had those eight years. Maybe it was my fault that I never found him."

Mr. Reinbolt was a department director in the previous Finkbeiner administration and retired during the Ford administration.

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