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Published: Friday, 1/9/2009

Recall planners slate training for volunteers

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The campaign to recall Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner officially begins Monday night when the organizers plan to meet with volunteers who have expressed an interest to help gather the needed 19,753 signatures within 90 days to put the decision before voters in September.

"The goal is for volunteers to be there and to train them on properly having petitions circulated so they will be well informed," said Tom Schlachter, the treasurer and spokesman for Take Back Toledo.

The group will meet at the Erie Street Chowder House near downtown at 5:30 p.m. Monday. A second meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dave's Home Cooked Foods, 1855 South Reynolds Rd.

Mr. Schlachter said the volunteers would need to collect more than 20,000 valid signatures from registered Toledo voters by April 18 to place the recall of Mr. Finkbeiner on the September primary election ballot.

The group, led by two officials of radio station WSPD-AM 1370, two suburban real estate developers, and the owner of a suburban trucking company, went public early last month with a plan to get a recall of Mr. Finkbeiner on the ballot.

The group's members say Mr. Finkbeiner's actions since taking office in 2006 have embarrassed the city, driven it deeper into fiscal crisis, and discouraged private investment in the city.

Mr. Schlachter yesterday cited the mayor's handling of FedEx Ground's decision not stay in the city to expand its hub facility in South Toledo on Reynolds Road near Angola Road and instead move to Perrysburg Township.

"The hostility he first showed when it appeared they would not expand in Toledo made it difficult for them to execute a more regional strategy that I think is necessary," he said.

FedEx, a package shipping company, decided to move from its location at 650 South Reynolds Rd. to a site north of State Rt. 795 and east of Glenwood Road in Perrysburg Township. The company on Oct. 11 inked a $4.6 million land deal to build a new regional hub in the township.

Later that month, Mr. Finkbeiner signed a tax-sharing district agreement with Perrysburg Township that ensures the city's cooperation in FedEx Ground's relocation. The deal helps both the city, which will lose a taxpayer, and the township, which does not have power on its own to enact an income tax. The agreement, which took just more than a year to finalize, allows for creation of a 2.25-percent income tax that would be split between Toledo and Perrysburg Township in exchange for Toledo selling water and sewer services in the district.

Jason Webber, Mr. Finkbeiner's spokesman, said yesterday the mayor would not comment on the Take Back Toledo group.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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