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Published: Saturday, 2/21/2009

Wilkowski loses Web address for mayoral campaign

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Four years ago, Democrat Keith Wilkowski ran for mayor using the Web address wilkowskiformayor.com.

It said it all. The perfect Web site.

But that Web site address wasn't available to Mr. Wilkowski this year as he tools up for another run at Toledo's top government position.

That's because his Republican opponent, Jim Moody, already snapped it up.

A Blade search of Web-site domains revealed that Mr. Moody registered several variations of Mr. Wilkowski's name on Aug. 8, 2008, along with domains for his own potential campaign.

Mr. Moody thinks he paid $2 or $3 for each name.

"I meant to tell him yesterday he can have it," Mr. Moody offered, referring to a TV news show taping event they both attended.

Mr. Wilkowski said he was unperturbed about the loss of his 2005 Web site, of which he had not been aware.

"I can assure Toledoans that my campaign is too focused on jobs and putting people to work than to play games registering other candidates' Web sites," he said.

Mr. Wilkowski said the address he's using, www.keithwilkowski.com, will be "just as effective."

Mr. Moody also had purchased Web addresses for his own campaign, including the one that he is using, www.moodyformayor.com.

In the same session that he reserved Mr. Wilkowski's old domain, Mr. Moody picked up www.takebacktoledo.com, which he said he gave at no cost to the organization trying to recall Mayor Carty Finkbeiner from office.

Mr. Moody said yesterday that his nephew, Mark Kidman, who works with him as an agent at his real estate business, Flex Realty, purchased the Web domains for him while they were together discussing his potential bid for mayor.

"I can't remember where we thought it up. It could have been at a tavern someplace," he said. "I think we were joking pretty much about it. I can't remember if I had even decided if I was going to run or not."

Mr. Moody didn't buy URLs with any other candidates' names.

At that time last summer, Mr. Wilkowski was acknowledging that he was likely to run for mayor, with an exploratory committee and campaign fund-raising under way, while other potential candidates were far less committed.

Six days earlier, Mr. Wilkowski was quoted in The Blade, saying, "I believe I am the right person to lead our community in a new direction, particularly with regard to the economic development issues."

Even now, only Mr. Wilkowski, Mr. Moody, and independent Opal Covey have declared their candidacies.

Others who may run are incumbent Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, former Toledo fire chief Michael Bell, and Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop, all Democrats, and GOP City Councilman George Sarantou.

Mr. Konop said he hasn't registered a domain with the word "mayor" in it yet.

"It's nowtoledo.net for now," Mr. Konop responded in an e-mail. Also reserved by Mr. Konop is www.benkonop.com.

Mayor Finkbeiner did not immediately return a call left with his office as to whether he would resurrect the 2005 domain, www.cartygetsresults.com, or start with a new one, in case he decides to seek re-election.

Records show the Web domain is registered to Critchley Creative, a business owned by media consultant Ellen Critchley, who has worked for Mr. Finkbeiner in the past.

"He did not ask me to maintain the name. Nor did I tell him I retained ownership of the name. I'm retaining it in case he would ever run again and want to use that same name," Ms. Critchley said.

Mr. Bell, who is now the state fire marshal, may have to do some negotiating. A Mike Bell ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Kenosha, Wis., in 2008 and registered the domains www.Bell4Mayor.com, www.BellforMayor.com, www.MichaelBell4Mayor.com, and www.MikeBell4Mayor.com.

Ms. Covey said she hasn't established a Web site yet, but plans to do so.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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