Former Mayor Jack Ford, seated, confers with Jerry Chabler, center, chairman of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s airport committee, and former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner at the Beirut restaurant in Toledo, where Mr. Ford held a fund-raiser for his city council campaign.
The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
Former Mayor Jack Ford told a fund-raising crowd that gathered for him tonight that he will focus on youth programs and what he called the deplorable state of housing if he is elected to city council this year.
Mr. Ford, 65, greeted supporters at a $50-per-ticket fund-raiser in The Beirut restaurant in West Toledo.
"I've never seen housing as bad as it is now. I'm going to raise hell as much as I can from a council perch. I'm not running to be a second mayor," Mr. Ford said. "I'm stunned by the deterioration I see in the older neighborhoods."
Mr. Ford also said he would advocate for youth programming, including a return of the youth entrepreneurship initiative he started when he was mayor, from 2002 to 2006. Under that program, youths who qualified were awarded grants to start a business, such as mowing loans, styling hair, or cutting a rap record.
He said there's too much crime, including black on black crime.
"When I see pretty much silence from city hall, I can't remain silent myself," Mr. Ford said.
He said that having recovered from nearly dying two years ago he still thinks he has something to contribute to Toledo government. Mr. Ford suffers from kidney illness, but said he is managing his condition.
"Two years ago about this time, you know, I almost bought the farm. It was touch and go. They had to hit me nine times with the defibrillator to bring me back," Mr. Ford said as he thanked his supporters and asked them to support him "one more time."
Asked later for a comment, Mayor Mike Bell rejected the criticism of the city's efforts on housing and crime. He said his administration has demolished more abandoned houses than either of his two predecessors, including 900 in the last 18 months, and that crime is down 18 percent in the last year.
"That's very subjective. It's political rhetoric," Mr. Bell said of the criticism. "They know I'm dealing with an older city. I'm doing the best that I can be done with the money we have. When they were in office, if it was that easy, why didn't they do it?"
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