Toledo City Councilman D. Michael Collins has launched his campaign for mayor by focusing on his career-long interest in public safety.
Mr. Collins, 68, an independent, was joined today by a couple dozen supporters outside the shuttered Toledo Police northwest district station on Sylvania Avenue, which he vowed to reopen within 90 days of taking office.
"I have spent a majority of my adult life as a crime fighter. I can tell you that a community cannot grow until its citizens feel safe,” Mr. Collins said. “The closing of this station in 2012 by the current mayor’s administration is another example of how out of touch this administration is with the needs of its citizens. This station is needed not just for the citizens of West Toledo, but as an integral part of an effective police operation in the City of Toledo.”
He enters a campaign that already had six candidates, and hopes to perform better than when he came in fourth in the 2009 mayoral primary.
Mr. Collins has made a name for himself as a bulldog on council, frequently challenging the Mayor Mike Bell administration over spending, and just about every other issue.
Among those backing Mr. Collins at his announcement event was Ron Scanlon, a fellow retired Toledo police officer and unsuccessful Republican candidate for city council in the 1990s who called Mr. Collins, "a man of integrity, honesty, straightforwardness."
"The community needs someone more business-oriented [than Mr. Bell]," Mr. Scanlon said. "I think he'd be excellent. Something's got to be done to turn the community around."
Mr. Collins was a police officer for 28 years, including 10 years as president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association union. He has a master's of business administration from the University of Toledo where he has taught part-time. Mr. Collins, who lives on Heatherwood Drive in South Toledo, represents city council District 2.
He claimed the city has experienced a rise in serious crime since the start of Mr. Bell's term. He acknowledged that city tax revenues have rebounded under Mayor Bell, but "not enough."
Already in the race are Mayor Bell, a political independent; Democrat Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez; Democrat Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara; Republican evangelist Opal Covey; retired city worker and Libertarian Michael Konwinski, and city neighborhoods specialist and union president Alan Cox, a political independent. The top two vote-getters to emerge from the Sept. 10 primary will face off in the November election.
Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@the blade.com or 419-724-6058.