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Published: Friday, 7/12/2013

Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara files petitions to run for mayor

Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara completes his paperwork today at the Lucas County Board of Elections as he files to run for mayor of Toledo. Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara completes his paperwork today at the Lucas County Board of Elections as he files to run for mayor of Toledo.

Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara today became the fourth candidate to turn in the necessary 750 valid signatures required to get on the city's ballot for mayor.

Mr. McNamara, a Democrat, told news reporters that he would be a mayor "who's focused on creating jobs here," and said that so far he's the only one to have proposed a detailed economic development plan.

He said his plan includes doing a national search for a qualified department director, and blasted the current administration headed by independent Mayor Mike Bell as hiring top staff based on "political connections." He said his plan calls for "investing in ourselves," which would raise the overall standard of living in the city.

Mr. McNamara is one of seven people expected to have turned in signature petitions by 4 p.m. today at the office of the Lucas County Board of Elections. Mayor Bell, independent Councilman D. Michael Collins, and Democrat Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez have already filed.

In his remarks, Mr. McNamara dismissed Mr. Bell's claim to have created 6,100 jobs since becoming mayor. That's the difference in total employment in the city between May, 2013, and the month the mayor took office, January, 2010. Mr. McNamara said those jobs came about as a result of the economic recovery from the recession, not any action that Mayor Bell took.

Asked to comment on the Marina District, Mr. McNamara acknowledged that he voted to support the mayor's plan to sell a 69-acre portion of the 125-acre waterfront site to a group of Chinese investors, but said that he did so because of a provision that allows the city to buy the property back at the same price, $55,000 an acre, as the Chinese paid for it in 2011 if it is not developed to the city's expectations in five years. He said a qualified economic development director would be able to come up with a plan to get the property developed.

Mr. Bell has said he's confident the Chinese owners will move ahead with a development plan. At least three previous sets of developers failed in their efforts to convert the former industrial property into a commercial or residential project before Dashing Pacific Ltd. acquired the property.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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