Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Toledo initiatives hold their kickoffs with optimistic supporters

Two initiatives for the November ballot kicked off last night with good attendance and hope for success.

Take Back Toledo had about 150 people at their 'recall Carty' meeting at the Erie Street Market. (Details on the door-locking issue are available here.) The first prong of their approach is to recall Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and they distributed petitions for that effort at the meeting.

COAST (Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes) representative Chris Finney was in from Cincinnati to help start the Toledo charter amendment to ban red-light cameras. Finney explained how they were successful in Cincinnati in building a coalition with such groups as COAST, Americans For Prosperity-Ohio Chapter, Cincinnati Chapter NAACP, and the Libertarian, Green and Republican Parties to prohibit Cincinnati from installing any red-light or speed cameras.

As this was an organizing meeting, several leaders were identified and details of the requirements for a charter amendment were provided. Petitions, detailed instructions and talking points will be distributed to attendees by the end of the week.

Take Back Toledo will hold additional kickoffs Wednesday at 5:30 at Dave's Home Cooked Foods on Reynolds Road and at Arnies (Monroe Street) on Thursday at 5:30. They have to gather around 20,000 signatures in a 90-day period.

The red-light charter amendment only requires about 4,700 signatures that must be submitted 75 days prior to a regularly scheduled municipal election. The amendment could appear on either the September primary or November general election, though the consensus appeared to be to place it on the November ballot.

One of the observations from both these meetings was the positive attitude of the attendees. While those present were angry about various issues, (decisions by the mayor or the lack of due process in the camera citations) they were very positive about the options for success.

For quite some time, I've been seeing what I call 'pockets of change' - little groups of people who band together to attempt to do something different to better our community. Those little pockets, however, are isolated and small. These two efforts seem to bring people together in common causes - to merge those pockets into a bigger and more powerful group. As people looked around the room, saw the number of people who were also interested, they developed a optimism that I haven't seen in a long time.

I think the success of getting both these initiatives on the ballot will be the start of better things, as people realize they do have the power to impact and influence their local government.

7 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

Perhaps the sleeper has awakened.

Maggie Thurber said...

Trust you, Tim, to come up with the appropriate sci-fi reference!

thanks!

Black Swamp Road Geek said...

Better idea.

Field a candidate to win the office. This effort is an act of cowardice by these business leaders. One of them should step up and run for the office. That would give the people a choice instead of making headlines as a bunch of whiners

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

I was on my way to both meetings when Mrs. AHL reminded me she was at UT for classes all night, and the kids were home alone, so I headed home.

I feel both initiatives are great examples of citizens not only commenting about issues they have, but finally taking action. While I am not a resident of Toledo, so my signature will not go on either petition; I am effected by both and plan on being active in the efforts.

TAHL

Maggie Thurber said...

BSRG - the TBT group is not a bunch of whiners ... they're actually taking action to implement what they believe in. In fact, in seeing what they believe to be a problem, they are following the steps they believe will correct it. That would make them activists.

As for fielding a candidate, they plan to do that as well. It is the second prong in their approach. I will be watching to see if they insist on a business-friendly candidate or if they choose the lesser of evils that might end up running.

The third prong is to address changes in the city charter. I've not heard about their plans for what in the charter should be changed, but will look forward to evaluating their suggestions.

None of these tasks constitutes 'cowardice.'

Lisa Renee said...

I think it would be unfortunate if both ballot issues are put together, it would make people who support the red light issue appear to support the recall and vice versa.

I know several people, myself included that support the constitutional questions raised related to the red light cameras but have no interest in being involved in the Mayoral recall.

I also know several that are the opposite who support the recall and not the red lights, I think you know one in particular I'm referring to Maggie.

Maggie Thurber said...

LOL, Lisa!

They are two separate groups being organized and run by completely different people.

But the attitude I see - the sense of empowerment that comes from the people interested in the two individual issues - that's the thing they share...and that's a good thing.

It's been a long time since I saw Toledoans joining together to accomplish something.

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