Lacking information about who is involved, the story attempts to present the group as supporters of Jim Hartung, the former director of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority who was fired earlier this year. The Blade has long had a vendetta against Hartung that is well documented, so how else to start the discrediting of the group than to attempt to tie them to Hartung?
Other than Mr. Schlachter, membership in the group was not well-documented yesterday, but according to a person who was at the meeting at the Toledo Club, other recall backers include Tom Pounds, publisher of the Toledo Free Press; Andy Stuart, general manager of Clear Channel radio stations in Toledo, and Sanford Lubin, editor of the Toledo Business Journal.
All three have been critical of Mayor Finkbeiner and all three were supporters of James Hartung, the fired president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
Hmmm...all three are also men, so does that have some significance? All three have also been critical of The Blade, so is that perhaps a reason to try and discredit them? I'm fairly confident the paper will try to portray this group as a bunch of dissatisfied media people who are only looking for increases in ratings or subscribers. But that would ignore the rest of the group, most of whom have not yet announced themselves.
Having been left out of the announcement process, the reporter asks several bank executives about the TBT group with some saying they were invited, but declined to participate. I suspect there are quite a number of business executives who believe they should be more involved in local governmental policies that impact businesses, but who would not want to be part of recalling a mayor. That's just a business perspective - not a criticism of the effort itself, as The Blade attempts to portray.
Of course, our Republican Party Chairman, Jon Stainbrook, weighs in on the effort by opposing it. Many in the party will not be surprised to find this is his position. He's quoted as saying the funds for the recall could be better used. Perhaps he's forgotten that Republicans are supposed to believe individuals are better judges of how to spend their money than government - or a political party.
It's also no surprise that two potential candidates for mayor, Republican Jim Moody and Democrat Keith Wilkowski, are supportive of the recall. To have an incumbent mayor face a recall effort at the same time as a re-election campaign certainly bodes well for his opponents.
If this were just a recall effort, I wouldn't see the point. Carty could actually end up being recalled at the same time he's re-elected as mayor. While that scenario is not probable, it is possible - especially in Toledo and especially with Carty.
However, the stated goals of Take Back Toledo are not just to recall the mayor, but to support a strong candidate for mayor who understands that the success of the business community is directly tied to the success of our city.
They also want to change the city charter. I will withhold judgment on their goal of modifying the city charter until I see what specifics they propose - but I'm already on the record as opposing a switch back to the city manager form of government because I believe a change in government structure does not mean we end up with a change in the philosophy of those we elect to govern.
The true test of this newly-formed group will not be the recall effort - nor will it be their ability to find, support and elect a mayoral candidate.
The true test will be of their own willpower and courage. Will this group be able to weather the political and Blade attacks that will surely come and, by doing so, encourage other business leaders to also take a stand on the various policy decisions that get made in our community? If they are successful in that regard, they will have accomplished much.