Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Local union head wants to 'de-nut' Toledo city councilman

Yes, it's true - but that's not all. Let's throw in some tarring and feathering as well!

Dennis Duffey, former head of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 8 and currently secretary-treasurer of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, isn't happy with Toledo city council president Joe McNamara.

"Whether he should be removed, tarred and feathered, or de-nutted, it don’t [expletive deleted] matter, something ought to happen to him,” Duffey told The Blade.

Tarring and feathering is brutal - the subject is stripped to his waist; hot tar is poured or painted on the body; then the victim is rolled around in a pile of feathers or has feathers thrown on him. The subject is then paraded around town on a cart or wooden rail. The purpose of this savage attack is to inflict enough pain and/or humiliation to either force conformity or get the individual to leave the town.

De-nutting is even worse.

So much for dispelling the union thuggery myth.

What could have a prominent Democrat, union leader and former appointee to the Lucas County Port Authority suggesting such violence again another Democrat?

They are supporting two different people to fill a vacancy on the council. Duffey, along with the local Democratic Party, has endorsed Shaun Enright, a staff organizer for the IBEW. McNamara is supporting former Mayor Jack Ford for the position because, as McNamara explained, Ford is black:

"I think it's unjust if we would not have an at-large African-American on council when we have the most qualified person possible," Mr. McNamara said, referring to Mr. Ford.

But what about women? Women are 52% of the city's population so shouldn't we have more than just two district reps on the body? Where is the concern about appointing a woman to an at-large seat?

It's sort of fitting that a political party so wrapped up in special interest identities ends up fighting over how to split the spoils among those special interests.

Not that a city council seat is properly considered 'spoils' - but in Toledo it is.

The two candidates for the vacant seat aren't exactly the cream of the crop. Enright has a police record and Ford has bounced from office to office, including a lamentable time as mayor, only to be beaten by Carty Finkbeiner (his predecessor). People joke that Toledo picked crazy, then lazy, then crazy again before settling on current mayor and beloved Fire Chief, Mike Bell.

Ford also has health issues. In 2007, he was named to a vacancy on the Toledo School Board, but in 2011 was hospitalized for weeks and missed months of school board meetings. At that time, it was reported he was undergoing dialysis and was hoping to make a kidney transplant list.

There has been no public discussion about his current state of health nor its impact on his ability to serve on council.

If the local Republican Party endorsed anyone for the position, their website doesn't say. A Republican member of council did take out an ad to solicit applications for the vacancy and more than 28 letters of interest, including from an, attorney, police officer, former radio news reporter and several entrepreneurs. There's even a management consultant, Richard Parish, who has an MBA with extensive experience in non-profits and private industry as well as finance. Shouldn't a man like that someone we would all want on city council?

None of them are even being considered, much less discussed, as possible replacements.

The worst part about all this is that Toledo City Council is a non-partisan office and filling any vacancy on the body is left up to the remaining members.

But the city charter (re-written by several Democrats and adopted by Toledoans in 1993) provides no process for the selection of the replacement.

There are no requirements for advertising the vacancy, no method for soliciting applicants, no interview process candidates must go through. Council just names the individual. And since there are a majority of Democrats on council, naturally it should be the local Democratic Party that decides this for everyone.

Until upshots like McNamara and Michael Craig (who defeated Enright in the last election) start thinking they can think on their own. Then they have to be brought back into line, resulting in a union head wanting to tar and feather or de-nut one of them.

Why just McNamara? Because he sits on the executive committee of the Lucas County Democratic Party and, as the article explains, those individuals take an oath to support the party and its endorsed candidates. As Duffy told the paper:

He said if Mr. McNamara is being forced to choose between the obligations of being a public official or a member of the Democratic Party’s executive committee “he should quit one of them.”

While The Blade treats this as just another day in Toledo politics - and it pretty much is - there is a bigger issue of loyalty. Do we elect city council members to be loyal to the Democratic Party (or Republican Party, for that matter), or to the voters, residents and citizens of the city?

And when there is conflict between the two, what does the politician do?

They *should* err on the side of Toledoans, but in this city, they usually tow the party line because the Democrat Party controls virtually everything - and unions control the party.

Since McNamara wants to be mayor, he'll need the union support - and the party's support - if he wants to get elected. As a Democrat, that is.

Meanwhile, 67% of Toledoans - those who aren't registered Democrats - are left wondering who represents them. No wonder people are fleeing this town.

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