Deadline Now: Toledo Mayor Mike Bell

Deadline Now: Toledo Mayor Mike Bell

Friday, October 18, 2013

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell (I) is in the midst of a tough re-election campaign. With less than two weeks until voters head for the polls, the Mayor discusses his goals, plans to accomplish them and more, on this week's "Deadline Now."

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"

I don’t know how Mayor Bell feels about this, but I have a hunch it would have been easier to be mayor of Toledo fifteen years ago, when the economy was booming and the federal government was actually running surpluses, not trillion-dollar deficits.

But nobody gets to pick the era they live in. I don’t think anyone would say that the mayor hasn’t tried hard to do a good job.

On the other hand, few would say he’s done things perfectly. But when you get right down to it, that’s not what this election is about. The voters simply have to decide this: Would Toledo be better off over the next four years with Mike Bell as their mayor?

Or would things go better with D. Michael Collins in the job? The primary election results would seem to indicate either a good deal of dissatisfaction with the mayor -- or that a lot of people were really crazy about the other candidates. Nearly three out of every four voters chose a different candidate than the Mayor.

But Mike Bell still got more total votes than anyone. It would be foolish to assume that voters who chose Anita Lopez or Joe McNamara would automatically prefer Collins over Bell.

Nine years ago, polls showed a solid majority of Americans would have preferred a different president than George W. Bush. But he still won re-election that fall.  Why? Because they may not have been in love with Bush, but they preferred him to John Kerry.

Plus it is important to note that there is a big difference between primary and general election voters. For one thing, a lot more people vote in November than in September -- in most cases, from two to three times as many.

A few years ago, one mayor of Detroit actually finished a poor second in his primary election -- but won easily on election night.

So -- nobody yet knows what’s going to happen when Toledo votes on November fifth. However, we do have to hope for this result:

Whoever wins, we need to hope that four years from now, people feel that they did the right thing. And that if someone in 2017 asks Toledoans Ronald Reagan’s famous question -- “Are you better off now than you were four years ago --” they will say yes.

No matter who ends up becoming mayor.