One issue likely to dominate Mayoral campaign - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

One issue likely to dominate Mayoral campaign

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The presidential election is over so now Toledo voters can turn their attention to the mayor's race.

Mayor Mike Bell (I) has not announced whether he'll run for re-election but some challengers are close to jumping in the race.

One issue will likely to dominate the campaign:  Collective bargaining.  Mayor Bell says he was doing what he thought was best for "all Toledo residents" when he supported Issue Two, last year.  But in 2013, Issue Two could mean a tough re-election fight.

When Mayor Bell endorsed Republican governor John Kasich's move to restrict collective bargaining rights he was bucking popular opinion on Issue Two.

Unions fought the measure and voters rejected Issue Two, last year.  Dan Desmond, the Vice President of Firefighter's Local 92 says, issue two "was a hit to the middle class and that's what fire fighters are-- like anybody else-- they're working for a living and trying to make good."

The head of the Toledo Police Patrolman's union, agrees.  Dan Wagner says Mayor Bell, who both the TPPA and Firefighter's Local 92 endorsed three years ago, used bully tactics in negotiating pension pick up eliminations and increases in health care contributions during contract talks.

Wagner tells 13abc's Bill Hormann his union is looking for a new mayoral candidate to back,
"someone who's more open to sit down and deal with you in a reasonable manner at the a table rather than taking the view such as the mayor has which I believe is anti-police."

Issue two even brought out Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez.  Last year, she charged the mayor with political grandstanding on Issue Two.   Now, she's exploring a run for mayor herself, telling 13abc,  "I'm just trying to listen to folks, take into consideration all their concerns."

City Council president Joe Mcnamara (D) is also eyeing the mayor's seat.

Lopez and McNamara are two strong Democrats the party's chairman believes will treat city workers better than Mayor Bell.  Ron Rothenbuhler says, "you need to make sure that you work with the employees and obviously a lot of them are union."

The mayor does have his backers.  Local business leaders are likely to support him... but so far... neither the mayor... nor any other candidate has formally announced they're running.

But when they do... Issue Two and relations with unions... will be a big factor in the race.

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