Short version: The only thing true in this ad is that Mike Bell is the Mayor of Toledo, used to be a firefighter, and was laid off in 1980. That’s about it. That leaves 29 seconds of outright misleading and untruthful statements about Issue 2.
Bell doesn’t mention that his “layoff” was rather temporary. So temporary, he doesn’t even mention it in his official bio. And as Joseph has already pointed out, Bell’s short-term layoff occurred four years before the law that SB 5 is attempted to rollback existed.
[Flashback:] Also, Mayor Bell didn’t always give SB 5 his full-throated endorsement.
Back in March, he called Senate Bill 5 a mixed bag with some punitive parts in it. Just in case you were wondering, here’s the LSC analysis of Senate Bill 5 as it existed when Bell gave this interview (the version that had passed the State Senate). This is before the House added provisions that made it hard for the unions to raise money for political speech or collect fair share fees from non-union employees who benefit from a labor union’s collective bargaining agreement. (See page 20.)
Remember the punitive provisions of SB 5 the House took out before passing it? Yeah, me either because the bill got even more punitive to labor.
Bell then claims that he’s been working to “fix his city” or “raising taxes.” Bell was elected in 2009. What did he introduce in his first budget? Higher taxes by eliminating a tax credit for citizens of Toledo who live in the city, but work elsewhere. Oh, and then he threatened mass layoffs if the public safety unions did not make major concessions… which they did under the current collective bargaining agreement. Which kind of disproves the point that Issue 2 is needed for Bell to manage the city’s costs.
Guess what he’s threatening this year? Massive layoffs unless the unions make major concessions. For a guy who hates massive layoffs, he sure likes to go to that well often. Why is he have to go to that well again? Because John Kasich’s budget cuts funding for local governments roughly 10% more than Bell’s Administration had expected.
As for Issue 2 giving communities the tools to balance their budgets without massive layoffs, I’ve got two words for you: Mt. Sterling.
Mayor Bell likes this ad because it presents him as a guy who’s against wasteful spending and outrageous benefits. But in 2007, Bell reported to the Ohio Ethics Commission in his financial disclosure forms that he earned $125,000 as the Toledo Fire Chief, another $50k as the State’s Fire Marshal, all while drawing a pension from the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. In other words, Bell has been double or tripled dipping since 2007.
When he was elected Mayor in 2009, the Toledo Blade reported at the time:
He will be paid $122,400 as mayor, as well as receiving his state pension which totaled $62,319 in 2008.
Bell makes nearly five times the median income of the residents of his city. What personal sacrifices has Bell put on the table financially? None.
Oh, and the Blade also said:
[Bell] hinted that he would be open to an increase in taxes if that’s what the public wanted.
So much for this guy not wanting to raise taxes, right?
Bell is the same Mayor who earlier this year got in hot water because he had the Toledo Police Department guard a gift rock to the city while shootings flared up in the city.
This is who the Build a Better Ohio decided to launch their pro-Issue 2 campaign with. A double dipping hypocrite of a Mayor who says he opposes mass layoffs but routinely threatens them to get his way, uses the police to guard the city’s “pet rock” and called Senate Bill 5, on video, a “mixed bag” with some punitive measures in it that out to be removed.
And he’s claiming SB 5 will stop mass layoffs in our communities, which we already know is false. Mayor Bell will continue to use mass layoffs as a bargaining tactic to get what he wants, then tells the public he can’t be that bad of a guy because after all he was laid off in 1980 as a firefighter. Too bad Bell leaves out that the City of Toledo didn’t have to roll back collective bargaining rights in order for him to get his job back.