Mayor's report on Obama auto advisor meeting in Clev. - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Mayor's report on Obama auto advisor meeting in Clev.

A press release dated April 9, 2009

Mayor Finkbeiner went to Cleveland, where he met with Ed Montgomery, President Obama's Auto Advisor, and the leader of the Auto Task Force, which works with cities most affected by America's struggling auto industry. Governor Ted Strickland and Lt. Governor Lee Fisher hosted the meeting, which also was attended by Ohio Department of Development Director Mark Barbash, Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge, and Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Tim Ryan. Other participating Mayors included Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Dayton Mayor Rhine L. McLin, and several other Mayors from smaller cities in Northeast Ohio.

The discussion with Mr. Montgomery took place from 1 p.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m., and was followed by a press conference, with all attendees participating. One of the main points of the meeting was to discuss how those cities that have either closed automotive plants, or reduced the numbers of automotive workers could get back on their feet again. At the 2:30 press conference, Mr. Montgomery announced that the Federal government will be purchasing 17,000 new automobiles from Ford, Chrysler, and GM, to do its part in stimulating the economy. These vehicles will be purchased in two timeframes--May 1 and June 1.

The Mayors present voiced their concerns about what kind of economic stimulus money is available for those in the auto parts supply business, and what kind of Federal economic stimulus funds are available to local communities that would enable them to purchase Police and other vehicles.

Mayor Finkbeiner suggested three ideas at the meeting. First, that those cities with the highest unemployment numbers as a result of automotive layoffs and manufacturing downsizing should receive an extra percentage of economic stimulus funds. Secondly, that alternative energy stimulus dollars be focused directly and specifically upon cities like Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, Dayton, and Youngstown, and other "Rust Belt" cities, rather than to West and East coast cities. Mayor Finkbeiner said this would not only help Midwest cities get back on their feet again, but would encourage those cities to explore alternative energy investment and entrepreneurship. Mayor Finkbeiner also suggested that other states were working to bring about the demise of key automotive and manufacturing states (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois), and that the Obama Administration recognized that California and major East and West Coast cities were intentionally thwarting economic development incentive funds that were coming to Midwest cities affected by the declining automotive manufacturing base. Mayor Finkbeiner said that automotive-based Midwest cities need to work closely with Mr. Montgomery and his Task Force to build a stronger core group of support in the House and Senate for those initiatives that could help the Midwest in general, and in particular, cities like Toledo, Youngstown, Dayton, and Akron get back on their feet.

Mayor Finkbeiner said the high point of the press conference, which was convened by Governor Strickland, was the announcement about the acquisition of 17,000 American-made automobiles by the Federal government, which demonstrates a commitment to get the American automobile industry back on its feet.

Upon returning to Toledo, Mayor Finkbeiner released the following statement: "Today's meeting proves that while America's automotive centers are taking a few blows, we are far from beaten. With Toledo and other Midwest cities working with Mr. Montgomery and his Auto Task Force, we can -- and will -- recover from this difficult period in our history."

Powered by Frankly