By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A9

When Stephen Goldsmith took office as mayor of Indianapolis in 1992, he faced a problem familiar to plenty of big-city mayors: the flow of people and money to the suburbs.

“On a clear day, from my office, I can actually see the dollar bills crossing the city line,” he said.

Immediately, he set out on a quest to strengthen Indianapolis by radically changing the way its government does business.

In a speech at the annual meeting of the Corporation for Effective Government on Friday, Mr. Goldsmith outlined how he has managed to do it, and along the way become one of America’s most acclaimed mayors.

His single biggest change has been to force city employees to compete with the private sector for the right to perform many city functions. Departments like wastewater treatment, fleet administration, and trash pickup – just about every department short of police and fire – have been put up for bid. Some contracts have gone to city unions, some to private contractors.

Similar moves in other cities have been decried by labor groups as blatant union busting. But Mr. Goldsmith said he has empowered the city’s employee unions, because they are allowed access to consultants and other corporate tools when formulating bids for services.

The result, the mayor said, is that unions, stripped of management bureaucracies, are in a surprisingly strong position when it comes time to choose who will perform the city’s work. He said no union workers have lost their jobs because of his reforms, although large numbers of middle managers have seen the unemployment line.

“The problem is not that public employees are less efficient than private employees,” he said. “It’s that public systems are less efficient than private systems.”

Free market conservatives such as Steve Forbes love his reforms. Mr. Forbes recently termed him tive mayors in American history.” But he has been almost universally lauded for his reforms, which have made him one of America’s biggest mayoral successes.

And statistics back up his boasts. One study released earlier this year rated Indianapolis the fourth-best city for earning-power in the country, and the city’s downtown is booming. Nonpublic safety city employees have been cut by 50 per cent. The reforms also have resulted in lower taxes. The competition has led to $400 million in savings, which he has largely put toward infrastructure improvements, he said. “It’s competition that produces value in the system,” he said.

Mr. Goldsmith said that value is increasingly important in cities like Indianapolis and Toledo, where corporate giants are increasingly fleeing for larger cities. Chicago or New York now, so we’ve got work to do,” he said.

CEG is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the improvement of government services in the Toledo area. It performs studies on area governmental institutions aimed at finding more efficient ways to do business.


By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

A Toledo council committee has approved a change in the city’s gun-control laws that could help stop anyone with a domestic-violence conviction from getting handguns.

The council’s public safety committee unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow city officials to refuse to issue a handgun identification card to people with such a conviction, even if it is a misdemeanor.

“It’s a minor change, but it can give the police a reason not to give out a card to someone,” said John Madigan, senior city attorney.

The change would bring the city’s handgun ID card law in line with the federal Brady Act rules, which prevent the purchase of a handgun by anyone convicted of domestic violence.

The issue came to the fore last month, when a mental patient was accused of walking into the psychiatric office of Dr. Wakil Khan and shooting him. He remained in critical condition yesterday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

The patient, William Vanzant, was issued a city handgun ID card in February, despite a misdemeanor domestic-violence conviction.

Sgt. Louis Beringer, administrative supervisor for the Toledo police records section, said that in the last three years, the city has issued ID cards to about 100 people with misdemeanor domestic-violence convictions.

Under existing city law, the city had no choice but to issue them, Mr. Madigan said.

Currently, a handgun card cannot be issued to someone who is under 21, has been convicted of a violent felony or a drug offense, or is drug-dependent, among other restrictions.

The handgun card does not entitle its holder to carry a gun, only to have one on the premises of his home or business.

The ordinance now will appear on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 16

The city of Toledo will have a new downtown development manager Friday, when Tara Barney resigns her post.

She will be replaced by Margy Poorman, who will be in charge of bringing businesses and people to Toledo’s downtown. “The city has made some excellent inroads downtown, and I hope to continue that,” said Ms. Poorman, 33.

Ms. Barney is leaving to move to Florida, where her husband, Jim, has accepted a job. Mr. Barney was the city’s parks and recreation director for two years before resigning last year.

Ms. Poorman will be in charge of all development efforts in downtown, the Warehouse District, and International Park. They include projects ranging from the completion of the Valentine Theatre renovation to attracting a health club downtown.

Before coming to Toledo’s development department in July, Ms. Poorman had worked at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce as an economic development and international trade specialist.

Before that, she worked for the foreign trade division of the U.S. Department of Commerce as a commodities analyst. She is a graduate of Youngstown State University.

Ms. Barney has been with the city since 1997, and has been downtown development manager since April, 1998. “I think that downtown is showing great signs of vitality, and I’ve enjoyed being part of it,” she said.

She left open the possibility she might return to the city. “The mayor has been very kind in assuring me that I would be welcome back,” she said.

By Joshua Benton and Mark Reiter
Blade Staff Writers

Page 1

An honor student with no previous disciplinary record is facing charges of inducing a panic after he allegedly threatened to blow up Sylvania’s Northview and Southview high schools.

“He’s a good kid who made a bad choice,” said Kevin Gorman, principal of Northview, where Nicholas Arvanitis, 18, is a senior. “People don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth.”

Mr. Arvanitis, 18, was arraigned yesterday in Sylvania Municipal Court. He was released on a $15,000 bond.

Just two months ago, he had spent a day following a Sylvania Township police officer to learn about careers in law enforcement.

“This is the kind of kid I would want to have for a son,” said Sergeant John Bartko, the officer with whom Mr. Arvanitis spent the day. “He is the last person I would expect to do this kind of thing.”

In the last 48 hours, the student has had a different kind of contact with local authorities. On Wednesday evening, Sylvania police searched his home, seized his computer, and placed him under arrest.

If convicted of the third-degree felony, he could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“His world just collapsed last night at 9:30 p.m.,” Sylvania Chief Gerald Sobb said yesterday.

Mr. Arvanitis, of 1638 Delmonte Dr., appeared in Sylvania Municipal Court Judge M. Scott Ramey’s court yesterday, wearing a dark green sweatshirt and baggy khaki trousers.

His eyes were puffy. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing, remaining emotionless with his head down throughout the arraignment.

He was there, police said, because he was responsible for the threat that caused both high schools to close yesterday.

The threat – that “the time for REVENGE is near,” “Sylvania NORTHVIEW and SOUTHVIEW will fall,” and “Columbine’s death toll will seem VERY SMALL” – was printed on a web page Mr. Arvanitis allegedly created on Angelfire, a California-based free web page service.

On Tuesday, Sylvania Superintendent Les Schultz received an anonymous e-mail alerting him to the presence of the web page. After he viewed the page, which said the threat would be carried out yesterday, Mr. Schultz alerted Sylvania police, who began tracking down the creator of the web page.

According to Sylvania Detective Mike Yunker, the first step in track|ing down the source was getting subpoenas through Lucas County prosecutors to obtain records on the source of the information from Angelfire.

Detective Yunker said information from Angelfire linked the page to Mr. Arvanitis’s local Internet service provider.

Police obtained an another warrant from prosecutors to obtain the phone number of the computer user who posted the message.

Detective Yunker said the phone number to the service provider is registered in Mr. Arvanitis’s name.

“We were able to track it back to his residence. It was a complicated process of tracking where he had been, and we did it in reverse order,” he said.

In addition, further tracking allowed police to discover that the anonymous e-mail sent to the superintendent had been sent by Mr. Arvanitis, Chief Sobb said.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sylvania police arrived at his home, seized his computer, and placed him under arrest.

Yesterday, police squads from Sylvania Township and the city swept through both high schools, searching for explosives. Later, a bomb-sniffing dog was deployed. No explosives or were found.

According to police, Mr. Arvanitis told them he had posted the website as a prank. He admitted to using the computer in his bedroom to create the web page, police said.

Through his attorney, Wesley Miller, Jr., Mr. Arvanitis and his parents, Anthony and Cynthia Arvanitis, refused to comment.

“All I can say is that his family is seriously shocked at what happened,” Mr. Miller said.

He said Mr. Arvanitis is “a good student,” and “he is not holding up well.”

He said the recent media attention surrounding the Colorado school shooting has encouraged officials to crack down harder on this sort of incident.

“If this type of case would have happened six months ago we would not be standing here talking. We certainly would not have a felony charge.”

Mr. Arvanitis had been a student at Northview since 1995. He had attended Little Flower School before that. According to the resume he gave Sylvania police, he has worked as a receptionist at Champion Manufacturing in Toledo and in the kitchen of two local golf clubs.

Under “Interests and Activities,” he lists: “I enjoy jogging, bike riding, and rollerblading. Also, I like to play on computers.”

Mr. Gorman described Mr. Arvanitis as “an `A’ and `B’ student” who had never before been any trouble.

Mr. Arvanitis attended Sylvania schools even though he lived in Toledo, outside Sylvania’s school district.

Mr. Schultz said the boy had given the school a fake address on Statesville Drive and that the school was investigating whether it would require payment of back tuition.

Mr. Gorman said it had not been decided what sort of disciplinary action would be taken against the student or whether he would be allowed to graduate from high school in June.

“I think the consequences should be severe,” Mr. Gorman said. “He’s made kids feel unsafe about coming to school.”

Chief Sobb said that his department’s investigation is focusing on finding any other students who might have been involved in the threat.

Yesterday, police seized the computer of another Sylvania high school student they believe might have been involved and who agreed to have his home searched. No additional arrests have been made.

The chief said the investigation would likely continue into next week.

Sylvania schools will be taking several steps to improve security at its high schools when they reopen today. Most prominent is the decision to place an armed police officer in each high school, every day for the remainder of the school year.

The cost to the school district will be $7,500, officials said. The district will decide next month whether to keep the officers for future school years.

Also, several doors at both high schools that had previously been left unlocked during school hours will be locked.

Sylvania Township police said Mr. Arvanitis participated in the township’s job sharing program two months ago.

Under the program, high school seniors shadow officers to get a first-hand look at life on the force.

Sergeant Bartko said the teenager rode along with him in a police cruiser for six hours of an eight-hour shift in late February or early March.

He said they had lunch, and he showed the teenager how to run radar and laser guns to monitor traffic.

Sergeant Bartko said the young man made a very good impression.

“The kid is decent and very clean cut,” he said.

“This is the farthest thing from my mind I would expect from a kid like this. This kid rode next to me. This has got me back on my heels. I am totally beside myself on this one,” Sergeant Bartko said.

Sylvania schools are not the only ones dealing with a bomb threat.

A bomb threat telephoned in to Nathan Hale Elementary School, 1800 Upton Ave., yesterday morning forced the evacuation of 1,000 students and 75 staff while police searched the building. No explosives were found, Assistant Principal Martin Johnson said.

“This environment we’ve got now is just created for these people to come out,” Mr. Johnson said. Notes would be sent home with the children explaining the incident to parents, he said.

And on Wednesday morning at Jones Junior High School, 550 Walbridge Ave. in South Toledo, police found a bomb threat written on the wall of a boys’ bathroom. After the school received a telephone threat saying the bombs would go off at noon, officials evacuated the building on the premise of a fire drill.

The school was searched, and no explosives were found. Students were allowed to return to their classes.

By Mike Bartell and Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writers

Page 1

An 18-year-old student at Sylvania Northview High School was arrested last night and charged with inducing panic after an Internet threat stating Sylvania would suffer the same bloody fate as Littleton, Colo., caused the district’s two high schools to be closed today.

Sylvania Superintendent Les Schultz made the decision yesterday after discovering a web page that threatened revenge-based killings similar to last week’s rampage at Columbine High School in Colorado.

“The time for REVENGE is near,” the web site read. “Sylvania NORTHVIEW and SOUTHVIEW will fall. Sylvania pigs will fry like bacon! … Columbine’s death toll will seem VERY SMALL.”

Nicholas Arvanitis, of 1638 Delmonte Dr., a senior at Northview, was arrested on the felony charge about 10:30 p.m. at his home in the Dorr Street-Reynolds Road area in Toledo. The arrest was made about 90 minutes after authorities began searching the home where he lives with his parents, police said.

He was being held last night in the Sylvania city jail pending arraignment today in Sylvania Municipal Court, police said.

Sylvania police Det. Mike Yunker said the search warrant was for computer equipment and explosive devices. Mr. Arvanitis’s personal computer and some computer-related items, including computer disks and CD Roms, were confiscated.

No explosive devices were found, the detective said.

Mr. Arvanitis told Detective Yunker that the computer message was merely a prank – and that he did not mean to cause problems for the school system or the community.

But given what happened in Colorado, authorities took the threat seriously.

Lucas County prosecutors issued subpoenas to the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet service that hosted the threat.

Meanwhile, the FBI’s Toledo office got involved, assisting area authorities with technical assistance and searching for violations of federal law.

“This is very, very serious,” county Prosecutor Julia Bates said prior to the arrest. “We are using all the tools we have. Even if it is not a real threat, it is still inciting to violence and inducement to panic, and if we can find out who is involved, we can and will prosecute.”

Northview and Southview high schools, with a combined enrollment of about 2,500 students, are closed today, and all scheduled events on the campuses are canceled.

The schools are expected to reopen tomorrow, the superintendent said.

A search of the high school buildings is to be conducted today to make sure they are safe.

The three junior highs and seven elementary schools will be in session today, according to the superintendent.

Mr. Schultz said that parents who wish to keep their children home today from any Sylvania school can get an excused absence.

“You just can’t take the risk that this guy is serious,” said Northview Principal Kevin Gorman before the arrest. “We’ll have the police go through the entire building. I’m sure it’s a prank, but student and staff safety comes first.”

The threat was found Tuesday, when three school administrators – Superintendent Schultz, Southview Principal Ron Malone, and Mr. Gorman – received an e-mail alerting them to a web page containing a threat against the schools.

After finding the threat, school officials conferred with local police and the county prosecutor’s office. At about 1 p.m. yesterday, Mr. Schultz made the decision to cancel school.

“The safety and welfare of our students and staff continue to be our main priority at the Sylvania schools,” the school district said in a press release announcing his decision.

Among the events canceled are a dance for senior citizens and several sports matches.

Area authorities have been on high alert for potential copy-cat crimes ever since the April 20 attack on Columbine High, in which students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students, one teacher, and themselves.

Several local school systems have had incidents, including Fremont Ross, Bowling Green, and Fostoria. Officials are never sure whether the threats are legitimate.

Finding out who wrote the threat is a major focus of the investigation.

The page asked: “How many bombs are there? … How many snow days did we have? HMM … could this be a hint?” It includes a derogatory reference to “Dr. Malone.” The principal of Southview High School is Ron Malone.

The page refers to something called the “UNITY group” as the page’s creator, as well as a Star of David, a symbol of Judaism. The Columbine killers were open admirers of Adolph Hitler and some elements of Nazi ideology.

The threatening web site was hosted by Angelfire, a California- based free web page provider. Anyone who wants to create a web page on Angelfire can do so free of charge in under 30 seconds – without giving his or her name, address, or even a valid e-mail address.

As a result, Angelfire, along with similar online services like Tripod and GeoCities, have been repeatedly used to create fraudulent or threatening web pages – including several school bomb threats.

“We’ve had a small spike in these sort of incidents since Colorado happened,” said Angelfire spokeswoman Dorianne Almann.

“There is very little identity verification involved in setting up an account,” said Neil Bibbins, the abuse manager at Angelfire. He said the company was considering changing that policy to make it more difficult to set up a site anonymously.

Angelfire also was in the news earlier this month when someone created a false news story claiming that PairGain, a New Jersey telephone equipment company, was the subject of a takeover attempt. The fake story was posted to an Angelfire web page.

The company’s stock soared more than 30 per cent on the news, but dropped when the fraud was discovered, leaving many investors with heavy losses.

In that case, authorities were able to trace the fake story to an individual computer in New Jersey, even though the perpetrator did not use a real name or e-mail address in creating the web site. A PairGain employee has since been arrested and charged with creating the web site.

Tracing an online threat to the computer it was made on can be quite simple. Each computer on the Internet is assigned an individual Internet Protocol (IP) number, and any activity from that computer can usually be traced using the protocol number.

But tracing a threat to a computer and tracing a threat to a person are very different tasks. If the computer used is a public terminal, at which many people might have access to the Internet, it can be impossible to uncover who made the threat.

Ms. Almann expressed optimism that the Sylvania threat could be traced back to its source. “The guy who created Melissa” – the computer virus that hit thousands of computers last month – “was quite sophisticated, and he got caught. I’m sure this clown wasn’t that sophisticated.”

Ms. Almann said that Angelfire’s privacy policy precludes her from giving out any information about the individual who set up the threatening web page. But she said the company will cooperate fully with authorities.

The threatening web page was available on the Internet Tuesday, but had been taken down by yesterday afternoon. Mr. Bibbins said he could not say the specific time the page was taken down, or whether someone in his office had been alerted by local authorities.

Northview is in the city of Sylvania; Southview is in Sylvania Township.

Stan Borgia, head of the Toledo FBI office, said his office is involved in the investigation.

“We’re working with the [Sylvania] police department … looking for violations of federal law,” he said before the arrest. “We are conducting an investigation and I expect we ultimately will be providing a supporting role in this local investigation.”

Both schools have used up all their calamity days this year, so students will have to make up the missed day in June.

Mr. Gorman said that there had been previous bomb threats in the Sylvania school system, but said that the events in Columbine made him take them more seriously. “With all the publicity this has gotten in the media, there are going to be copycats who thinks it’s glamorous,” he said.

Several Southview students were happy they’ve been granted today off from school because of the threat, and only a few were worried about it.

Freshmen Anne Wiemer and Kelly Riley, both 15, said they were scared.

“We are supposed to have an assembly [tomorrow] and that’s a great place to blow us all up,” young Wiemer said.

“A lot of people are saying that there was a bomb threat at Northview and they are just taking some extra precautions,” said junior Glenn Zebrowski.

None of the students were aware that Southview was the tar- get of the web page threat. The information students were given on why the school is closed today was “pretty vague,”

Chris Vander, a sophomore, said. “They said they can’t tell us why school was being closed, they just said it was a safety reason,” he said. “I don’t think anything is going to happen.”

Students from the high schools went home at 1:15 p.m. yesterday because of a previously scheduled early dismissal. But students were not told about the nature of the threat, causing many students to spread rumors among themselves.

Some said bombs had been found in classrooms; some said bombs had gone off. Some named individual students as possible perpetrators.

Parents of Sylvania students seemed relieved by the superintendent’s decision.

“This is horrible and I’m glad they are taking it seriously,” said Cheryl Jackson, who has two sons, a senior and a junior, at Southview.

The shooting in Littleton has escalated the seriousness of such threats, Mrs. Jackson and her husband Ken Jackson noted. And the looming threat of violence in schools will last a long time, Mr. Jackson said.

“I will always worry about our kids’ safety. This makes it worse,” he said.

Blade staff writers Chase Clements, Tom Jewell, Mike Jones, Al McKay, Ignazio Messina, Ryan E. Smith, and Mark Zaborney contributed to this report.

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 14

The Rossford Arena Amphitheater Authority agreed to three key deals yesterday that could provide more than $2.3 million a year to pay for the complex near the I-75 and Ohio Turnpike interchange.

By a 4-0 vote, the authority approved deals with Rossford, Perrysburg Township, and Wood County to help fund the planned $48 million Crossroads of America arena and amphitheater complex.

Rossford and Perrysburg Township have agreed to the deals already. Wood County officials met with arena project representatives yesterday, and the commissioners are expected to consider the county’s deal early next week.

The complex will be funded through revenue bonds, which are scheduled to be sold next month. The amphitheater will open in May, 2000, with the arena following six months later.

The Rossford deal requires the city to turn over its admissions tax revenues and one-fourth of its hotel/motel tax revenues annually, until the complex is fully paid off.

Rossford Mayor Mark Zuchowski, who is also president of the arena authority, said the admissions tax contribution next year should be about $1.1 million. He estimated the hotel/motel tax contribution to be about $37,000. He said both should increase in coming years as the arena prospers and as the Crossroads of America area develops.

Under its deal, Perrysburg Township has agreed to provide one-half of its hotel/motel taxes, or about $135,000 annually, and an annual $1 million letter of credit for five years. Wood County’s agreement requires a contribution of up to $100,000 a year over five years, not to exceed a total of $300,000.

In the cases of Wood County and Perrysburg Township, their contributions will reach the arena authority after being sent through the Rossford/Perrysburg Township port authority. Keith Wilkowski, Rossford’s law director, said that was to “provide a level of comfort” for the governments.

The revenue sources will be used only if operating revenue isn’t high enough to pay off its annual debt service, which is estimated to be about $3.9 million.

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 14

Toledo’s time as an All-America City is coming to a close.

The National Civic League has announced the 30 finalists for the 1999 award, and Toledo is not among them. The city did not apply this year.

“The league says that we should spend a year celebrating the award,” said mayoral spokesman Mary Chris Skeldon. “We’ll enter again next year.”

Toledo was named an All-America City at the 1998 competition in Mobile, Ala. The city’s year in the sun will end on June 26, when this year’s 30 finalists will be whittled down to 10 winners at a ceremony in Philadelphia.

The finalists will be judged on their commitment to grassroots citizen involvement and collaborative problem solving. This year’s contest will be the 50th annual. It is co-sponsored by the Allstate Insurance Co.

None of the finalists is from Ohio or Michigan. Only two cities from each of the two states – Warren and Grove City from Ohio, Farmington Hills and Big Rapids from Michigan – applied for the award.

The finalists nearest to Toledo are Lancaster, Pa., and Oak Park and Joliet, Ill.

National Civic League spokesman David Rein lauded Toledo for doing an excellent job promoting the award throughout the last year.

“They made quite a big deal of it,” he said. All city employees were instructed to answer the phone, “Welcome to Toledo, your All-America City,” Mr. Rein said.

In fact, he said Toledo officials have been asked to give a workshop at this year’s awards competition to assist the winners in making the most of their new title.

Under National Civic League rules, a past winner of the award can continue to use the All-America City logo and name on signs and on documents, but only if the year of the award is attached as well. In other words, Mr. Rein said, the city’s employees could say, “Welcome to Toledo, your 1998 All-America City.”

Ms. Skeldon said a final determination has not been made on what to do about the city’s All-America title after its year has ended.

No city has won the award in two consecutive years since Kansas City did it in 1950 and 1951.

1999 finalists: Safford, Ariz., Scottsdale, Ariz., Fresno, Calif., Napa, Calif., Santa Clarita, Calif., Stockton, Calif., Union City, Calif., Lower Naugatuck Valley, Conn., Tallahassee, Fla., Joliet, Ill., Oak Park, Ill., Wellington, Kans., Wichita, Kans., Shreveport, La., Greater Montgomery, Md.

Other finalists are Lowell, Mass., Worcester, Mass., Brooklyn Park, Minn., Moorhead, Minn., Tupelo, Miss., Hickory, N.C., Morganton, N.C., Rocky Mount, N.C., Lancaster, Pa., Memphis, Tenn., Tri-Cities, Tenn./Va., Bryan, Tex., Taylor, Tex., Pearland, Tex., Greater Green Bay, Wis.

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

The Toledo city council grappled again yesterday with the question that has been plaguing the city for almost two years: how to pay for Jeep in a way that leaves the city in good financial shape.

“There’s not one person at this table who isn’t committed to making the Jeep project happen,” council President Peter Ujvagi said about DaimlerChrysler’s $1.2 billion expansion of its Stickney Road facility. “But we’ve got to make the best financial decision for this city.”

The council’s committee-of-the-whole met yesterday afternoon to debate where the city will get the money for the project’s incentive package. The council took no action and said it will continue the debate May 10.

Major points of discussion have been how to use the proceeds of the sale of city-owned land in Monclova Township and the economic-development money available to the city from Toledo Edison.

The city has agreed to sell 212 acres of its Monclova Township land to Eclat, a private development partnership, for about $6.2 million. Of that sum, the administration is seeking to put $5 million toward paying for the Jeep project. But several council members said it might be wiser to borrow money up front to allow that $5 million to be used in economic development or community projects.

As for the Edison money, under an agreement with the utility, the city received $6 million over five years to be used for economic-development. The administration is seeking to use $4.45 million of that for the Jeep.

But several council members, including Mr. Ujvagi, say that would violate a 1996 council resolution. At that time, the council said that half the Edison money should go toward reducing the electric bills of small commercial utility customers in Toledo.

The administration has said that resolution is not binding and the money should go to Jeep to reduce the amount to be borrowed. Mr. Ujvagi said that the council may be willing to change its mind, but “when council passes a resolution, it likes to keep its word.”

Several council members asked if DaimlerChrysler might be persuaded to contribute more to the incentive package. Administrators said the corporation had so far been unwilling to change its position.

“We’re bargaining from a position of no strength,” Councilman C. Allen McConnell said. “Any leverage we might have had is gone.”

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page A1

AMITE, LA. — There’s a gleam in David Duke’s eyes, a glint of pure joy.

He’s talking about one of his favorite topics: black people, and the evils he says they do.

And he has an audience here at the Amite Fire Hall: 70 working-class white folk who want blame for their problems put somewhere.

“They’re not like you,” he says, his voice rising. “They’re not of your values! Do you want your children to be in a school where rap music is the top music? We’re losing our right to exist!”

One woman in the audience complains that her child’s kindergarten class is mostly black. Mr. Duke says the worst will be in a few years, in high school.

America’s most famous racist and ex-Klansman is running for Congress, and on this night, in this backwoods town, he isn’t holding anything back. Where he once used code words to hide his racism, such as “welfare” or “crime,” he’s being open now.

“I don’t agree with slavery,” he offers. “It was the worst mistake we ever made – not just for them, but for us, in the long run!” His smile is wide. “They’ve benefited from being in this country! You think things are better back in Africa? They’re a lot better off because we brought them here.”

That sort of openness is a far cry from the Duke of old, the Duke who shed his Klan robes for business suits, who spent thousands on plastic surgery, who stopped calling Jews children of Satan in public.

The old way almost worked. Mr. Duke, 48, came close to becoming Louisiana’s governor and senator. He got the majority of the state’s white voters to back him – twice. He became a phenomenon, a mark of shame for the state.

Now, years later, he’s not pretending anymore.

“He’s made a clear decision to try to change the way white people think instead of trying to get their vote,” said Dr. Lance Hill, an academic who has studied Mr. Duke for about 25 years. “He couldn’t care less about being popular now. He wants to lay the groundwork for a Nazi revolution.”

Dr. Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research in New Orleans, thinks he knows why Mr. Duke is so happy at campaign rallies today.

“There’s got to be a lot of pain in holding back what you really feel for all that time,” he says. “It has to be a huge relief not to have to hide it anymore.”

“The race question”

David Duke grew up in New Orleans and first became involved in race issues as a teenager, when he was assigned to write a school paper on segregation. He became convinced that segregation was the only way, and from that moment, Mr. Duke says, “the race question” became his life.

He started out with Nazi groups, with names such as the National Socialist White People’s Party and the White Youth Alliance. He marched around in stormtrooper outfits and hung swastika flags in his college dorm rooms.

Everyone who dealt with Mr. Duke then said he was a bright man. As a sophomore at Louisiana State University, he ranked first in his ROTC class of 3,000, and his commander wrote that he had “outstanding leadership potential.’

But the Army refused to commission him as an officer because of his Nazi antics.

Eventually, he moved from Nazi groups to the Klan, using his “leadership potential” to become grand wizard. In 1980, he quit the Klan to form the National Association for the Advancement of White People, a group he led until 1992.

In 1989, when a state representative in suburban Metairie left his post for a judgeship, a special election was called. Mr. Duke entered. He ran as a Republican and shock ed the world when he came out on top by 227 votes.

Within months of that win, he had announced for the 1990 U.S. Senate race, in which he scored 44 per cent of the vote against a three-term Democratic incumbent. Louisiana’s 30 per cent black population prevented Mr. Duke from reaching the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Duke didn’t give up. In 1991, he ran for governor and pulled a major upset, besting both the incumbent and the Republican nominee to make it into a runoff against former governor Edwin Edwards.

That was the height of Mr. Duke’s political career. He had just dethroned the incumbent governor and finished just two points behind Mr. Edwards. The world’s media descended on Louisiana to cover one of the century’s most outlandish state races: an ex-Klansman and Nazi, running against a womanizing ex-governor indicted on corruption charges.

Bumper stickers began to appear around the state: “Vote for the Crook; It’s important.” Mr. Edwards won in a landslide.

Mr. Duke leapt back into the political fray when U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston resigned in December after an adultery scandal. Mr. Livingston, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, had been tapped to be the next speaker of the House when Hustler publisher Larry Flynt uncovered tales of adulteries in the congressman’s past.

Mr. Duke made his announcement at a meeting of the National Alliance, which the Anti-Defamation League says is one of the most powerful anti-Semitic groups in the country.

The National Alliance is a group headed by William Pierce, the author of The Turner Diaries, a fictional book which authorities say inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Mr. Pierce’s 1978 novel describes a future racial war in which the terrorists use a truck-bomb to blow up a federal building in a Midwest city. In 1989, Mr. Duke sold copies of the book out of his state legislative office.

Along with Mr. Duke, voters will be able to choose from: a Rhodes Scholar state representative; the owner of New Orleans’s minor league baseball team; a 33-year-old political rookie running on the fact that he’s still a virgin (“That ought to tell you something about my integrity”); a woman named Dr. Monica Monica; a 6-foot-9, 280-pound state representative, and a 70-year-old former governor who hasn’t won a race in 20 years.

Louisiana has always been the closest thing America has to a banana republic. It has always been more willing than other states to elect colorful men or powerful demagogues to power.

Louisiana is the state, after all, that elected as its governor Earl Long, Huey’s younger brother who was institutionalized in a mental hospital while in office, and Jimmie Davis, the country singer who wrote “You Are My Sunshine.”

The poster child for colorful politicians over the last 30 years has been Mr. Edwards, the charming, brilliant Cajun who was elected governor four times despite his open womanizing and numerous federal investigations he has always managed to evade. (He was most recently indicted on Nov. 6 on racketeering and conspiracy charges.)

Never say `indivisible’

Louisiana’s First District is made up mostly of suburban New Orleans. It’s overwhelmingly white and conservative, but it still manages to have some ideological and economic diversity: from the old-money Republicans of Metairie, to the new-money subdivisions of Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore, to the working-class Reagan Democrats of Tangipahoa Parish. Amite, the site of Mr. Duke’s rally, falls squarely in that last group. It’s a perfect site for a Duke rally: population 4,300, half white, half black, and the economy hasn’t been great. As Mr. Duke’s fans – some farmers, some teachers, some oil industry workers still in their work clothes – file into the bingo hall, the speakers pump out the music of George Strait.

A 24-year-old Duke acolyte opens the rally with a prayer: “Thank you so much, God, for David, and for giving us someone willing to face persecution for us, and for the things we believe.”

Then comes the Pledge of Allegiance. One old man in the audi ence, Herb Price, skips a line of it: “I never say `indivisible,’ because it is divisible. I’d pledge allegiance to the Confederate flag too.”

The acolyte at the podium starts preaching about how things used to be. “Some of you were alive when this country was still great,” he says. “We are a silent majority. This is your support group!”

Then comes the rock music, and the acolyte’s voice gets louder as he introduces “your next Congressman … David Duke!”

Mr. Duke strides in to cheers, shaking a few hands, a broad smile on his face. It doesn’t take long for him to start “defending the rights of European-Americans,” talking about “the plague of black crime,” and calling black leaders “immoral examples for our children.”

The crowd is loving it; Mr. Duke’s a charmer. They cheer when he talks about welfare queens, or when he says the dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Tex., got too much media attention. They laugh when he says black people are in position to have political power: “These are the same people who let O.J. Simpson off the hook!”

And their mood turns dark when Mr. Duke talks about New Orleans, which is majority black. “We’re getting outnumbered in this country,” he says. “Do you want this entire district to be like New Orleans?”

In a congressional district composed largely of people who have fled New Orleans, it can be a powerful message.


The next day, Mr. Duke is sitting in his living room, petting his tiny white dog, Torry. Mr. Duke lives in a new, upper middle-class subdivision called Beau Rivage just minutes from the 24-mile-long bridge that crosses Lake Pontchartrain.

In his living room, the shades are drawn. During the interview, Mr. Duke repeats many of his racist themes from the night before. He calls for a resegregation of public schools. He assails blacks and Hispanics for “hurting the heritage of European-Americans.”

At the exact moment Mr. Duke is speaking about the problem of black crime in schools, in Colorado two white teenagers with Nazi leanings are running a rampage through Columbine High School. It is April 20, Hitler’s birthday, a day Mr. Duke celebrated with a big party until at least the mid 1980s.

Throughout the interview, Mr. Duke seems reserved and contained. But as it is about to end, he says he wants to share some of the information he has accumulated on a topic he doesn’t discuss on the campaign trail: Jews.

He says he doesn’t want to be quoted about his statements on Jews because “they’re not an issue in this campaign.” But he gets excited as he starts rattling off facts he says prove that Jews have been behind society’s ills.

He doesn’t have to be quoted, because he lays out his beliefs in his autobiography, My Awakening, just published by a small press in Louisiana. Mr. Duke is proud of the book, with its 717 pages and more than 1,000 footnotes. The book is clear about Mr. Duke’s opinions: The Jews are evil.

It includes listings of Jews in high government positions. It asks, “Are Americans so naive as to believe that this cohesive, ethnocentric people of immense wealth do not share information and network with their brethren for their own benefit?”

He also writes that “Communism and Zionism were born from the same Jewish soul,” and that “Any open-minded reader who reads both Mein Kampf and the Talmud would find the Talmud far more intolerant.”

A return to politics

“There’s a guy by the name of Dave Treen here,” the receptionist drones into the telephone to her boss.

Mr. Treen, the former governor of Louisiana, edging back into politics after nearly two decades on the outside, can’t quite believe the young woman doesn’t recognize his name.

“You see how long it’s been?” he says.

David Connor Treen, at age 70, is attempting to revive a political career many thought dead in 1983, when voters decided not to give him another term as governor. But the man considered the forefather of the state’s Republican Party and a champion of good government is back, hoping to save Louisiana from the embarrassment of a Nazi in Congress.

Mr. Treen was Louisiana’s first GOP congressman and governor this century. In office, he gained a reputation for honesty. “Nobody can say anything bad about Dave Treen,” said Susan Powell, a pollster at the University of New Orleans. “He didn’t play the political game very well, but there’s no question about his integrity.”

In 1983, he ran for re-election as governor and lost badly to Mr. Edwards. He’s been out of politics since then but has remained a highly respected figure.

He refuses to say anything bad about Mr. Duke. “I don’t want to talk against any candidate,” he says. “On issues, we obviously have some disagreements: on race, for example. But I’m not going to say anything bad about him. Why is it up to me?”

The state Republican Party, along with some of the candidates in this race, have faced some criticism for not openly opposing Mr. Duke. Critics say that Republicans need the support of Mr. Duke’s hard-core voters too badly to assail their hero.

At a candidate’s forum on Thursday morning, another Republican candidate, Rob Couhig, lashed out at his opponents. “I sit next to David Duke at every one of these deals, and he talks this racist stuff, and nobody stops him,” he said. “He’s not a conservative. He’s not a Republican. He is a guy who just wants to go out and trash America. I’m sick of it.”

Once a phenomenon

The pundits all say that David Duke’s political career is over. After he made his beliefs crystal clear in My Awakening , the last hope disappeared, says Dr. Hill of the Southern Institute.

“It’s almost as if he’s given up any sort of general appeal,” Ms. Howell, the pollster, says. “He’s only left with his hard-core base, and to keep them, he has to be more open about his beliefs to distinguish himself from the other candidates.”

After he was blown away in the 1991 governor’s race, Mr. Duke lost a lot of his appeal, she says. “He was a phenomenon. But you can only be a phenomenon for so long.”

Indeed, issues that Mr. Duke once had all to himself have either become mainstream in the Republican Party or just don’t work as well any longer. Welfare has been reformed. Affirmative action is facing assaults from all over the political spectrum. Crime is down, and the economy is as strong as it’s been in recent years.

“On talk radio, you hear people ridiculing him, people who probably voted for him a few years ago,” Dr. Hill said. “If you talk to people now, they won’t admit they used to support him. His political career is over, done.”

No independent poll has been released publicly in this race. The closest thing has been a poll done by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which put Mr. Duke’s support at 6 per cent, well behind Mr. Treen and trailing four other candidates.

But polls have been notoriously unkind to Mr. Duke in the past. In past elections, voters have been unwilling to admit their Duke support to pollsters. In the 1990 Senate race, polls just before the election put his support in the low 20s, yet he won 44 per cent of the vote.

The next year, polls showed Mr. Duke with just 11 per cent in the 12-candidate governor’s race. When voters pulled their levers, though, he had 32 per cent and a spot in the runoff.

Pollsters have typically doubled Mr. Duke’s stated support to get an idea what his “shadow” vote might be. Congressional campaign scuttlebutt has it that at least one candidate’s internal poll has put Mr. Duke at 10 per cent. That might mean that 20 per cent is a possibility. And if that is the case, in a nine-candidate field there is a chance he could sneak into a runoff with Mr. Treen.

And if that were to happen, the international media would no doubt descend on New Orleans one more time to write about Louisiana politics.

A different drummer

In 1985, Mr. Duke sat down with avowed Nazi Ed Fields at a California convention of Holocaust revisionists. Both men were being interviewed by a doctoral student writing her dissertation on white supremacist groups.

The voices on the tape outline their differing plans. Mr. Fields wanted to be open about their mutual beliefs, but Mr. Duke advocated a more closeted approach.

DUKE: I’m trying to bring new people in, like a drummer. The difference is, if they can call you a Nazi and make it stick – tough, really hard – it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt the ability of people to open their minds to what you’re saying. It’s going to hurt your ability to communicate with them. It’s unfortunate it’s like that…

FIELDS: It doesn’t take that many people, though, to start something rolling. Hitler started with seven men.

DUKE: Right, that’s what I’m trying to say to you.

FIELDS: And most people didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

DUKE: Right! And don’t you think it can happen now, if we put the right package together? Don’t you think that there are millions of Americans that are alienated and are looking for something, and the truth is the truth, and give ’em something to believe in?

Mr. Fields said that, if asked, he would never deny being a Nazi, comparing it to being a Christian in the early days of the Roman Empire. Mr. Duke’s response:

“I wheedle out of it, because I’m a pragmatist.”

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 19

Got a complaint for Carty? A concern for council? A question for city hall?

You’ll get your chance to speak your mind April 27 when the city’s top leaders will be answering the phones at Government Center.

It’s called Call City Hall Day, and it’s part of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s new emphasis on service.

“It’s basically our way of expanding the contact the community has with city government,” said Rick Thielen, the city’s manager of community services.

In his State of the City address in January, Mr. Finkbeiner said one of his goals for 1999 was to increase the level of service city employees give to citizens.

Anyone calling 936-2020 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Call City Hall Day will get their service from folks who usually don’t have to answer their own phones.

Mr. Finkbeiner, police Chief Mike Navarre, fire Chief Mike Bell, and other top administrators are all scheduled to operate the phone line for part of that time, along with several council members.

Actually, citizens don’t have to wait for April 27 to call city hall. The 936-2020 number is actually the mayor’s Action Line and is staffed during business hours. It is attached to an answering machine at night and on weekends.

In a normal month, the phone line might get 900 calls; Mr. Thielen said it’ll likely get 200 or more on April 27 alone.

He said the city’s goal is for citizens to begin using the 936-2020 number in place of calling individual departments of city government. If all the calls are focused on one line, it becomes easier for officials to respond to concerns in an orderly fashion, and citizens don’t have to maneuver their way through the mazes of city bureaucracy, he said.

Mr. Thielen said increasing the visibility of the 936-2020 number could reduce the number of nonemergency calls that clog up the city’s 911 system. If the city hall phone number is successful, Toledo could adopt a 311 nonemergency number, as other cities have done.

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