Toledo mayor calls Blade ‘irresponsible’ for reporting information he won’t release

The Blade | The Journal News

Toledo’s mayor blasted The (Toledo, Ohio) Blade for publishing its own map of gang territories in the city, but he still refused to make public a police map of gang activity. The Blade made its map “after exhaustive interviews and research,” Ignazio Messina writes.

Mayor Mike Bell said the map, which is part of a series, threatened outside investment in the city. The series started Sunday.

“I would say it is probably one of the most irresponsible forms of journalism that I have read in the paper since I have been in this city, from the standpoint of the recoil it possibly will have on the economy in terms of being able to recruit people and bring people in,” Mr. Bell said. “To me it is almost like kicking someone when they are down. … Tell me what is the positive side of this?”

The Blade in July sued the city for allegedly violating the Ohio Public Records Act by restricting access to the police department’s map, which is used to monitor gang activities and shootings. Several members of the city council — as well as mayoral hopefuls — have said they believe the map should be released, even as Bell insists Toledo’s gang activity is “no different than any other metropolitan city.”

It’s the latest in a string of controversial newspaper maps:
• In March the Des Moines Register created a map illustrating how school resource officers were deployed, then quickly pulled it after complaints about compromised security.

• And after The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News published a map in December showing the names and locations of handgun permit owners several states moved to restrict access to the previously public information. (The Journal News on Monday published a series of vignettes about several gun owners listed on the map, based on analysis and interviews with the permit holders.)

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  • John Shurr

    Bell, in his own words, confirms that Toledo, like many metro areas, has gang activity. That probably comes as no surprise to outside investors. So the only questions are which gangs infest which areas, and whether having a clueless mayor might frighten said would-be investors even more than gangs.