Jack Ford, who you might think could coast into Toledo City Council without doing anymore than putting his name on the ballot, is taking no chances.
Ford said the there's a "stunned" attitude among younger African-Americans about the Trayvon Martin verdict.
And while he says he "respects" the verdict, Ford doesn't agree with it.
"We need to do a better job talking about race in this country," Ford said to his audience of up to 100 supporters who contributed $75 per ticket.
He said the "last major speech" on race was one given by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Some people thought Barack Obama gave a major speech on race, but not in Ford's view, because it was not followed up.
"I don't think we're having different races talk to each other. We don't have children talking to each other," Ford said.
While some would say that race was not the issue in the killing of Martin - that Martin fought Zimmerman and that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense, it's not seen that way in the black community.
"In the minds of many people in the African-American community it was not just a fight - it was a racial confrontation," Ford said.
"Young black people are stunned, disillusioned."
Ford had other comments. As councilman he would promote "eds, meds, and arts" - meaning more taking more advantage of the University of Toledo, Owens Community College, and Lourdes University; more involvement with the hospitals (he said there are 300 vacancies because the hospitals can't recruit people with enough technical skills to Toledo), and promoting the arts.
He said, "I'm going to try to get out of the way of business so they can make a buck," and quoted the late Councilman Gene Cook who said, "'when you get down to it, it's whether you can have a sale.' Somebody buys something, somebody sells something. If that's going on, everything else floats. If that ain't happening you can't do anything. And over the years I've learned the wisdom of what the Cooker says."
Ford, who suffers from diabetes, was mayor of Toledo from 2001 to 2005. He got ousted by Carty Finkbeiner, who is now his biggest supporter for council.
Among his guests were Councilman Joe McNamara, late arriver Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, some retired city directors such as former finance director John Bibish and former public service director Bill Franklin, Recorder Phil Copeland, Port Authority President Bill Carroll, state Rep. Michael Ashford. Also in attendance was Bob McCloskey - who spent time in prison for taking a bribe while serving on city council. The list could go on for a while.
Ford and Lopez with political operative Weldon Douthitt in the background at Beiruit Restaurant.