Remembering Jerry Chabler – Toledo City Paper

Extra! Extra! Mayor Finkbeiner’s private blog leaked and he’s talking rubbish about Hizzoner!

It’s the end of March 2009. Around 10 am I’m number one in Toledo.

The media is blowing up my cell phone, Carty probably wants my head on a Libbey glass plate, and Chief of Staff Bob Reinbolt looks at me with a grin that I was right.

I retire to my office, swallow my second Xanax of the day, and sit there and wait for Mayor Finkbeiner to come in and look at me. This is the longest and most excruciating wait of my life. I’m seriously thinking about the pros and cons of throwing myself out of my 22nd Floor window in the One Government Center. And then my phone rings. I see it’s Jerry Chabler calling. And for the first time that day, I feel like smiling. Jerry Chabler was here. It would be fine.

Years later I wrote about Jerry in my book “Purple Bananas”, which was partially reprinted here (Note: To protect his anonymity, I gave Jerry the fictional surname Cusack):

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“I was awakened from my imaginary conversation with Prince when my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. I took it out to see who it was, and it was Jerry Cusack, one of the mayor’s many advisors. Why should he call?

“Hello?” I asked in a trembling voice.

“Hey Jase, how are you?” said Jerry, concern evident in his voice.

“Not very good to be honest, Jerry. I embarrassed the mayor and embarrassed myself. I don’t know how to get out of this. ”

“Well, I spoke to Carty and advised him to take it easy. What you did was no doubt stupid, but I don’t think you’re a bad guy. ”

When I heard this from Jerry, tears stung my eyes.

“I definitely feel like a bad guy, Jerry. I was so reckless that I didn’t even think something like this could happen. ”

“Well you learned a lesson then, didn’t you?”

“And how.”

“Well, just hold on,” said Jerry. “This too will pass.” I hated that stereotype, but I was so happy to hear it right now.

“Thanks Jerry, I really appreciate your calling,” I said into the phone.

“Hold on, Jason. You are a good man.”

“Thank you, Jerry. Watch out.”


Jerry and I hung up and wiped away the hot tears that ran down my face. Jerry and my imaginary friend version of Prince were right: I had actually learned a lesson, probably something that most people already understood, but all I can say is, you’re trying to get into politics at some point. It’s a crazy world in itself.

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Jerry was born and raised in Glass City. He loved Toledo. He was a Toledo Police Officer in the 1950s and served on a variety of civic bodies including, but not limited to, the Industry Commission, the Lottery Commission, and the Racing Commission. He was a member of the Toledo Public Service Commission for decades and worked in the Toledo-Lucas Port Authority for 12 years.

I met Jerry while working for Toledo City Paper. He hated that I called him “Mr. Chabler, “I was always quick to remind me that his father was Mr. Chabler. “Call me Jerry.” Jerry was always good for a quote on the state of politics in Toledo, and when he heard that I might work for Carty, he seemed to be the key voice in me when I got the job as public information officer. So I owe Jerry my career. I knew he was practically a legend in the local Democratic Party, and we often met at political fundraisers.

Thank you Jerry for having my back and being a true pillar of your community. Good ride.

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