A long-time environmentalist and well-known community and peace activist, Mike Ferner was elected to two terms on Toledo City Council where he sponsored the largest investment in energy efficiency for municipal buildings in Ohio. He is the author of “Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq,” (Praeger/Greenwood), based on his two trips to Iraq, before and after the U.S. invasion. He served in the Navy Hospital Corps in the Viet Nam War and was discharged as a conscientious objector. He is a former national President of Veterans for Peace.
Mike also worked as a union organizer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and as director of communications for several national non-profit organizations. He is a coordinator of Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie and has lived on Erie’s shore in Toledo for 35 years.
What was your first job? Hoeing sugar beets and soybeans for farmers in western Lucas Co. for 75 cents/hr.
What health or lifestyle tips do you support? I eat chicken about once a month and a burger once a quarter, with an occasional fish thrown in for good measure and try to get up before noon every day. I walk 3/4 of a mile to the post office a little more often than I eat chicken but promise to exercise regularly as soon as things start falling apart.
Most memorable trip/trips? Iraq just before and just after the U.S. invasion in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2010.
Your biggest self-indulgence? Sitting on the swing in my front yard with a beer and a joint, watching the many species of birds flying over Lake Erie.
I have always wanted to …? Travel more and see Toledo adopt the kind of programs that would return Toledo to its place as a leader in public policy like it was under Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones — things like universal pre-school, publicly-owned utilities, worker-owned cooperative businesses, a criminal justice system that treats people like human beings.
What trait do you admire in others? Compassion, a sense of humor and willingness to buy the first round.
Your pet peeve? People who’ve never been outside the country and think the U.S. is the best place on earth.
Something most people don’t know about you? My wife has finally convinced me that I am indeed too good looking for my height.
Words you live by? You just can’t beat the Golden Rule.
What advice would you give to the younger you? Trust your gut more.
Who is someone you’d like to meet? Marilyn Monroe. I just know I could be the guy to make her happy.
What inspires you now? Seeing people get pleasure out of political activism.
Your favorite winter food? Dinner.
Favorite Movie? Casablanca.
Person you most admire? Kathy Kelly. Google her.