Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Flint's Mayoral candidates need to push a little

I got a random call the other day at the office, someone touting the skills of Dayne Walling, one of seven folks running for Mayor. No question about it, Walling has been out there. I have received numerous mailings, emails (I have no idea how he got THAT!), phone calls - my street is lined with Walling signs. I learned early on, however, that signs don't necessarily mean a thing in an election. People agree to let a candidate put up a sign simply because they don't like saying no to someone standing at their door.

So the caller asks if I have any questions or concerns for Mr. Walling on the eve of the primary... Well, as a matter of fact I do... I told Walling's volunteer that I really wanted to see him come out AGAINST Williamson, the current Mayor, who appears to have this election wrapped up based upon the lack of questions being asked publicly about so many of his actions and activities.

I suppose that is why I read the Journal's account of the forum held this week. The headline caught my eye: Mayor, foes trade barbs at forum.

First, I am shocked that Williamson appeared. He doesn't usually. Makes me wonder if he isn't feeling some heat despite the relative calm. Secondly, I knew the account would be good. He can't help himself. A few pokes and he explodes and doesn't care who hears the tirade...

Why aren't the other candidates using that? They have to do so little. A little push and he does the rest...

The Journal's account didn't disappoint me - How shocking that it turned into a shouting match!! After a few short minutes, the incumbent yelled at one audience member to "shut up while I'm talking."

Later, her reportedly told the audience, "I feel like I need to apologize for you. It's too bad you have to be so small."

Then he left the building.

And people like this guy??

I feel stuck in this rendition of the Emperor has No Clothes. The newspaper doesn't trumpet the ongoing faults of this guy - so different from the constant attacks against the former Mayor, made up as they were. It's rare to see or hear a negative piece about him. In fact, it seems nary a week goes by when I hear of another someone who extols his virtues! WHAT?? Why oh why do I seem surprised?

He has the ear of the average citizen I'm afraid. They like that he paves streets and ignores laws. They think shiny new garbage trucks are better than fulfilling campaign promises of jobs with his own firm, cutting funding for social service agencies, refusals of partnering with other organizations. What ever happened to his sports center or the idea of starting a business using city employees?

Recently, my husband and kids went to Williamson's recycling center on Grand Traverse, or so they thought. The sign outside said it was his recycling center - and they had a trunk full of newspapers to unload. When they asked the woman attendant if they should just leave the stacks in the semi-trailer, she said sure, but added they were really going to the landfill. Mr. Williamson doesn't actually recycle them.


She then offered a $10 bill if they left the newspapers and asked them not to tell anyone.

They didn't take the money. They took them to CBC Recycling on Saginaw Street. But I am quite sure that many people have taken the money whether it be at the recycling center or elsewhere. And they love Don Williamson for the way that he is cleaning up this city.

Following the forum the other night, one resident commented, "The people in the back kind of got going, but maybe (Williamson) shouldn't have told them what he did because, as the mayor, that doesn't present a very good look for himself."

Whoever wins the primary needs to capitalize on that. Be it Walling, or Bryant or Weighill, they need to realize that they are running AGAINST Don Williamson -- and he's not in the habit of making himself look good.

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