Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Recalling the recall

AKRON MAYOR Don Plusquellic  has not been in a giving mood to his political opponents during the holidays and you may expect to see the consequences in the weeks and months ahead.   The mayor's team is girding for battle.  It has had several high level  meetings to counter a recall campaign against him by former councilman and Plusquellic thorn, Walter Mendenhall. Around City Hall, the mere mention of Mendenhall's name is always accompanied by the soundtrack from "Jaws".   Neither side expects the latest clash to be gentle: recall campaigns are never pretty.  And this one would be at a desperate time in the economy when the minds of public officials should be on something more productive.  .

The mayor's strategy, I have been told,  will be an across-the-board appeal to civic and business leaders to defend the mayor's work during his six terms in office by sending the message down through the ranks of their companies and institutions.  If this strategy is effective  - and I think it probably will be - it will stave off a recall in a special election.  But that isn't certain.  As Plusquellic learned in his last campaign against Mendenhall ally Joe Finley,  nothing in politics can ever be taken for granted.  City Hall has set out to make sure that there will be no more close calls.

It will be costly for the city. Plusquellic advisors are talking about a six-figure outlay with some forecasts of upward of $500,000.    And the internal advice that will be given to the often outspoken mayor:  For this to be a success, you have to hold your tongue.  

The danger, of course, is that Mendenhall  may be able to get the 3,200 or so valid signatures on the recall petitions to force a disruptive special election. That's why there will be an intense effort to amass support from the top rung of the city's movers and shakers - many of whom have been supportive of his leadership in the past.  There is more than enough evidence of Plusquellic's productive initiatives for Akron to offset his setbacks over the years.  

So let the spitefully silly season of his opponents begin.  With so many other things on our collective minds to worry about, why do I feel that we are instead heading off to Wally World?  

1 comment:

Warner said...

Dear Abe, Plusquellic held his silly season all last year. He was woefully unprepared to argue his position (which continually changed) on the sewers. If you are backing Plusquellic, I think we deserve some answers from you ... How much debt for the city is too much? Do you approve of his expenditure of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel? Do you approve of his girlfriend representing the city in Israel and Florida? Should the Mayor follow the campaign finance law like everyone else, or do you approve of his violations of the law? Should the city have sold the property across from the Beacon for its appraised value? Is it a problem that Kevin Davis benefited from that deal? How do you respond to the items posted under the EVIDENCE link on www.changeakronnow.com? I look forward to reading your opinions on these items.