Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mendenhall's recall campaign nears the 'finished' line

DON PLUSQUELLIC seemed a little subdued when I caught up with him at Democratic Headquarters on Grant Street Saturday. Many of the mayor's supporters had departed with anti-recall material that would be handed out across the city. There wasn't much left for him to do to respond to the slanderous campaign against him by Warner Mendenhall and the Akron lawyer's obsessing cadre of me-too followers. He could now only hope for a decent turnout Tuesday by his side to repudiate the wannabe political kingmaker (and maybe, even king) who has driven him and much of City Hall to distraction, intruding upon workers' time that could be a lot better spent serving the public at large rather than a single venting dissonant. Plusquellic briefly mentioned to me the fallout from the administration's obligation to tend to the serious business of a city. The costs to the human delivery system as well as the new expenses of running a special election are hideous. Least impressed by the burdens placed on Akron, of course, was Mendenhall, whose tunnel vision about what makes cities function begins well below ground level and ends at the same murky depth.

The campaign has attracted the attention of many beyond Akron who are puzzled by the inexplicable siege on a mayor who as led the city to many honors. Indeed, Brent Larkin, the recently retired editorial director of the Plain Dealer , asserted in a Sunday column what I also believe:
"For the record, Plusquellic does offend. he's no Mr. Cogeniality. He is combative, acerbic and thin-skinned. Oh, he is one more thing: He is, by far, Ohio's best big-city mayor."

That won't impress the aginners who would risk losing a usually successful chief executive for...well, we don't really know, do we?

Over the the many years of working in Akron's political arena, I haven't always agreed with Plusquellic - and he hasn't always agreed with me. With similar temperaments, we were bound to bump into each other. But I grew to respect his style, convinced that he always had the best interests of his city at heart even when he erupted against a critic. As a political writer, I watched the mayor's service evolve as an idea-activist who, as Larkin noted, was not afraid to fail.

Well, with Tuesday's election arriving, I never thought I would be defending a feisty mayor who is perfectly capable of defending himself. As the panoply of corporate, business, professional and labor supporters lined up behind him, it should be obvious that he has been doing something right. That has left Mendenhall with nothing more than to boast wildly of a hair-thin endorsement of the recall by the Fraternal Order of Police. Some lonely mandate, huh?

I've felt from the outset that Plusquellic will survive the recall. I've seen nothing to change my mind.


fargo said...

The cost of the recall goes beyond the estimated 175K for the election itself. There is also the cost of the obsessive records requests from Mendenhall and his people. Additionally there is something in the business I am in known as "opportunity cost" ...that is the loss of pursuing new financial opportunities while wasting time on non productive activities.

I notice that Mendenhall has blamed the ABJ and local bloggers for distorting his case. By my count the PD has run three major op/ed pieces in opposition to the recall as well....theres a reason for that...Mendenhall is the town crank and has no case. The Mendenbots have a new hero in Ed Esposito...not sure why that is....Akron News Now also took up an editorial position against the recall as well.

It is almost worn out to talk about Plusqeullics hard nosed personality. Things need to get done...people standing in the way need to be moved..he moves them out of the way. In the real world that is how things get done.

Plusquellic will survive the recall as long as people get out and's that simple.


Mencken said...

My polling place had a half dozen people there this morning around 8:00am along with one Mendenhall supporter who looked like she just came off the set of Hee Haw !

I yelled at her for wasting my time and money. She brought up Young's Restaurant. Wow. The city of Cuyahoga Falls paid $900,000 for the Tally Hotel
property on State Road and $ 10,200,000 for the State Road Shopping Center. Watch out Mayor Robart, you're next!

I fear this is going to be a close one.

Mendenhall = Domestic Terrorist.

Anonymous said...

Voter turnout in Firestone Park seemed to be pretty good. It's mostly pro-Pluscuellic so we will see. I didn't see any Mendenhall supporters to yell at so I was a little dissapointed!

Kyle said...

I really have no sense of how close it is going to be since turnout is going to be so low. I think a lot of people voted absentee and that will help. My gut tells me it will be 65% against - 35% for. The bigger the blow out, the better for the city.

fargo said...

Finley got nearly 9000 votes in his primary run against Plusquellic...that figure represents the bottom number for Mendenhall. If 30,000 show up to vote 65-35 is the best no vote you could get out of that. In my mind 55-45 is more like it. If the vote gets into the 40,000 range Plusquellic will fare better.

I would like to be wrong on this and have it get to 70-30 but for now I am saying 55-45.

Anonymous said...

The question now is whether this is a mandate for Don Plusquellic or a mandate against Warner Mendenhall. The answer, as is always the case with a split on the popularity question, is who has the stronger personality. Considering that Mendenhall and his small regiment of trolls are crawling back under their rocks and Plusquellic just delivered a charismatic victory speech, the answer is undeniably:
Congratulations, Warner Mendenhall. You just delivered the mayor his highest approval rating in 22 years.