Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mike Williams: a 40-point mayoral campaign!

MICHAEL WILLIAMS' 40-point litany aimed at Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic doesn't quite match Martin Luther's 95 theses. But 40? It has to be some kind of record for a mayoral contest. And when you reach that far for an opening salvo against your opponent it suggests that you're hoping that at least a couple of them will stick as the race moves on through the heat of summer to the Sept. 13 Democratic primary.

Still, for all of the ground it covered, the Big 40 offered no surprises. Williams built his case on what the mayor's is opponents have been saying for years while taking a swipe at Plusquellic's well-known differences with the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police. But Williams already seems assured of getting those leaders' support without emphasizing that as mayor you will be kinder to cops. It didn't work as a wedge issue against Plusquellic in the failed recall campaign against him.

In 2011, with much of world struggling to survive dismal economic numbers, there is really only one issue in a campaign within the boundaries, in this instance, of Akron, Oh. It is the troubling employment numbers. But here again, the city 's challenge is the same as in every city in America. Rhetoric won't solve the problem. So I was particularly interested to find Williams again fussing over Plusquellic's well- recorded and reported travels beyond Akron. (I'm sure the mayor will have much to say about the benefits of seeking new investors from abroad - even, for Heaven's sake, Finland! - when you are competing with every other city in the country to lure jobs to your hometown.)

Williams suggests that a mayor's inescapable noble obligation is to have a strong presence in the "neighborhoods" - whatever that's supposed to mean. But neighborhoods don't produce many jobs. Luring fresh money from outside of the community does produce the jobs that benefit the citizenry in all of the neighborhoods. All of which means: No mayor can dedicate his or her career to being a stay-at-home. Not in 2011, nor forevermore.

Now, about the other 39 points, I may save them for a rainy day.


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