Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Baseball, politics work well for Plusquellic

So there, dominating the BJ's front page this morning,  was a smiling Mayor Don Plusquellic shaking hands with Ken Babby, the owner of the AA RubberDucks, as they announced that the Eastern League all-star game would be played this summer at Canal Park in downtown Akron.

Great news for business, right? And it firmly caps his history of promoting the construction of the new stadium and bringing a new team to the city.  Not the first  good deed for the mayor as he navigated enough rough moments  by local pols  and armchair critics, the latter of whom saw the man not as an honest  cheerleader and doer for his city but one who had "cooked up" a reason for retiring this year.

On the other hand,  some of the town's achievers thought the positive upside deserved far more attention.  In full-page ads, folks like Babby and Elizabeth Bartz sought to emphasize the mayor's great value  during his 28 years in office.   In all of those years covering the mayor, we've had some disagreements, but  I've never  known him to cook up anything.  And it was possible for the truth to hurt.

But that was then.  Print journalism wasn't performed from a foxhole but on the sidewalks, the union halls, the restaurants and watering counters where the local pols had lunch,  and in the crowds at the Labor Day parades without benefit of cell phones. I'm well aware that it's another world today,  but hardly a better one.

Plusquellic's departure is already causing alarm among  his hometown  Democratic friends.   Although they see positives in Council President Garry Moneypenny's rise to fill out Plusquellic's unexpired term,  they are also concerned  about the sort of candidate who might emerge to oppose him in the party primary.  Councilman Mike Williams, for example, who ran against Plusquellic before, reportedly is telling people that if he becomes mayor he would fire everybody at City Hall and only accept legislation advanced by his own faction on City Council.

There will be no end to reprisal politics in the stretch to the November election  (primary on September 8).   If Democrats are running scared today, they should be.  As for the Republicans,  Chairman Alex Arshinkoff may be working out a name in his meetings at the Diamond Grill  with his  wealthy cronies at the University of Akron.  Either that, or finding a way to gossip that Moneypenny will be indicted for some unknown  crime, as  the GOP Boss foolishly did so often  in trying to take down Plusquellic.

To end the nonsense, do you think Moneypenny should invite Arshinkoff to throw out the first ball at a RubberDucks game  in Canal Park this summer?

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