Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mr. Mayor, you will be missed; but we understand

After 28 years, they're going to retire Don Plusquellic's number at City Hall.  His age (65), frustration and apparent fatigue from the long grinding hours as Akron's mayor persuaded him to retire this month, a decision he so guarded that even some of his closest allies appeared to be surprised when he announced it.

The political sharks that have been circling him for years with psychotic gossip at the highest levels of the county Republican Party even metastacized into Plusquellic's own Democratic Party as evidenced by a failed  recall effort and a gathering on City Council of a heated faction dedicated to making a tough job even more insufferable  in conducting the city's critical business. So in their victory chants,  who among them will step out  to take a bow from the footnotes of the Akron's recent history?

So I come today to flip Brutus' words by saying I am here to praise Plusquellic, not to bury him as his longtime hollow critics made jackasses of themselves. Aggressive, a workaholic, ill-tempered - he was all of that.  But he also was an outstanding CEO who cared very much about his city. .

The Beacon Journal carried a long list of positive responses from organization folks  - the city's first team of leadership who praised his dedicated service in making the town better. None said it more clearly  than Ken Babby, the owner of the the AA minor league Rubber Ducks.  In a full-page "thank you" ad in the BJ,  Babby  praised  the mayor for not only delivering the team and a new downtown  stadium but also a number of other pluses with the mayor's fingerprints all over them:  Lock 3, the Civic Theater, John S. Knight Center, for starters.

One negative response did catch my eye.  It was from Bryan Williams, who was vanquished by Plusquellic in a mayoral contestg in 2003..  Williams, the chairman of the county   Republican executive committee and the current voice of the party,  declared that the "long national nightmare is over."  What did we miss when a northern Ohio city's mayor  became a national nightmare?

It would be safe to suppose. however, that we will be hearing so much more  from Mr.Williams, a beneficiary of Arshinkoff's fading party dynasty. Hhe may very well be his party's man of the hour to run for the job again. Arshinkoff,  incidentally,  has held his title longer than Plusquellic. (How long is 28 years?  When Plusquellic's first day in the mayor's office arrived in 1987, postage stamps were 24 cents and a gallon of gas, 89 cents.)

But Williams' airborne  comment reflected a new fire that has been lit now that Plusquellic is leaving the scene on his own, choosing his time and reason, something that that the party run by his nemesis, Arshinkoff, failed to do in his effort to defeat him at the polls.

So yes,to acknowledge the critics, Plusquellic had a terrible temper  at times that didn't serve him well.  But it could pale in comparison  with what's in store for the city in his absence.

The question now is:  Is Akron in  better shape now than when Don Plusquellic was sworn in nearly three decades ago?



 rising factions within his Democratic Party have finally taken their toll l  ed succeded

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