Monday, August 27, 2007

Mayoral prospects

As we approach the September 11th primary in Akron, the local vocals on the Akon Beacon Journal's comment forums are piling on the mayor and anyone who supports him. An article posted on Sunday featured written responses from both candidates in the mayoral campaign. I happened to get to the online Beacon fairly early Sunday morning. The first four comments were typical pro Joe diatribes, consisting of negative attacks against Plusquellic without offering any genuine reason to vote for Finley. So I posted a pro-Plusquellic comment, knowing I was going to be a target. Here's what I said:

"Looks like the current mayor is far more realistic in his approach to urban problems than dreamer Finley. Finley makes lots of promises, but in reality he has had no success at implementing change during his years on city council. Plusquellic on the other hand has turned our downtown into a vibrant and exciting place to visit. He has brought about changes that have increased my quality of life.

Some of Finley's promises are simply outrageous ploys to trick the voters. For example, just how is he going to increase street repairs while bringing down the costs?

I also wonder who his new cabinet might include, especially since the pay will be lowered ten percent? And I have no interest in a candidate who decides to cut off the rest of the world by restricting travel -- that's a recipe for sure disaster. Close your mind to what is effective elsewhere and see how fast we sink as a city. Finley lost in his last citywide run and there are plenty of reasons why. It is easy to harp and criticize, as can be seen on these boards day after day -- but to step up and get the job done -- we need a savvy and pragmatic person like Plusquellic."
Indeed, I drew many responses, including accusations that I must be on drugs, that I work in the mayor's office and most amusingly, that I was Don P in disguise on a message board! For the record, I have never been introduced to the mayor and he doesn't know who I am and I can't imagine he's ever read this blog. I did get to ask him a question at his appearance before the Summit County Progressive Democrats. And I admit, I threw him a soft ball question, as I wanted to know more about his "greenprint" for Akron and how to get involved. (His answer in short -- talk to the people at Keep Akron Beautiful whom he is designating as chief Green planners for Akron.)

Joe Finley also spoke before the SCPD on a separate occasion. Mister Right to Lifer put on his gosh all golly we are so friendly attitude and in a very telling moment, claimed that he was just about as progressive as we were. He didn't go into the parts of his platform that are anti-progressive. Joe Finley is an expert in pandering to whomever is in front of him. That was my impression.

An acquaintance of mine went to today's Press Club debate between Finley and Plusquellic. She said that Don came off like a CEO, confident in his leadership and what he has accomplished, while Finley seemed amateurish, especially with the obviously choreographed standing ovations given by his 8 or so children in attendance -- which was repeated after every Finley statement.

If you read the Akron Beacon Journal comments you might get the impression that all of Akron loathes Don Plusquellic. But look a little closer and you'll see that many of the most vicious ranters are from outlying communities. In fact, after going through several pages of comments, you might even begin to wonder if the bulk of them might very well be posted by Finley's campaign manager. They repeat the same talking points ad nauseum.

Finley is an opportunist. He has his list of mayoral "faults" and that's where his focus is. He gloms onto any and all disaffection within the community, but has very little to offer in the way of what he would do.

The folks on the boards are trying very hard to make it appear that the mayor is in trouble, but one thing to remember is that most Akronites are not reading the Beacon online. And the numbers of those who have benefited from the mayor's years of service far outnumber those who can't see the changes that have taken place in our city over the past 20 years. Half the negative comments deny that Akron has improved in any sort of way. The other half argue that whatever change has happened, it couldn't be due to our mayor. So who is delusional and who will be mayor on September 12th? Just a couple more weeks and we will all know who is going to have the last laugh.


Ben said...

Finley is an opportunist. He has his list of mayoral "faults" and that's where his focus is. He gloms onto any and all disaffection within the community, but has very little to offer in the way of what he would do.

Could be. I dont know for sure. But would you prefer Don run unopposed?

Ben said...

I should have put that first paragph in quotes...quoting from your write up.

Anonymous said...

Speaking for myself, I would prefer an opposing candidate who ran something more than a smear campaign. It is not enough to say "the mayor stinks" in running an opposing campaign. It's not really a campaign at all . . . it just plays to the base elements of society -- the part that hates anyone who is in power for too long. So, yes, given the current alternatives, I would prefer DP ran unopposed. It is just a waste of money and time. Next time the opposition might consider propping up and actual candidate with actual ideas.

Dave P. said...

I'm new to town and have only followed the race for the last few weeks, but I couldn't be less impressed with Finley. I'm liberal as hell and would normally support an underdog like Finley, but he has nothing concrete to say and his main focus seems to be that the mayor is crooked.

His answer to a Q&A in the West Side Leader sealed it -- he said something to the effect of Akron losing jobs because of quality of life issues. Right...three decades of deindustrialization that have harmed much of the rust belt have nothing to do with it. It was a really lame, uninformed answer.

I'll vote for Don P.

Anonymous said...

I think a Finley victory will only accomplish only one thing for sure: a republican mayor after the next election cycle.

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