Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mayoral Grudge Match

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Never in all the time I have been writing about politics in Fayetteville have I seen a mayoral election which has bored so many people.

Then again, it’s been a long time since we have had only two people running for the office. Two men who faced each other four years ago, in 2008, when an incumbent was invited to leave by the voters of Fayetteville.

That’s gotta hurt.

As you travel through Fayetteville, you come upon soft-drink type signs, telling us we need to “re-energize” ourselves, and others tout experience that we can “trust.”

There just seemed to be more energy when multiple candidates were seeking the office of mayor, the years when four or five individuals fought it out in debates or in newspapers. Candidates stood out, and messages were more clearly defined.

As the CIA director played by John Houseman declares in Three Days of the Condor, “I miss the clarity.”

We see a lot of support for each cnaddate in the letters columns of local newsaopers, but they somehow feel like they are drawn from each man’s “Circle of Friends,” the ones who were there for them last time, and will be there next time, should the need arise.

Mike Masterson of the Arknasas Democrat-Gazette, long considered to be in the tank for Dan Coody (in fact, he should probably get paid by the Coody campaign every time he mentions Dan Coody’s name in print) recently wrote a column, “Bring on mayoral debates,” (July 21) and posed this question:

“Decisions should be made in the public interest no matter who (or what special interest or contracting group) might be upset by the choices.

“How do you feel about that? Does standing still, increasingly raising expenses on the public and taking care of the status quo sound like a proper direction?”

Oddly enough, that sounds almost like it could come off a Dan Coody flyer. I did, actually, pull this off the Dan Coody website this morning.

On the site is also a “Snapshot of Cool Achievements.”

The word “cronyism” comes up in Masterson’s column.

A number of folks have written to the newspaper suggesting that one particular candidate should be supported because of the environmentally-friendly home he and his wife have built, which actually strikes me as incredibly elitist.

My wife and I have discussed building a home at some point, but if somebody ever comes up and points out that we haven’t built an expensive, environmentally-friendly home, they’ll experience a nice, not-so-friendly kick in the ass.

It’s nice that a person has the money to build such a home, but it doesn’t particularly qualify them for mayor, any more than living in a home with lesser standards makes you less fit. . All it means is that some of your supporters are effete snobs who need to rub shoulders with the great mass of humanity every once every once and a while.

So what are our most exciting issues this year?

Staffing issues at City Hall.

Downtown Parking.

How pretty we look.

These are all real issues, but they are not the sorts of issues which grip a city’s imagination. It won’t be the mayoral race which brings people out to vote this year.

The politically aware, while not perhaps waiting for this election with the excitement of elections past, at least know who is running, and the issues.

But most people in Fayetteville?

If they do know, do they even see a real difference between Dan Coody and Lioneld Jordan?

Being the nosey person that I am, I ask people. I ask them on the bus. I ask them in restaurants. I ask them on the phone (when I can bring myself to answer the damn thing). I ask them in passing.

Lioneld Jordan and Dan Coody, quite honestly, have failed to grab the attention of most of the men women in town, or at least explain their differences.

And we can’t just sit back with a sense of moral/intellectual superiority, and sneer that these are all “low-information voters” either. While a fair proportion of them m ay be, quite a few of them have definite views of the presidential race, and even the folks who represent them in Congress.

For way too many, Coody and Jordan are seen as two sides of the same coin, and this election is just a replay of the 2008 election, only with fewer players.

******

Quote of the Day

One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives - Mark Twain

sdrake@cox.net

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