Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Mayor Recall: How Very Akron of Us

While the quixotic effort to recall Mayor Plusquellec appeared stillborn, a little more ink got spilled this week. Bob Dyer wrote an anti column infused with Dyer's usual ironclad grip on the obvious. Also Boring weighed in tonight.

The campaign itself is unlikely to amount to much. In the first place, mounting a signature campaign at the start of Ohio's winter is pretty much a guaranteed movement killer. And the whole thing seems inspired as much as anything by spokesman Warner Mendenhall's panic at the prospect of a week going by without his name appearing in the paper.

Nonetheless, the rhetoric from those in favor of the recall is so very Akron, it bears mentioning. You can get a sample on the group's website -- a link appears in this ANN piece. (It's a source of great amusement that you can't find the site by Googling "recall Mayor Plusquellec" or anything similar, and I don't want to spoil the effect.) Also, check out comments in the various stories. The debt is out of control! Crime is going up! The Mayor is a big meanie!

Once again, residents of the most successful big city in Ohio can't see what's going right. Not everything of course -- this is Ohio after all. But go out of town and tell people you are from Akron and those in the know will talk about Akron as a model for moving beyond rust belt economics.

In many ways Akron's political culture* is the dead opposite of our big neighbor to the north. Clevelanders have a charming credulity about their future, believing that one more big development project will finally be the thing that turns the city around. In Akron, no matter how many successes the city has, people are convinced that doom is impending. The recall campaign is just the latest manifestation of Akron's fatalism.

*Edited per Colin Morris in comments. Many Thanks.


Colin Morris said...

Feel free to delete this after reading...

Did you mean "culture" here?

In many ways Akron's political cultural is the dead opposite of our big neighbor to the north.

Colin Morris said...

You make a solid Dyer point in your comparison of Akron and Cleveland.

Astute stuff with just the right tinge of irreverent exhasperation, as usual.


Ryan said...

The glaring difference between the leaders of Akron and Cleveland is that the leaders of Cleveland, smiling and hopeful as they may be, are a group of dunces. Akron's phobia, I think, grows out of fear of becoming Cleveland v2.0.

Anonymous said...

Akron, the most successful Big Ohio City? You haven't been to Columbus. Everyone applauds the Mayor for the JEDS but I wonder why? Columbus annexed the county and have much more of a tax base to improve the city. I have a friend who bought a run down house in a once crack neighborhood and he made 150,000 in profit. Of course this was prior to the real estate crisis but still the neighborhood came back and is still back because Columbus was able to hire MORE OFFICERS with it's new revenue. Akron's downtown looks nice with it's new buildings. (You can't tell the inventor's hall of fame is vacant from the outside.) However, The neighborhoods are crime infested. City Council and the mayor could care less. If Akron is doing so well, why does Columbus continue to attract more and more citizens yet people are moving OUT OF AKRON by the THOUSANDS every year!?

Pho said...

CAPS LOCK GUY! I'm so GLAD you decided come HERE to spin your THEORIES. Feel free TO discuss all that EVIDENCE of rampant corruption that only YOU know about.

Columbus and Cincy both have a claim as the most successful Ohio city, though Akron does better on some measures. For example, Akron got through the downturn in the early 00's in better fiscal shape. Our schools are better. Cbus not only has a built in workforce called the state government, the city is also a state and regional center for insurance companies which haven't been dying back like manufacturing is.

As for crime, Akron is pretty much on par with the other major cities in Ohio. According to this site, we are a little worse than Cbus on violent crime, a little better on property crime.

Like other anti Plusquellec agitators, you cite a laundry list of problems like Akron is the only rust belt city facing them. Until you show that Akron's situation is worse and made worse by the Mayor, the recall movement remains a fringe curiosity.

Pho said...

Crap. Here's the website I referenced:

54cermak said...

I haven't stopped by here in a while Pho, but this post hits the nail on the head better than anything I've seen.

I chose to move into Akron and there were very good reasons for it. Its weathered all the storms better than any rust belt city and it will weather this one as well.

My only complaint is Cleveland's far better restaurant scene and the fact they generally get better movies in the theaters up there.

Warner said...

Please don't overlook the fact that Don Plusquellic cheated to win the election in 2007. He raised over $30,000 in violation of our local campaign finance law. Without that money he would have likely lost.

How much debt is too much for Akron? $800 million? $1 billion? Do you approve of the sale of city land at Exchange and Broadway for $129,000 when it was worth about $2 million? What is your opinion on Kevin Davis' role in that land purchase? Do you think corruption in Akron started and ended with the Portis conviction and the Kidder resignation? I can provide you with some Joe Kidder investigative files anytime. Meanwhile, we will keep posting documents on the website www.changeakronnow.com.

Warner said...

By the way, Google "Change Akron." This effort is not just about the recall. It has a base in the Finley and Issue 9 organizations which presented some clear democratic alternatives to the Mayor's failed ideas. We have a lot of work to do to change our city for the better and restore trust in local government. We will start by removing the Mayor.

The site is be doing pretty well without a "recall plusquellic" meta tag. We have had over 11,200 hits in less than 8 weeks existence.