Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whither Akron?

So now it's time to ponder what all this means. Contrary to what the recall supporters say, the only messages they sent is that there aren't very many of them and they don't learn very quickly. The conventional wisdom was that the actual election result would be about ten percent worse for the mayor than the actual sympathies of the population, given the motivation gap. Given the final tally, it probably isn't that high, but when you start with a 3:1 split it doesn't have to be. Fact is, the people who think the administration is bad enough to be run out midterm constitute a fairly thin group.

That said, we need to have a sensible loyal opposition in this city. Akron has been proactive in bringing and retaining business. That means it has funded improvements, granted tax breaks, cofunded ventures and otherwise spent a great deal of tax money. While I won't pretend to believe that it's all lily-white, it's damned impressive to see the combination of robust spending on business development and political hegemony hasn't bread a patently, undeniably corrupt administration. Nonetheless, with temptations abounding, it would be good to see some division of government to provide checks and balances.

Unfortunately we don't have a sensible loyal opposition. A sensible loyal opposition doesn't bray about restaurant receipts, it doesn't pretend that the city's difficulties are unique to the region, and it doesn't mutter about corruption then resentfully skulk away when people expect, y'know, proof for gawd sake.

Most of all, (pace Akron Watch and the CANCANners) sensible loyal opposition doesn't count all of the spending and none of the benefit. The SLO of which we dream would seriously analyze the benefits of the various projects, acknowledge the ones that work and decry those that don't. By refusing to acknowledge anything positive about either Plusquellic or Akron (Mendenhall's "good heart" comment being a classic damning with faint praise) the pro-recall/anti-Plusquellic forces have painted themselves as untrustworthy hacks.

Going forward it will be interesting to see if they can come up with an actual coherent platform. And no, "The Mayor should play nice with others" isn't such a platform. They will certainly say spend more money on neighborhoods, the problems being a) Akron already spends money on neighborhoods and b) if the city ignores business develepment there won't be any money to spend. When confronted with those problems, expect Mendenbot candidates to do the political equivalent of "Na na na I can't hear you."

So. The city will not be rendered leaderless as a result of this folly. But the recall election hardly puts to rest the challenges the city faces. The Mayor's Office continues to confront those challenges, but will anyone we can trust confront the Mayor's Office?


redhorse said...

We'll find out tomorrow it means Team Mulligan will try to run a slate in September. At least this time that's a candidate in a regular election, not some farce.

John Ettorre said...

Somehow I knew this would be the place to come for the best reading on this event. The PD covered it in its usual Cleveland-centric way, and I'm afraid I don't trust the Beacon Journal anymore, after its rape and plunder by the crazy new owner. But you delivered nicely, Pho. Thanks.