Your Gilbert does not necessarily agree with or endorse any of the incendiary, controversial, ROCK YOUR WORLD opinions expressed in the following post by one of our frequent commentors.
We turn the digital floor over to Alain in the service of free speech, democracy, and the sacred electoral process! Long may it wave! Also, we are lazy and prefer to let someone else do all the writing for once. In addition we are secretly (shhh!) pleased that Alain’s remarks prove there is an even grumpier curmudgeon than Your Gilbert in town.
by Alain Thery
This deafening silence that you may notice is the sound of the electoral campaigns of Bruce Williams (incumbent) and Roger Schlegel for Mayor of Takoma Park.
I must say that given their respective profile and platforms in the Takoma Voice of October 2009, it may be best that we hear so little about them! In fact, the best unit of measurement of the respective programs so far may well be the Torr, a unit of measurement of vacuum!
In one corner, we have the inescapable veteran of Takoma Park City Hall, Bruce Williams, who has served on the Council, either as a member or as Mayor, for the last 16 years.
His program can be summarized as “we must look for opportunities for smart government”! After this time in City government where things have pretty much gone as they always had, I would say that if “smart government” was a hysterically screaming blue elephant sitting in the entrance of the hall long-named city hall/community center, he would probably miss it This is a man who got elected mayor the last time on a platform of reviewing the operations of every City department. That is right, “reviewing the operations of every City department”!
After the debacle of the last year in office of Kathy Porter, that suggested a fresh whiff of air in the leadership of the City. But what happened? Well, after a brief review of the operations of the Recreations Department in July 2008 that was far from flattering, the matter got buried quite fast through a “committee” that gave the seal of approval to some “changes”. As for the rest of the departments, I guess not more than one by mayoral terms and that only if the “declarations in support of…” and other resolutions commending…” do not take to much time from the substantial work! Of course not a word about that in this year platform.
As for the rest, it is all about getting grants or taking credit for things that happened that can only be very tenuously linked to him: his comments on his time talking with business organizations and the results that we see downtown should be an indication of how effective the man has been. Well except in presiding over ever rapidly increasing budgets
In the other corner, we have a new face, Roger B. Schlegel, a rare occasion, a challenger.
It should be obvious that I relished the presence of a challenger who would at the very least give the incumbent a run for his money. How wrong I was! Despite flaunting early on his MA in Public Administration, it does not appear that Mr. Schlegel has much practical experience in that field. Not only he does not mention anything about this experience (which, to my view, would be a critical plus for the position he is seeking), but also, unless he is much younger looking than he looks, the 14 years of teaching English and AP Human Geography at Gonzaga College HS did not leave many years for direct work in Public administration! I would also have expected someone with a public administration background to be more specific about what he plans to do. But instead we get non- sequiturs such as “nobody does festivals better than Takoma Park but it’s possible to improve how we watch our bottom line”! Does he know that the festivals are largely privately financed? If so, what does it have to do with the City’s bottom line? In short, what we get from Schlegel is an strong impression of dilettantism sprinkled with new-agey clichés, and pats-on-the-back bromides such as “conversation about the kind of place we want Takoma Park to be’, “celebrating sustainability like we do”.
Explicit common financial point between them
The economic downturn requires us to rethink the way we provide services. As if this was not a general necessity in view of having the budget increase every year, by 10%+ (significantly above inflation) just in the name of continuing to provide services!
In view of the fact that none of the two candidates for Mayor proposes anything that brings any changes to the way that the City has been managed, only the diehard voters will bother to show up on election day. If the weather is very nice, some may decide to go vote as an objective for a constitutional.
The likely winner is projected to be Bruce Williams by a wide margin in a low turnout (anybody surprised? let me know!)
Takoma Park, it is not this time that you will wake up from your so-deep slumber that some call it a coma..