A Referendum of Sorts (My Disagreement with D.O.N.)
First, on an unrelated topic:
Last night, for the first time, my little angel (dressed as a princess) and I went door to door begging for snacks. We went up one side of the block and down the other (and then added a few houses for good measure) - 23 houses in total. Walking in the cool October air, with my daughter's tiny hand in mine...well friends...it was bliss. Long shall I remember it.
"Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
Next Tuesday is election day. I rock the vote - that's how I roll. I hope you rock the vote too.
Residents of St. Paul have a interesting question in the mayoral election. Our incumbent mayor, Randy Kelly, who is a centrist democrat, is running against another centrist democrat, Chris Coleman. It's shaping up to be a blowout, and here's why: our incumbent mayor broke ranks last year and endorsed President Bush for re-election (a link worth clicking for the editorial cartoon alone).
Should he lose his office for that?
"[Mayor Kelly], you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever."
-Michael Corleone (revised from the original)
By overall accounts, our mayor is pretty good. We've added affordable housing, and, in general, things are going well. He's held the line on property taxes (not that I care), but increased fees - in other words, he's had to be crafty. He took a tough and (among some) unpopular stance on opening an existing access road to daily traffic. Fire fighters are unhappy with him because he has cut funds to the fire department and staffing is low. Crime has gone up (but I usually see links between crime rate and political office holders as overblown), and our parks are a bit underfunded, but you'd only notice it with a keen eye.
My friend D.O.N. would write that Mayor Kelly is really supportive of the libraries (and D.O.N.'s wife is a tremendous supporter of the libraries), and Mrs. Duf would tell you that he is a tremendous supporter of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.
I'm pretty sure my friend D.O.N. is voting for Kelly.
I'm voting for Coleman.
And I'm kind of ashamed of my reasoning, but unfortunately our mayor did two things that will cost him, and I think, in this race, it's okay that he pay.
First, he made a critical error in judgment. Republican financial policy is trickle down in more ways that one.
The first trickle down cuts taxes for the rich with the expectation that they will trickle down jobs and money to the remainder everybody else.
The second trickle down cuts funding at the highest levels - so it's not money trickling, it's financial burdens. If you are the President, then you cut federal aid to states. If you are a Republican Governor, you cut aid to counties and city. If you are a county commissioner or a mayor - either raise taxes or cut essential services. You cannot pass the burden down. You are the lowest rung on the trickle down ladder.
And any self-respecting mayor who would endorse a President who creates financial crises for cities, is...well...prone to errors in judgment (among other things).
Second, Mayor Kelly has turned the mayoral election into a referendum on the Republican agenda. If you live in St. Paul, you know that every other green and white yard sign reading "Re-elect Randy Kelly for Mayor" has been vandalized (usually in orange paint) with the words "supports Bush." And in a city where two democrats are fighting for the mayoral job, you can guess how a referendum on the Republican agenda is going to come out.
I think the mayor showed poor judgment - even if only in misunderstanding what motivates the electorate. Like most St. Pauli's, left with a choice between two candidates, both of whom would run the city fairly well, I can't see myself siding with the one who prostituted himself last fall.
So I'm voting for Coleman, but I suspect Mrs. Duf, D.O.N., and Mrs. D.O.N. will not. I can respect that.
"What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your [re-election campaign] would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you."
- Don Corleone
As quoted in a draft of a letter from the Democratic Farm and Labor party to former St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (final draft to be delivered 9 November 2005).