Friday, August 7, 2009

Will Walling Cure Gingivitis?

Andy Heller does a marvelous summing up of the Flint mayor's race:
I said Dayne Walling would thump Brenda Clack by a 60/40 margin. Some laughed. The actual split was 64/36. I rock. You should not doubt me.

That's a thumping, indeed. But don't blame Clack. Walling had more money and a bigger organization, one that, in truth, never really disbanded after his narrow election loss to The Don. It just hibernated until The Don imploded, which everyone knew wouldn't take long.

The biggest factor, though? Guilt. This was Flint's mea culpa to Walling for having inexplicably chosen The Don last time around.

Walling now becomes the proverbial guy who hooks a marlin: Now what do you do? He'll be under pressure to deliver a Flint renaissance. The peculiar thing about Flint voters is they expect miracles from mayors. They want them to eliminate crime, attract a new General Motors (in other words, create not just jobs, but high-paying jobs that last forever) and, oh, while they're at it, stamp out the curse that is gingivitis.


  1. I disagree as to Andy's comments being marvelous. It seems to me that he's simply hopping on the hindsight bandwagon.

    My recollection is that at the time, Flint was coming out of yet another bad mayoral adminstration. The choice between Mr. Williamson and Mr. Walling at the time seemed to be between someone who had quirks and a colorful past but is a very successful businessman, and someone who has an impressive IQ and college background but hasn't accomplished much since then.

    Of course, since then Mr. Williamson has given up the office due to frustration with Council politics, the impossible strategic expenses/revenue position, and the constant focus on his idiosyncrasies rather than the problems and what can be done about them.

    I suppose Mr. Heller originally was assigned the populist-columnist schtick at the Journal, but his take on it has always seemed lazy and risk-avoiding to me. In cities like New York, Chicago or Boston, that job goes to someone who can alternate light humor with muckraking. All Flint gets, it seems, is the trivial light humor.

    Mr. Heller's present piece is in that vein. Fact is, Mr. Williamson seemed the best of a mediocre field when he ran against Mr. Walling. This time, Mr. Walling seemed the best of a mediocre field. Flint voters again made an optimistic choice.

    Perhaps I'm just a curmudgeon, but I don't see the marvelousness in cranking out one more anti-Williamson column when the future needs talking about.

  2. From what I saw, Williamson accomplished one thing: paving the streets. I guess he also accomplished whittling away our budget surplus and running all but one dealership out of the city. I guess running his business in Flint Township is more important than having viable ones within Flint.


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