Last week there were some comments like hey, dave, you're on the mayor's payroll, now be honest, you are biased, which is unfair. I've been upfront about maintaining the Mayor's site - at least as far back as May 2006, but I added a statement of that fact to my profile for this blog, so that should cover it -- along with the following explanation: I've been uploading Carbondale Communique mayoral messages, and photos to Cole's website since 2003. So what am I supposed to do? Quit? Not comment on the race? Or simply continue blogging, and anyone who doesn't like it -- the mayor or anyone else -- can kiss my *sterisk, or post a comment. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Like the "Marry the Mayor" site . . . . Some think that it was sort of plan. No way! That gem was conceived by me and developed with three other Town Square Marketing Association businesses. Cole was told about it after the idea was developed. We asked if he would play along, and to his credit (imo) he agreed. (I like that Brad's decisive, and get things done. Sheila would have put the decision up to a committee and it never would have happened.) You may not like tongue-in-cheek contests with a post-modern view on love and business, but CNN and other news media did (and still may depending on what happens after Brad's first date). As things stand, the mayor is scheduled for a date with a young lady from Nashville, Tennessee, whose video essay deserves YouTube posting [link], as mentioned in the Feb. 14 press release. And in a new twist, the Marry the Mayor Committee is discussing with the other eligible bachelor City Council member Lance Jack, off the record, if he wants to double-date with Brad in April or May with one of the other women, before the new council members are sworn in. Brad has promised to have his date, win or lose the election.
Now Sheila, who is married, with a professor husband and two teen-ettes at home, and a full time job also promises to get things done, and she's practically neighbor, and I really should sit down and speak to her (again) as a courtesy to her. (You know, we're all busy, Bloggy.) But until I do, I promise to present a fair and balanced, if somewhat askew view of both candidates.
To prove it, here's some things I think Cole got wrong. I agree with SS that BC (and the rest of City Council at the time) should not have supported the American Tap property purchase from Henry Fisher. The reason I did not support the American Tap purchase at the time -- was not because he was a felonious sex offender and a property scofflaw, but that the price was too high -- but Cole and the majority of City Council were trying to improve the face of downtown Carbondale, per input to Mayor Cole from representatives of Carbondale Main Street that the eyesore building was "the strip's" biggest problem. So Cole swung into action, and the Council followed -- for reasons explained in this weeks Carbondale Times.
(The discussion of this purchase at the time prompted my first appearance before City Council, to inquire "what was the assessed value of the property" -- and no one knew! -- it's still fun to see City Manager Doherty shuffle through his papers in search of that information. However, as someone I trust pointed out to me afterwards that I should have asked the appraised value. See the thing is, First Southern Bank paid only $450,000 for the property the bank is on and all the land surrounding, including where the Auto Parts place is. And that little patch of land on Illinois Ave. cost the city $150,000. I once worked out the difference in price per square foot, but I'm too busy now to look for it or do it over.... be patient and I will, unless you beat me to it in a comment.)
Another thing the Simonites oppose in retrospect is Cole's Cleanup program, which Peter the Great has puzzled over. I have to disagree with Peter and Cole on this one. I think $250,000 might have been better spent on technical training, rather than picking up trash, but I am biased toward the digital and technical, and people say the program did some good. But $250,000 worth of good? Cole says 'yes'. In fact, he reaffirmed his pride in the program in interview with Tom "Cap" Miller this morning on WJPF, and I was able to record the part where Cole explains the difference between him and Sheila (7 mg mp3).
And while I'm on Cole's case, I think he and the rest of City Council (including Sheila Simon) dropped the ball on the Varsity Theater. I don't know what anyone could do. It was going to cost of lot money to renovate since Kerasotes Theaters, bless their greedy little hearts, prevented the building from being used to show movies. I wonder what the City of Carbondale business development team has done about that building since! In 2003, a group of citizens headed by Bob Streit ("the Laurence Olivier of Southern Illinois") tried to make something happen, but too much money was required. Yet, the longer it sits, the worse it will get.
Speaking of actors, the Jackson County Stage Company will be holding a Silent Auction and Dinner Theater THIS WEEKEND, featuring a play Harlequinade -- and get this! The silent auction will include many items including a sand painting of the now-demolished old bank building that housed the Stage Company for 25 years, created from (pulverized) brick from the actual building. Replicas will probably be sold online. [link]
Next I'm going to write about the way the race is shaking out, from what my friends and contacts say: many are undecided. They hadn't seen the ad that ran in the Carbondale Times, listing the things Brad Cole has accomplished in four years.
Now I'd like to hear The Simonites (supporters of former Sen. Simon's daughter) say something bad about their standard-bearer. (Perhaps fault her for being stingey about the Mayor's credenza?)