I'm calling supporters of Senator Paul Simon's talented daughter "Simonites" and supporters of banker Neil Cole's accomplished son the "Cole-alition."
For Simonites, besides the family loyalty, it's all about how Sheila voted on hot-button issues that came before the Council -- such as the Smoke-Free Carbondale initiative and the American Tap property purchase, and other controversial subjects, such as the mayoral credenza. (mp3 audio)
Perhaps it is unnecessary to assess Sheila's shortcomings as a candidate, since Peter the Great has done yeoman's work on this topic in a series of well-commented posts:
- Sheila starts up her Mayor campaign
- Brad Cole for Mayor.
- Sheila Simon's two worlds.
- Integrity, Responsibility and Opportunity
- Sheila's plans - I'm going to analyze them.
- Integrity and accusing your opponent of illegal or unethical acts.
- The American Tap - Leadership or a payout? The mayor's race in a nutshell.
- Interesting comment method has started on the blog.
- Where does Sheila's support come from?
- Stupid Campaign Sign Tricks
- Is there a perfect candidate?
- Brad Cole is so lucky.
For me, Sheila has two main strikes against her candidacy: 1) Brad Cole has done an excellent job, and many improvements for the City have resulted through his creativity and effort. 2) As competent as she may be, Sheila already has a full-time job, and a family, and pet projects, so she can't possibly spend as much time on the job that Brad can as "Carbondale's #1 Salesman." And she admits as much by arguing that the Mayor's job should only be part-time, so she'd create a new staff position to do what Cole has been doing (apparently). Maybe "take another look" at reinstituting the City's share of Property Tax (that Cole had abated while he was still a City Councilman) to pay for Cole's replacement. Now that would be irony for ya.
Like him or not, Brad Cole has redefined the way the job of mayor is done in Carbondale: he's worked hard, accomplished much, and deserves re-election. At around $10,000 per year, he's a bargain.
(Wait, I've got an idea! If Sheila is elected, the City Council could hire Cole to be the City's super salesman, if I am not available.)
But back to Sheila. Like most of us, she enjoys the university town way of life -- with a prestigious academic job, an important civic position, a professor husband, and two school age daughters to be proud of. She rides her bike to work, plays banjo in a band, and probably brings her lunch. She walks the talk when it comes to low-tech energy solution. Whereas Cole sponsors "Bike 2 Work Day," Sheila actually does ride a bicycling to work. Plus, she's the daughter of Paul and Jeanne Simon, two savvy politicians in their own right. And that's a huge plus in this Southern Illinois community. Former Senator Paul Simon has been elevated to saint-like status, even having a federal "cathedral" named after him three years ago.
So she's a shoo-in right?
Not according to the "Cole-alition" that supports the Mayor's re-election. Unofficial Cole-alition spokesman Peter Gregory thinks Brad Cole is the best mayor Carbondale has had for decades -- in part because he's worked so hard, as a hands-on player from the get-go, announcing he was withdrawing support for the CDBC and Carbondale Main Street. And the TIF District, etc. He ran on a promise to be the #1 salesman for Carbondale, and he has been. Traveling the globe, selling "the Capital of Southern Illinois." (his phrase), while tending to the matters of the City that matter most. To quote "Great Marmaduke's Ghost"
"It is the job of city government to foster economic development, provide for the public safety, build and maintain infrastructure and to pick up garbage. Every thing else is secondary -- and Cole tops Simon on all of these basics."Let's face it, folkies, Councilwoman Simon wouldn't have a moonbeam's chance in daylight of taking Mayor Cole's job from him -- or getting State Democratic Party support -- if she weren't a Senator's daughter. She knows that. Everyone knows that.
Because of Brad's support for business, environment and the arts, the pro-business, pro-environment, and pro-art supporters of Brad Cole urge voters to not to turn back the clock, and return to the days of the part-time Mayor . . . but to Spring forward with a full-time Mayor whose #1 job is making Carbondale a better place to live and work.
Now, here are some questions for each group:
- What is the best thing your candidate did? -- Peter G suggests answer.
- What is the best thing your candidate's opponent did? -- (I'm thinking. I'm thinking. Someone tell me.)
- What is the worst thing your candidate did? -- I've made some suggestions a few days ago.
- What is the worst thing your candidate's opponent did? -- voted against the Mayoral credenza.