Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cole-alition hopes to 'spring forward'

In a previous post, I had some critical things to say about Mayor Brad Cole, and offered supporters of his opponent the opportunity to do the same for their own candidate. After a few days, it appears that either Sheila Simon can do no wrong, or Simonites don't read this blog, or they need more time to think about it. (They'll be given another chance at the end of this post).

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:

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.


Anonymous said...

While there is probably some truth to the fact that she wouldn't be able to have much of a chance without her last name, she has not made this even a small part of her candidacy. I've heard her speak a number of times and she has a clear and consistent message that has nothing to do with her father. And Brad Cole is receiving just as much -- if not more -- aid from the Republican party as she gets from the Democrats. (To date, they've each had a fundraiser sponsored by members of their party.)

All that said, you seriously underestimate the amount of angst that is directed a Brad Cole. The story seems different for every person so you couldn't make a campaign "issue" out of it if you wanted to, but he's made a number of people pissed off. I suspect that when some of the "old Carbondale" folks have a chance to think about the report last night on Channel 3 regarding the facebook thing that even more will be unhappy with him.

Parentheticus said...

gadfly -- you are probably right about me underestimating the antipathy toward the Mayor. I tend to give *everyone* the benefit of the doubt, and expect the best from them, and Cole has always treated me fine. Sheila, on the other hand, has been quite friendly, and I appreciate that. I am aware of some of the "angst" directed at Cole. For instance, I've had the benefit of conversation with John K at his Chicago Underground restaurant -- and there couldn't possibly be anyone with more vocal dislike of BC than him. And I know that some people on the City staff dislike his methods, but I don't have specifics. A real "reporter" should interview Sheila's campaign manager, the guy who used to run the City Planning dept. But like him or not, Cole gets results, does he not? . . . (p.s. i didn't see the facebook segment on TV-3. What's wrong with that?)

Anonymous said...

There was a facebook group - of which Cole is an administrator - that was spreading a fabrication of Simon's record. It basically said that she would raise the bar entry age when she has, in fact, said nothing of the sort. Indeed, she hasn't ever even raised the issue. What's worse, the group was laced with profanity ("F%^k you b(^#h" and the like) and other stomach-turning stuff, like a picture putting devil horns her head. This same group of folks was doing a voter registration drive (in the dorms) with Cole's student help.

The kind of negativity spewed there was worse than *anything* we've ever seen in a national race. And, Cole not only had complete access to it (in fact, could've more or less deleted everything) but was slow to act once informed. I'm sure he has a side to this, but there is a lot of explaining to do and I'm not sure any explanation will make people's stomach's turn less. There is *a lot* of anger in the public about it.

Anonymous said...

But like him or not, Cole gets results, does he not? . . .

What are these 'results'? Please be specific. I've asked Peter Gregory about this repeatedly and he either cannot, or will not, respond with specific acts on Brad Cole's part that have led to tangible positive results for Carbondale. I know what Brad Cole says he has accomplished - I want to know what you (or anyone) can cite as direct actions of Cole's that he has accomplished.

Parentheticus said...

One of the first things Cole did (in July 2003) was extend the hours of City Hall through the Lunch hour. There's a link to that news release on his web site.

An extensive list can be found in his most recent "State of City" Speech, where Cole cites a list of things he has accomplished with the help of others in the community. (He uses the term "We").

They are posted in list format.

No one can say that Brad is not a hard worker. There's also a summary of his first 100 days in office on his web site.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Parentheticus said...

The previous comment was removed in order to feature it in its own post -- to make an example of it, because the attitude of "Anonymous" was so negative and accusatory.

I have already reviewed Cole's accomplishments good and bad.... And ASKED for a Simonite to reveal what her greatest accomplishment has been.

I am still waiting for an answer to that.