Monday, April 30, 2007

extra murals

Since Peter the Great is moving this summer, I want to get busy making Carbondale a better place before he leaves. I was hoping he'd like the mural incentive idea, but, judging from the lack of comments, no one did, although murals have transformed and beautified other cities -- and downtown Carbondale needs help, not only economically (Mr. Colebychev tear out those parking meters!) but aesthetically.

I had a chance to ask Mayor Cole about the possibility of a mural incentive yesterday, but he just said that it would be expensive. He also said that City Council recently authorized a 50 foot mural on the east side of the tracks at the Amtrak station at the last Council meeting. Excuse me, but that will benefit train travelers more than city dwellers. Why not spread those thousands around to 30 murals instead of one?

Or is it possible -- and desirable to have both?

Speaking of desirable, I read The Secret while I was in Portland's Powell's Books last week. Do you know The Secret? Is it possible for an entire town to use it?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bus Stop or Bust

The local Greyhound ticket office will be up and running Monday at its new location next to Urban 2 on 215 N. Washington St. The phone was installed yesterday.

If the City Council approves my request for a Special Use Permit, the bus will begin stopping there by late May. Until then, it will continue to pick-up and drop-off passengers in front of Amtrak.

Yesterday, I paid the city fee for Special Use Permit was $207, including $70 to the Southern Illinoisan to publish a legal notice, and $111 to the U.S. Post Office for certified notifications to 24 area businesses and property owners within 250 feet. (Still unsure why the Carbondale Times wouldn't have been just as effective and cheaper for the legal notice, but hey, I'm happy to contribute to The Illusion's expansion.)

Good news is City staff approves the request, although one vocal local has already expressed opposition. (I think I know who.) The Planning Commission meeting is Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. Item PC 07-11 is the only hearing on the agenda published on the City web site. It will be televised on Cable 16, so set your tivos.

After that hearing, the request will come up before the City Council -- on May 15, the same night Mayor Cole and the other winners in the recent election are sworn-in for their respective terms of office.

Friday, April 27, 2007

'round the bend' or wall to wall?

Judging from the comments to Peter's post about me going "round the bend" on the Varsity Theater by calling for a beautify or demolish ultimatum to Kerasotes, many people care about the fate of the venerable venue.

As I explained in a comment to Peter's post -- I was joking, giving an aesthetic twist to the ultimatum given to the Bank of Carbondale for safety purposes. Demolition is extreme for just being ugly.

Yet there might be some value in having an incentive program to beautify ugly walls. It's much cheaper to paint a mural than to build a building. The mural could be an image of the shops that used to be there before Kerasotes put in the other theater and walled off the front.

Other walls and storefronts in the City could choose their own images. A cheap artistic way to improve the look of the cityscape.

Carbondale Main Street arranges for building facade improvement grants, why not mural grants?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Theater ticket price

Looks like veteran SIU-beat reporter, Caleb Hale is on the City beat now. Good choice by someone at the Southern, since Caleb knows the city-- and the university -- pretty well. Yet his recent Varsity Theater update leaves one important question unanswered:
"The Varsity is for sale, though the asking price is unknown. Calls to Kerasotes representatives, based in Chicago, were not returned Tuesday."
Doesn't anyone in the City know how much Kerasotes is asking for the property? Doesn't the City Manager know? the Mayor? Kevin, the business development guy? Carbondale Main Street?

I guess the price is moot, since there is no clearly stated public plan for anything to be done with the Varsity. What can be done? Paint a mural on the wall?

The city should issue a mural incentive. Beautify your building or tear it down. Like what the City sent to the Bank of Carbondale regarding the old Stage Company building: repair or demolish.... Except to warn: beautify or demolish.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

to market, to market

This morning I went to the Saturday Market in downtown Portland to buy stuff for Art Lovers - but not before being lured by Peter to the Carbondale Main Street online auction at Ebay. It's a hoot that Peter is thinking about bidding on the right to be the first one to wear the Pig Out mascot suit. If he wins, he'll be following in some great footsteps, er, uh, hoof steps. I'll try to snap a photo of his snout inside the snout, like former City business development staffer, Jeremy Hayes a few years ago.

Peter can shill with the best of them! "One of the best non-profits in town, . . ." he says,
"Main Street has been the best economic development group in Carbondale for the last 5 years. They have a limited focus of helping our downtown area, no messing around with anything else.

A good cause and good people. Help keep our downtown business core strong and bid on something you need. Now is the time to get that Holiday Shopping down early."
So I bid on something.

I wish I could bid on Peter giving the old Gregorianalysis to Carbondale Main Street. On a cost-benefit basis. (I can't wait til he gets to Pig Out!)

Here's an idea -- Why not have Pig Out at the Town Square Pavilion and parking lot this year! And in the parking lots across the street. That area of town needs more boosting than the 710 parking lot businesses.

Have free parking and make it a party.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bone or stoned?

It isn't always sunny in Portland, but it is today. And I have plans to meet an old friend at Powell's Books, "the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world." But first I want to make a final comment on the recent Mayoral race: I called it.

Moving on.

I've changed my mind about Colbert supporting Simon in the election. His saying that Simon would be "nicer" is hardly an endorsement. The image of Cole with Colbert prevailed over the out-of-context message on the screen.

Now, with Cole Mayor for another four years, I can keep trying to get Carbondale mentioned favorably on the Colbert show with the new "Waiting for Colbert" blog. Any C'dale and Colbert fans are welcome to contribute. It's mainly about Colbert (he loves the attention).

Stephen has recently been named the greatest living American, so it won't be easy to get him to throw us wee folk in Salukiville a bone. It may require naming a bridge after him, or changing the name of Carbondale to "Colbert" -- but he may settle for having Sheila Simon's birthday declared "Stephen Colbert Day" since Brad posed with him while Sheila op-posed.

Alternatively, if Stephen stiffs us, he could be stoned in effigy, like his namesake, the proto-martyr.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A little Sack time

Well, I made it to Portland in one piece, and had a great night's sleep on my daughter's couch last night, so I can couch my words better this morning. No sofastry from me today -- unlike that megalomaniacal Peter the Grate, who continues to whip up a souffle from the broken eggs of the past election, and then orders huevos rancheros in a Back Room meeting.

I'm miffed at Peter 'cause he virtually stole my girl -- the best darn Carbondale-beat reporter the Southern Illinoisan has had since, uh, Linda Rush -- in a photo-op at Brad Cole's victory party. Now compare Peter's photo with mine, snapped (but not published) at her Going Away party last summer. Where does she look happier? I especially like the kid in the back give "The Heiress" donkey ears. ;-)

I always appreciated Nicole Sack's "walk the talk" approach as a reporter -- like the time at Bike 2 Work Day two years ago, when she road her bike to Murphysboro in order to ride along with an SIU employee back to Carbondale for her story in The Southern -- about 14 miles before breakfast!

Now she's out in Southern California, working for another newspaper in the Lee chain. As photogenic and prose-agenic as she is, she should become a television reporter. More pay. More fun?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One good term deserves another

In your face, Colbert! Perhaps Simon would have been nicer, but that wasn't what 2,201 Carbondale voters were looking for in a Mayor, so Cole won!

Sheila did make a nice concession phone call to Brad before he proclaimed victory to his supporters at the Copper Dragon.

I didn't have much time to speak to him, since he was surrounded by well-wishers and media most of the time. But he posed for a photo with Peter the Great and me, looking forward to great progress in next four years.

I hope Sheila will continue to be a part of it. Will you, Bloggee?

The way I see it, some eggs were broken during Cole's first term. Now it's time to make an omelette.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Waiting for Colbert, the blog

Watching tonight's Colbert Report on DVR again in search of an endorsement (back-hand, back-slapping, or half-baked) for his virtual friend Brad Cole. He seems to be sticking to his earlier lukewarm endorsement of Simon, joining Bob Pauls who chooses Simon for environmental reasons; while the DE reversed its previous choice of Sheila to endorse Cole this time -- but for the wrong reasons. I've seen the TV ads and listened to (and recorded) yesterday morning's separate radio interviews of Brad Cole and Sheila Simon by Tom "Cap" Miller (who never got around to asking what Brad meant in his ads about Sheila "playing with" the property tax). I recorded each 9 minute interview but haven't had time to re-listen or excerpt shorter clips.

Looking forward to life after the election; no matter who wins, it will be a breath of fresh air, with warmer weather and Bike 2 Work Day rolling around in May (date, tba) -- and other fun things -- such as another new blog inspired by this one. ;-)

Stop in the name of biz

I've inherited the Greyhound Bus ticket agency in Carbondale, since I knew the guy who was running it, and I used to work for Greyhound when it was located in the space adjacent to the Bike Surgeon, and the bus stopped in front of Amtrak.

For the past year or two, the station has been located on Washington Street, one block north of Tres Hombres, inside the Big Muddy Independent Media Center -- but the bus still stops in front of Amtrak.

Starting April 30, the ticket office will be located across the street from the BMIC, sharing the "Urban Wear" building (where the Cadillac Lounge used to be).

To better serve the customers, I'd like the bus to stop there -- which requires a "special use permit" from the City. Last week, I submitted an application, including a narrative behind the request:
The history of Greyhound bus stations and stops has been checkered, moving from spot to spot over the years. For a while it was on "the Island" where the Indian restaurant is, then it was in the Yellow Cab building, and for awhile adjacent to the Bike Surgeon, where the bus stopped across the street.

Most recently it hopped from 201 N. Washington (where Town Square Market is) to the Big Muddy Independent Media Center location.

And beginning April 30 -- and for a long, long time -- across the street from the BMIC at 215 N. Washington St. adjacent to "Urban Wear" boutique.

But the bus still stops in front of Amtrak, several blocks away, which has resulted in unwanted interactions between confused travelers and annoyed, but helpful, merchants.

The previous agent never bothered to file the necessary paperwork to move the bus stop, but doing so will help revitalize the Town Square district by bringing more people to the area. Greyhound passengers come from all walks of life, and from many distant towns. Often they will dine or shop at local stores if time permits.

Currently, Greyhound stops three times a day in Carbondale. Morning (10:40 a.m.) early evening, 8:55 p.m., and late evening 10:55 p.m.

Typically, each stop is 5-10 minutes.

Only two (possibly 3) parking spaces on the street would be temporarily occupied for no more than one-half hour total per day.
Special use permits require that a legal notice in the Southern Illinoisan (why not the Carbondale Times?) and expensive snail mail to properties within 250 feet. Plus the city filing fee.

The planning commission will consider this request on May 2. Two weeks later the City Council will vote on it on May 15. This is the same day the victors in tomorrow's election will be sworn-in.

Whoever is voted to Council will probably support this win-win-win proposal.

I could go on about the bus biz, but this is a good place to stop.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Reporter Report

It's no illusion, Bloggee. New Southern Illinoisan editor Gary Metro introduced himself the other day, telling us about past jobs, and search for a new home with his wife, Debbie:
"Newspaper people like to be near the office. You never know when news will break[,] and I wanted to be close to the folks I met in the newsroom during my exploratory visits.

We found just the right spot and I've been on the job for a few weeks, full time in the Carbondale office for the last week. . . . "

Putting 2 and 2 together, it sounds like Gary and Debbie may be living in a renovated section of SI building, itself! Last month, the publisher wrote "Once its second-phase renovation is completed in late September, the Southern Illinoisan will have 1.1 acres under roof. In all, the construction project over the past two years will total $7.1 million. . . . "

Along with the construction crew, Mr. Metro can be heard in action in the editorial board meeting asking Mayor Brad Cole and Councilwoman Sheila Simon questions like "how do you see Carbondale in 3, 5 and 10 years?"

Mr. Metro was joined by managing editor Karen Binder, niche publications editor Steve Binder, and reporter Caleb Hale. (Moderated by publisher Dennis DeRossett).

You can hear Gary's question and the entire interview on-line at The Southern. A 10 minute download, and a little over an hour to listen to. Recommended, if you haven't made up your mind. It demonstrates Brad's utter competence (again). Sheila had made a dig about Cole's big car, so "somebody" asked what model of car each of them drove. Their answers reveal in a nutshell the different styles of the two: Cole in command, Simon shucksin'. (hear the clip.)

Supposedly there's gonna be a "meet the new editor" party at The Southern. Or maybe they had it and I wasn't invited. I wonder if Gary will still be here in 3, 5, or 10 years. I wonder if he'll be editor of 'the Illusion' longer than Katie Couric is anchor of CBS Evening News. The Southern's had a lot of turnover lately. Reporter Andrea Hahn, the cops and courts reporter, has left The Southern on April 5 for a great job with SIUC. In the past eight months they have lost: Ralph Loos, James Bennett, Nicole Sack, Jason Lee, Marleen Shepard, Kristen Cates, Paul Klee, and Perry County reporter, Christi Mathis.

Caleb Hale is hanging tough. Asking tough questions in the editorial board interview.

Said publisher DeRossett "Construction is ongoing; periodically odd noises."

Like this blog.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Colbert Watch, Day 4

It seems like my persistence in trying to get comedy news pundit Stephen Colbert to weigh-in on the Carbondale mayoral race paid off -- although not how I expected.

On Wednesday night's show, Stephen gave a lukewarm endorsement to Mayor Brad Cole's opponent. Did you see it? The context was a subtextual message about the Simon on American Idol, but the message was clear and uncannily true: Simon would be nicer.

But despite this seeming setback, Cole has been cleaning-up in local newspaper support -- with yesterday's Southern Illinoisan endorsement and Chris Wissmann's surprising Nightlife editorial exposing his Council colleague's false claims about our Mayor. And a few weeks ago, The Murpysboro American endorsed Cole as well. I guess the DE is sticking with Sheila, since Pepper Holder is out of the running.

But now we can add Stephen Colbert's dubious endorsement to the Simon's column. That she'll, uh, be "nicer." But is that sufficient reason to make her Mayor? Not according to another pundit, Great Marmaduke's Ghost, who wrote weeks ago:
"People say Sheila Simon is 'nicer' than Brad Cole. So what? It is not the business of government to make people feel good about themselves. 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."
Stephen's Thursday show contained no comment or support for his friend Brad, today.

Hey Colbert! I spoke to Cole yesterday about issuing a Mayoral proclamation making Sheila Simon's birthday (whenever it is) "Stephen Colbert Day" but he just laughed. Maybe if you gave your friend Brad a little encouragement? A shout-out from on high, where the Eagle flies. (You have until Monday to rectify this situation. You're on notice.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Colbert Watch, Day 3

Waiting for Colbert, I downloaded the audio file of the candidates interview with the newspaper's editorial board. At 60 megs, took about ten minues.... Halle Berry is speaking with Jon Stewart on Colbert's lead-in, The Daily Show.

Okay, that character Colbert is bored with the presidential race, but is following the Great Turtle Race because one of the turtles is named after him. He's so vain, he probably thinks this blog's about him. But I think I'll start another blog for that.

While I'm at it, take the "New" out of Carbondaley Dispatch....Not much was accomplished by migrating the address from the original to where it is now. However, Bytelife is inching along and Bob, Scott, Jim and I are posting to it. Most of the others just chipped in once. It's hard to give much attention to more than one blog at a time, as I well know.

I think that Cole was wise to seek Colbert's support. Colbert showed the magic he worked in a review of the Saginaw Spirit, after it adopted Stephen Cobeagle the Eagle as its mascot. The character Colbert is an ego-maniac, who has an uncanny way of getting publicity: balls to the wall chutzpah. If it's true, as a commenter says, that the Mayor will be doing television advertising. He should use the photo in an ad on local Comedy Central, except I think the Colbert Nation owns the copyright. (I better check the Colbert Nation terms again)

Probably the only way for Cole to get on Colbert's show now, is for Brad to propose changing the name of the City to "Colbert" (town suffixes like -dale, -ton, -burg don't work with the French pronunciation of the name, so simply "Colbert, Illinois"). Crazy idea, maybe. But it really would call attention to the city in a positive way. (The name "Carbon"dale is lackluster). There already is a town called Colbert, Georgia, though I'm not sure if it is pronounced as French. I don't think so. Since this part of the world has a strong French influence (ask President Poshard), the French pronunciation is natural. We could add another Sister City in France.

Stephen's guest tonight is Vali Nasr the author of The Shia Revival. Great interview. I've never seen Stephen buckle before. He admitted that the war in Iraq was a mistake if it means he has to learn the difference between two branches of Islam.

How about you, Bloggee? Do you know the difference between Shia and Sunni? Stephen didn't, and doesn't want to.

Do you know the difference between Cole and Simon? Cole is like an overachieving brother; Sheila, a sensible mother.

Surprise! I think Colbert actually does weigh-in (albeit lightly) in "The Word" segment. Or is it coincidence? I captured a screenshot of the evidence.

I don't know who the Southern will endorse, but for Colbert's endorsement, Uncle Brad may have to up the ante -- at the very least, create a quick proclamation making Sheila Simon's birthday "Stephen Colbert Day."

p.s. to anonymous out-of-towner: re: deer hunting on campus.
in the old days someone like H.B. Koplowitz would make a funny cartoon on that theme. ;-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Colbert Watch, Day 2

Still no word from the great man, by whom I mean not our local great man, whose words are boundless, but that Comedy Central character Stephen Colbert, to whom I recently sent a photo of Mayor Brad Cole with him pointing at each other.

Tuesday's show featured more 'over the top' segments and between-the-lines commentaries by Colbert -- including a searing guitar solo by the Hungarian Ambassador to the U.S.

But no Cole.

Brad did get some ink in a local daily, though: two letters in the Southern Illinoisan in support of his candidacy for re-election. I like the first letter (by local business leader Trace Brown) better -- urging voters to put partisan politics aside, and vote for Cole:
Brad Cole puts in more than 60 hours a week as mayor for $9,000 per year, of which he donates a large portion to community charities. If we have someone willing to do this, while doing an outstanding job, then why we want to make the mayor position a part-time job again?
Brown is a partner in the company that built Houlihans and the Holiday Inn at Reed Station Road.

The other letter by local Hall of Famer Marvin Kleinau, former host of Scholastic Hi-Q on WSIU. Marvin argues, why fire a guy who's worked hard and done a great job.

Replacing Brad with Sheila would be like viewers voting Stephen Colbert off his show and replacing him with Tracey Ullman. (ouch).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Colbert Watch, Day 1

No email today from Stephen Colbert, or from the Colbert Nation webmaster. On his first day back on the job after vacation, he had the liberal editor Katrina VanDersomething of The Nation. Before her, in a pre-interview with someone called No Impact Man -- two liberals whom he treated well, so Sheila really had nothing to fear.

There are still five new shows before the election, so it's possible that Mayor Cole will make the show. Maybe I should go ahead and do an "unauthorized" photoshop of Sheila with Colbert. Something very proper. On a bicycle perhaps.

If you've never seen Colbert's show, check out his Comedy Central site.

Meanwhile Peter the Great questions on Sheila's latest campaign tactic: accusing Cole of traveling (and he doesn't even play basketball!) and I've tried to address the issue in the comments to Travelin' Man. (Conclusion: the charge doesn't deserve the mileage it's getting in the media.)

I've managed to put together a list of things Cole accomplished as a City Councilman, before he was Mayor! No need to compare. Comparisons are odious. But when you add these to his goals and accomplishments so far as Mayor, the list is quite impressive. He didn't wait for someone else to make things happen. If it seemed worth doing, he went for it -- and usually succeeded.

I understand that his opponent disagrees with some of the things he went for (although she may have voted for them at the time). It's all about style. Brad's a decision maker. He gathers information, then he acts. Next, I'll list things he got done as Mayor. And then a list of things he'd like to finish, or get started, including an intermodal transportation center.

Mayor rhymes with Colbert (Col-bear). Colbert begins with "C" . . . Maybe Cole could promise to put forward to City Council a plan to change Carbondale's name to "Colbertdale" . . . That way the "C's" on the baseball hats wouldn't have to be changed.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What else is new?

Easter is my favorite Christian holiday; Xma$ can't hold a candle to it, imo. Instead of ka-ching, it's all about renewal and the things of Spring. As a pre-teen, I'd walk the boardwalk in Atlantic City (before the Casinos) to stroll the pier with peers, wearing a suit from Robert Hall, which surprisingly is still in business, although I won't be wearing a suit to Bald Knob Cross today.

Town Square should have an old-fashioned "Easter Parade" at the Pavilion, closing-off traffic on Jackson and Washington Sts. Maybe not on Easter Sunday, but another suitable Spring day. It would be fun. Maybe the Square could be beautified in the meantime. The Pavilion is so plain. A piece of statuary or artisitic sculpture would be nice.

To help bring these ideas to the public, a small group of Town Square merchants is launching the Town Square Marketing Association, headquarted at 201 E. Main St., Suite 2B. The TSMA will work with the Historic Town Square Coalition and Carbondale Main Street to give the area more identity (like the "Arbor District"). Other ideas will be presented in the On the Square Online blog later this month.

What else is new? Did you know the author of Carbondale After Dark is coming to town later this month? I'll be out of town, unfortunately, but the other local media will be there, with interviews and photos, I hope. His visit is in connection with the republication of his "self-proclaimed cult classic" -- the book that inspired the title for my blook. Somewhere I have a copy of the first edition of the book, and some copies of his magazine Non Sequitur. I knew H.B. years ago. Not well; he didn't like me.

So what else is new? ;-)

The blog portal site has been plagued by RSS feed problems with Blogger. (Won't go into the details here, but will there.) But there is nothing new about encountering problems during a creative process. And often the solutions mean a new opportunity or challenge: one thing leads to the another.

What else is new? I recently met with Ruby Jung about publishing the collected essays of her husband, and my good friend, the late waterman and hill-traveller himself. We hope to have in print before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, I've decided to put all my creative eggs into one multi-media basket: a company called Creative Media, which touts the motto: "We've taken the creativity out of our name, and passed it on to you." ;-) -- with an office in the Bening (Newell House) building.

What will CM offer? Print publishing of books and art; Music and video production, too. Plus advertising, PR, and software consulting. An Open House and Going Away Party for one of the Art Lovers' artists is planned for next Friday night (April 13) from 6-9 p.m.

What else is new? The Jung at Heart Celebration for April 28 is shaping up with some big time performers. It seems ol' Uncle Jim knew some people, who knew some people. Details are being finalized by SIU Marketing maven Terry Clark.

After that, for me, the next big public event for me is Bike 2 Work Day in May, which both Mayor Brad Cole and Mayor-hopeful Sheila Simon have agreed to participate in, handing out trophies to those who ride farthest and the business that has the most riders. "From a bicycling standpoint, if Sheila's mayor, more people will participate, since she's the darling of the Carbondale Bicycle Club, but Brad made the decision to launch the event in the first place," said a steering committee spokes-man.

I love puns and neologisms. What else is new?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Travellin' Man

I wonder how many readers still have not decided who to vote for. Among the Bytelife bloggers, Peter's mind is made up in favor of Mayor Cole, for sure. But Jim Syler seems to be against him for using the flag in advertising. Last I heard, Bob Pauls was also undecided. Some may vote for Sheila because she had tea with them, and makes them feel their voice is heard. Cole isn't much a schmoozer, but does appear to enjoy traveling to distant lands on official business, such as going to Shimla, India to present a quilt and reestablish a dormant Sister City relationship. (Couldn't it have been Fed-Ex'd?) It appears that Cole got on the Sister Cities board as a result of his initiative. He also traveled to another Sister City in Japan, although I can not find an official press release for that trip. It might be interesting to post the entire list that Sheila waved accusingly to the debate audience last week, so readers can decide if Cole's travel itinerary was wasteful, or if the mayor was just doing his job.

I myself will be traveling to Oregon the day after the April 17 election - to investigate possibilities for grown-up bloggers in Corvallis. ;-) , and purchase art at the Portland Art Market for Art Lovers.

Must be back by April 28 to attend the Jung at Heart Celebration at Big Boys Q, organized by Prof. Terry Clark (Cayenne Boyd is flying in from Santa Cruz to perform) to raise $ to help pay for Jim's medical bills.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mayor seeks 'bump'; Councilwoman passes

Over in his busy 'biz' blog, local hero Peter the Great wonders, does it matter who wins the Mayor's race, but I don't have to wonder, I know what will happen if local heroine Sheila Simon is elected: playing it safe, going on 'worst case scenarios', and stalling progress.

I base my conclusion on her decision to decline the photo-op opportunity extended to her (and all Americans) by the nation's hottest pundit (a photoshop photo-op?). But Simon, whose father was a Democrate U.S. Senator from Illinois, is choosing to go the route recommended by Democrat U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel: stay away from Stephen Colbert.

As she explained by email:
"I think Brad and I would be in the same boat -- and on the edge, if I can mix metaphors! So many of the people and places that are on his show are really ridiculed. I don't think we can guarantee that either candidate or the town would come out ahead."
I pitched the idea to both Mayor Cole and Councilwoman Simon that being on the show would be good for our City, but Sheila doesn't 'get it'.

Everybody's talking about how Oooh, SIU needs more students . . . Oooh, the City needs to get its story out . . . Oooh, spend millions on advertising . . . .Well, what better way to get the word out that Carbondale is "a hip place to be on the square" than by having its two candidates for Mayor appear (via telephone) on America's hippest and smartest new television news program -- one that reaches millions of young and young-at-heart viewers with its trademarked brand of "truthiness."

I sprung the idea on Cole when I saw him at a local business, and to his credit (imo) he played along -- by posing for the quick snapshot you see here. He knew enough about The Colbert Report (Col-bear Rep-OR) to trust that both he and Carbondale would get a "Colbert Bump" by a minute or two with the man American loves to love.

Sheila would have benefited, too, but she passed.

Television News Commentator STEPHEN COLBERT, D.F.A. recently took time out at the end of his Comedy Central show to offer a photo opportunity to the viewing public -- an opportunity seized by Carbondale, Illinois, Mayor BRAD COLE, M.L.S, who thiinks that appearing with the influential pundit could boost his campaign for re-election against his opponent, the daughter of a famous Senator.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Grin and Colbert it

At the conclusion of last Thursday night's debate, Sheila Simon held up a folder containing evidence that Mayor Brad Cole requested $30,000 for travel reimbursement during his term of Mayor. It was no secret that Cole spent City money when he traveled to India and Japan, and probably Washington DC, and other places. I haven't seen Sheila's evidence, but right off I say, so what? What's wrong with the Mayor rekindling contact with the City's Sister Cities? Or traveling to DC to make contacts for money for a state of the art new police station?

Sheila waved the folder as evidence that Brad spends money 'like a teenager'. I wonder which travel expenses Sheila wouldn't allow. Without having all the facts, it seems that money spent traveling to distant lands is good for Carbondale in the 'spread the word' sense, putting it 'on the map'. Like being on Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report.

Mayor Cole agreed to strike a pose for the unusual photo op I told you about. To be fair, I personally contacted Councilman Simon about playing along. I hope to send both hers and Cole's photoshopped photos to Stephen for his consideration, asking him to weigh-in on the election, giving all of Carbondale the "Colbert Bump."

Last I heard, Sheila's thinking it over, probably discussing it with trusted advisers. I hope she isn't influenced by Rep. Rahm Emanuel's warning to freshman Democrats not to appear on Colbert's 'Better Know a District' series, because this situation is entirely different. A one-minute telephone conference call, I imagine with Cole and Simon on separate lines would do the trick.
Stephen will play it for laughs, of course. I think the travel or credenza issue would be good topics, or the thrifty mom vs. spendthrift son, but Colbert's research staff would decide how to frame it.

Having Carbondale featured on a show hosted by one of the most influential Americans in the U.S., who reaches millions of young viewers would be a good thing, 'priceless' even. If Sheila passes on the opportunity, I'll send in Cole's by itself. There is a chance that Stephen will ignore it, but I think it's worth a try -- for good ol' Carbondale.