Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Future of The City of Elyria

I live in Elyria and have lived here since 1990. I had a great opportunity today to see in person, a mayoral debate against the incumbent Mayor Bill Grace and hopeful Holly Brinda.

I'm familiar with debates and have watched many over the years. I was so disappointed in Mrs. Brinda. During the debate, she rolled her eyes and made faces every time Mr. Grace spoke. This to me is such a lack of respect for Mayor Grace's position and record. I was reminded of high school debates with the eye rolling and total lack of respect for her fellow running mate; it lacked decorum and professionalism. One of the basic lessons in sportsmanship is to respect our opponent. Will she roll her eyes when dealing with important people who may impact Elyria going forward? Her poor sportsmanship is a huge red flag that voters need to see and understand.

As a taxpayer in Elyria, I have no complaint with Bill Grace. He's a good man and a strong leader. Without a doubt he loves Elyria. He has been all about creating relationships. He's great at working with developers and business leaders. He's a diplomat with a knack for getting people to buy into Elyria as a City. He has strongly impacted economic and business development in Elyria, this cannot be challenged!

Here's what I don't like about Mrs. Brinda. First of all dirty politics; she finds a semantic twist and makes it sound like an issue. Anything can be spun to support her deriding comments and attack of him.
I sought out the debate on WOEL. I had heard the debate was quite heated.

What I learned was that Mrs. Brinda is angry that the Mayor tried to take steps to control the school system similar to what Cleveland and Columbus had to do because it was in such bad shape. Elyria High School is the number one worst building in the state of Ohio. She took it personal and has turned the tables and gone after his job rather than doing her job as a school board member.

I'll add a note of interest, on her website I found no notation of her high position with Elyria City Schools. She just notes she was director of community development and community services. To date this is her most prominent position in Elyria yet she barely mentions it. I learned about her position from the debates. Ask yourself why Mrs. Brinda doesn't want to talk about Elyria City Schools? Having one of the most influential roles why wouldn't this experience be the bases for her campaign? I'll give you a hint; failure. If she was a failure on the school board she will assuredly be a failure as Mayor.

Here's what voters need to understand. Change does not happen overnight. Growth and progress is like sales; its takes a heck of a lot of finessing and relationship building to see progress. I like what Bill Grace has started. He's a great salesman for Elyria. I would like to see his administration finish what they started.

The City of Elyria needs more than a failed school board member to lead our city. If she couldn't get it done in the school system how the hell is she going to run our city?

Diplomacy; let's talk about that. It's obvious she has an issue with diplomacy and working with people. Her lack of respect for the Mayor and her run to the newspaper after discussing something private with the Mayor tells me she doesn't know the rules of the game. Mayor Grace said it best. When you speak informally with developers and community leaders what is said in private must stay private to protect the best interest of the city. Plans can get messed up when planning gets shared. Their discussion was mainly ideas and a conversation to find common ground. Going to the newspaper over a casual conversation tells me she's not a person to be trusted. If he had done something wrong; go to it, take it to the press, but she was pissed that she was being called on the carpet for her failure on the school board. She created a situation where he now has to answer for a brainstorming session as if it were a legal matter or initiative. Is this the person you want running our city?

I can see it now. She starts plowing in head first like a bulldog and no developer or community leader wants to deal with her. They want to invest in Elyria but they have to worry that everyone will know their plans before they are actually decided. Mrs. Brinda will talk about sensitive matters to opposing parties. City government is like leading an orchestra of powerful people. Everyone plays a part and everyone has to work together. It's calculated moves and building trust; if they can't trust her; a vote for her is wasted. It's a step back for Elyria.

It's impossible to please everyone. The entire country is experiencing difficult times and hardships. Our city cannot fair better by a certain percentage than the entire country does; it's an impossibility. We have to work with the current economic condition of the country. Blaming Mayor Grace for what is a more global problem is dirty politics. Sure the citizens of Elyria are experiencing the pinch of our current presidential administration and they may falsely feel the need to hop on board but it's a bait and switch by Mrs. Brinda. Unless she is running for President of the United States I find her hard pressed to change the issues she's bringing up against the Mayor.

Let's take the Route 57 project; the projected date for funding is well into the future something like 2015. Its projected start is this fall. Mrs. Brinda is bashing our Mayor on him just discussing it; as if he's only allowed to talk about projects that have funding secured. This tells me how little she knows about city government. The fact that this project has to wait until 2015 tells everyone that progress takes time. But the point that is totally missed by her is that he's working diligently on a project that will change the landscape of Elyria. And more importantly it's a long range plan. For anyone to see this as a negative is just a matter of people with too much time looking for something to complain about.

In my opinion she doesn't get it. She's a bulldog and because she is calling our current Mayor out on non-issues, people see her as a strong leader. The mark of a good leader is not a good fighter but a good negotiator. The mark of a good politician is not trashing an opponent but speaking of their own virtues.
This is simply put a failed school board member who is out for revenge. She can't get it done for our schools and is angry our current Mayor has made it clear the school system is more important than she is. He's not going to let our education system fail because she has a lot of time in but hasn't been able to produce results. He's running the city like a business not a charity organization.

I say as an informed voter we can't risk her pervious failures, her lack of diplomacy or her anger and revenge. This involves a city not her loss of homecoming queen. She needs to get over her failure on the school board and move on…

What We Choose to Ignore