|Vice Mayor Trinkle (center) and Lea (left) at press conference recently.|
Trinkle's loss surprised many of us, but my most significant surprise was not his loss (African-American Lea is a church-going leader in a heavily black section of town and he mobilized the church buses for the voting), but that a large number of people really don't like David. At all. They question his competence and his honesty. They say things about him that I won't repeat here.
One woman accused him of indirectly causing the death of her mother. He is a psychiatrist and medication had something to do with the death. I have heard other complaints about him as a physician. As a businessman, I've heard questions about his honesty and his treatment of employees. One person wrote to me, "I've heard it across the spectrum, both about him as a business owner and as a doctor."
"I honestly think a good portion of why David didn't win is because he has a horrible reputation outside of 'rich, white, South Roanoke,'" wrote a South Roanoker. "I have heard horror stories about him for years from all kinds of people. I think his reputation caught up with him this time."
Frankly, I have heard--and generally ignored--whispers about David, a man who has always been cordial to me, though we had significant political differences. I have, upon occasion, blistered his council decisions. I like his wife Anne, a lot. She is a major player in Roanoke art.
This election exposed David's weakness for the first time. In the past, he has been the best accumulator of votes on council (which is why he is vice mayor). But this weekend, he ran into bitter cold, which suppressed segments of the large turnout; a well organized opponent with buses and vans at his disposal (easy in/easy out for the voters); and the questions that have haunted him for some time. I suspect his support was soft at best, and with Lea's appeal to an enthusiastic black base, his 164-vote loss was probably closer than it could have been.
Although I suspect Leah to be a memorably bad mayor, I'm wondering if David has a political future at all in Roanoke. I think a lot of people are.
One internet message to me said, "I'm sure David could have been more competent [as mayor than Lea] but I couldn't vote for him knowing his level of disregard for the 'little people.' And it bit him in the ass."
'Course all this speculation and rumor could go straight to the toilet if David runs as an Independent and wins--which he well could (there won't be much snow or cold in May). And that's the rumor, since rumor is the coin of the realm of this post.