Thursday, April 23, 2009

David Bowers and His Rightful Place

According to a story by Mason Adams* in this a.m.'s Roanoke Times, there seems to be a good bit of startled consternation among members of Roanoke City Council about the behavior of Mayor David Bowers (left) in light of his reduced "perks" and opposition he faces on some issues. To quote a Republican pal o' mine: Well, duh!

David is a lot of things, but peacemaker is not one of them. He can find a fight in the middle of a love-in, whether it's with surrounding localities, citizens or members of council and city government. He's no kum-ba-ya champ. David's great at ceremony, lousy at government. Always has been. Always will be. Anybody who's lived in Roanoke for 25 years could have told you that.

Now David's saying city council--because it began removing things like local mileage reimbursement, speech writers (my old pal John Montgomery used to write David's) and membership in a national conference of mayors (at more than $5,000 a year) two administrations back--has it in for him. It's always about David, even when it's not.

Most recently, because of some pretty dire budget predictions, council took David's secretary away and the howl went up. She screamed, he cried. He says he can't do the job the way he wants to without her. Fact is, David, I can't do mine quite like I'd like without a secretary, either, but fianancial reality intrudes on my convenience and, goodness-gracious, I have to adjust.

David is, in my experience, the best mayor we've ever had when it comes to cutting a ribbon, opening a bakery, welcoming a visiting dignitary, handing out a key to the city, giving a provincial pep talk or riding in a parade. He ought to stick to that, run the meetings and be happy he's where he wants to be.

(*On another note, Mason Adams is one of the best reporters at The Roanoke Times and has been for a while. Given recent history, I don't know that is a good thing for him.)

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