Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Time for Mayor David Bowers to Shut Up

David Bowers: Still talking
When Meridium CEO Bonz Hart handed Roanoke Mayor David Bowers the microphone for a few short remarks at Meridium's building dedication yesterday, one of Roanoke's most prominent and respected business leaders leaned toward me and said, just above a whisper, "I hope Bonz doesn't think he's getting that microphone back. David doesn't know when to shut up."

And off he went, right on cue, making the dedication about him, introducing minor political figures, talking about ... well, I have no recollection. My guess is that nobody else does, either. Eyes rolled. People sighed and fidgeted.

This has become a problem. It is happening with increasing frequency. A few months ago, at an Arts Council function, David was to have done a short introduction and it turned into a 30-minute speech about him and his peeps. The embarrassment in the room was palpable. I've seen it over and over in recent months and people generally joke about it.

There was a time when David Bowers represented Roanoke well at events like this. There are those who argue that it's the only thing he did well, but he was good at it. That time is no more because David doesn't know how much is enough. It's not just the unwanted speeches, either. I was told by someone who knows that David pretty much took over the tours of the building after his speech and that officials were getting complaints from the employees who were conducting the tours. They wanted him gone. He was a problem.

Ego, obviously, is playing a role in this and David has a tendency to talk too much anyway, so together, they give him the air of the buffoon who just can't stop talking.

David would have done well to have watched City Manager Chris Morrill, who had a simple, short message about Meridium--and not about politics and himself--and who delivered it with grace. He gave the celebration back to the people it was about. That's the way it's done.


  1. Some could say the same about you, Dan. At least our mayor doesn't publicly make fun of people for their weight, knowingly steal photos without crediting the source or marginalize and inappropriately sexualize women under the guise of equality.

    He might ramble, but you just spew garbage.

  2. Erica:
    You have the clear option of not reading this if it is so offensive to you. You can unsubscribe, unfriend, unwhatever. Go elsewhere and enjoy the view. Those in the tent yesterday were pretty much captured by David and his microphone.

  3. Oh, Erica, you forgot to mention the thing about kicking babies, starving dogs and opposing public funding for public radio and TV.

  4. Sounds like David is Michael Scott. The problem is, once your ego turns you into a caricature of yourself, real leadership is nearly impossible.