Friday, August 3, 2012

First Impressions from the Crystal Mayor's Debate

I attended the League of Women Voters debate for the Mayor of Crystal candidates last night.  The content was interesting enough to deserve a complete play-by-play, but until I get the time for that, here are a few quick impressions…

There are 3 candidates, incumbent Mayor ReNae Bowman, and challengers Jim Adams and Andrew Richter.

I had not met Bowman before last night. I met Adams a few nights ago at the New Hope Lions Corn Feed and we had a short and pleasant conversation. I met Richter a few months ago, shortly after moving here, and have talked with him extensively about his vision for Crystal.

Having not previously met the Mayor, I had the opportunity to form a first impression last night, and it was not a good one to say the least.  The Mayor came off as incredibly unprofessional, rolling her eyes and making faces while her opponents were speaking.

She was also on the attack.

Bowman opened with a bizarre statement, claiming that her opponents were going to try to “make the case that the sky is falling and evil lurks behind each corner”.  I think this speaks volumes about her perspective and her character.

For the record, Richter and Adams stuck to making the case for why they were best suited to be the Mayor.  Neither one made any “sky-is-falling” claims or implied anything evil was afoot.  Both challengers offered substantive, thought out perspectives on how they would approach the job.

The current Mayor chose to attack. It’s a common tactic, and one that she probably learned from watching her contemporaries in the Democrat party- If you can’t defend your record, just attack.

Bowman also chose to close with an attack, equally as bizarre.  This time she claimed that her opponents were not committed to the city because they didn’t show up at a recent budget meeting.  I’m sure that attack line sounded good when she was rehearsing it in the mirror (Bowman read her opening/closing statements from note cards) but in the context of this debate the criticism fell flat. 

The sitting Mayor is expected to be at city budget meetings.  That’s her job.  There’s not an equal expectation on the part of a challenger.  If the Mayor skipped the budget meeting, that’s news.  If the guy running for Mayor did something else that night, it’s really not.

Bottom line- Mayor Bowman failed at making the case for re-hiring her last night.  Both challengers did well, though I think Richter showed a better grasp of the issues, and would be a stronger advocate for the taxpayer.  More to come, including a look at Checks and Balances.