Monday, September 12, 2005

Rochester Mayoral Race Will End the Moment it Begins

The City paper has a crib sheet here for the Democratic primary for mayor tomorrow. The City paper write up is a little too simple for my tastes and falls into a "Quality A is bad for this reason, but good for this reason" kind of rhythm, but it does raise a few points worth some discussion. First and foremost, I think they have Councilman Norwood pegged down well. I have no personal issues with Norwood and I think he has served honorably. I hope he continues to seek office regardless of the outcome tomorrow. However, I cannot find support for him as Mayor. The truth is that I find his career-long association with Assemblyman Gantt problematic. Things that I've heard about Gantt have always made me question whether he operates with his constituents' interests at heart. I don't know. But the recent dust-up between Mayor Johnson and him when finalizing the city budget gave me little reason to change my mind.

I don't know if I have the right to make any kind of endorsement for Mayor. I doubt it matters. If I could choose one person to run the show at City Hall for the next four years, I would have to choose the man that is there right now without giving any pause for consideration. Mayor Johnson has faced some difficult times, made tough decisions, and weathered some sharp criticism. Good leaders often face that. Under Johnson's stewardship, Rochester has seen some significant changes to its economic climate as well as its demographic make-up. Understanding the challenges that the future will bring, Mayor Johnson worked to develop a plan for the future with the 2010 Plan, create in-roads to area businesses by working with the Rump Group, and create a more hospitable political climate by partnering with County Executive Brooks. He has been a capable and accountable Mayor. Rochester was lucky to have him.

Now, as surely as Johnson will leave office, the winner of tomorrow's Democratic primary will win the November election for Mayor. None of the candidates appear to be able to fill Mayor Johnson's shoes, but one must be hopeful that what we don't know about these men, may surprise us.

It is my hope that Bob Duffy wins tomorrow's primary election. His executive experience, his ability to speak out, and his willingness to reach across all aspects of a community make him the most suitable candidate for the office.