Thursday, November 01, 2007

Event: Last Plug Post for Walling v. Williamson.

So here it is... I found out why the Uncommon Sense has been unavailable lately.

More importantly, here is a page with all Flint Journal coverage of the race. It includes footage of several ads and profiles of the candidates, as well as many months of coverage.

In sum, Walling is a qualified candidate; any inexperience he may have is trumped by the diversity and range of experiences he has had. But most importantly, it is his style leadership that sets him above Don Williamson. Dayne has worked in many capacities in which the viability of government is tied to creative and collective initiative. In fact, one of the best summations of this tactic, one essential to Flint, is the Flint Journal endorsement, published this morning:

Walling would lead Flint to a bright future:

As Flint's mayor, Don Williamson operates as a one-man band. Dayne Walling would conduct an orchestra.

If re-elected Tuesday for four more years, Williamson would continue as he has, leading a fragile island contentiously, accepting help grudgingly. Walling, on the other hand, would build a mountain of opportunity with an army of allies.

If this were the 1950s or 1960s, the more-than-adequate record Williamson has compiled on basic services would merit re-election. Even now, in challenging and changing times, Williamson would receive our endorsement if he were running against someone less promising.

Fortunately, Flint voters aren't faced with this choice. In Walling, they have a candidate with the intelligence, vision, and, most valuable, the personal skills to become a true leader if given a chance.

Flint must provide him this opportunity, for the city's, and indeed the entire region's, prospects in the globally competitive 21st century very likely depend on this outcome.

We don't make this assessment casually. While government performance is always important to a community's success, it never has been more crucial to the Flint area's well-being than now because of our insecure situation.

And Flint's mayor is key. He must be the maestro, the creative team-builder who makes everyone perform better.

The right person in such a role can inspire stunning achievement, as exemplified by former Lansing Mayor David Hollister, who turned a city on a downward track into an object of admiration. Flint needs a mayor of this caliber.

Yet Williamson deserves credit. He's paved hundreds of lane miles of streets, made the city cleaner, replaced scores of city vehicles, and, most importantly, kept the books in the black after a state-ordered city takeover ended eight months into his term.

However, most of the deficit prompting the receivership was eliminated before Williamson took power. Recall, too, how he shamefully clashed with a state-appointed manager responsible for much of the recovery because the mayor wasn't yet in charge.

It's that my-way-or-the-highway attitude, which Williamson has exhibited throughout his term, that makes nearly every progressive step a precarious journey.

Credible organizations and individuals with the best of intentions worry constantly that the mayor might erect a roadblock. In fact, much of the redevelopment downtown and accomplishments in various economic and neighborhood initiatives occurred because talented people maneuvered around the city administration, or had its late participation.

Residents might accept Williamson's wars with the City Council, but there's no excuse for holding up projects because of orneriness or professional mediocrity, which describes a good many of the people the mayor has brought to City Hall, often for political reasons.

Such personnel practices may not get noticed because of Williamson's visibly good job with the city's housekeeping, compared to the past. But he doesn't have the skilled staff for Flint to reel in the partnerships and resources essential for prosperity.

Williamson, 73, isn't good at building coalitions because he doesn't have much faith in people. "Greed, animosity and jealousy" are key human motivations he volunteered to The Journal's Editorial Board.

Walling's outlook is refreshingly different. He believes that the "better angels" in people can be inspired to follow a quality leader with a well-conceived program.

Walling's campaign reflects this philosophy: His idealism and character have attracted a diverse body of supporters impressed by his practical plans for Flint's physical, economic and social renewal -- spearheaded by a high-quality city government.

Equally important, they have to admire his down-to-earth way of dealing with people from all walks of life. Walling, 33, would attract powerful players to Flint's cause, not shove them away. The Rhodes Scholarship he won alone would open doors.

Walling's service with Washington, D.C.'s mayor, his agency experience in Minneapolis and a stint at the nationally acclaimed Genesee County Land Bank provide examples of good governance to follow.

Most of all, though, he would lead Flint in a way with which it is not familiar, but would grow fond of. He would pave a road to a future many doubt possible. Voters on Tuesday should put their faith in Dayne Walling by making him their next mayor.

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