And in this corner, wearing a suit and tie …

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Well actually there are seven wearing suits but Linda Johnson never wears a tie, even though she also may be squaring off to become the next mayor of our fair city.

July is that time of year for behind the scenes maneuvering, forming the coalition that will produce a leader, center chair on the dais, the one where the gavel is located. It’s a game City Council plays, and it’s a bit complicated. Seldom does a council member say flat out they want the top job … it sort of rises to the surface like cream did before the invention of homogenized milk.

Each remaining member might have the necessary insight to calculate who wants the job; often, potentials drop hints they are available. And, when one really wants to put those shoes on, they very subtly let it be known … hoping someone will pick up on it and agree it would be a wise choice.


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It really is a mysterious process and always takes place behind closed doors like a bookie joint. They may use a dartboard. But how many, including the new kids on the block are capable of grabbing the reins?

Our current mayor, Bobby Ralph, proved he knew how to run a meeting, except when eager members offered amendments to amendments … then it got kind of tangled.

I’d guess Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett would be happy to keep that position. Joe Barlow is just too thoughtful.

I believe the new boys will intimidate Johnson, who probably doesn’t want to be Suffolk’s first lady and would settle for vice.

Curtis Milteer has been there, done that, and likes playing the fullback slot. He waits until the rest get muddled in conversation and then grabs the ball.

I’m afraid the meetings would never end if Councilman Charles Brown attempted Ralph’s summing up procedure that Bobby does so well.

That leaves the two new kids on the block.

Here’s my suggestion: Charles Parr swept the mayor out of his chair and off the Council. That was no small undertaking; most thought Ralph had a permanent career.

Mr. Parr had a lot to say about changing the management style of Suffolk, city spending, and the tax rate. He is fresh from campaigning, knows the ropes, and is articulate. Why not hand him the gavel and watch him take on the city manager?

Jeff Gardy will back him up as they think very much alike. Council needs a new face, and that, folks, would do it.

With only a few exceptional moments, the previous council members, for some years, have failed to rein in city spending.

There was no stiff fight against the too expensive &uot;Cultural Center,&uot; or a $430,000 budget for tourism, or more than a million dollars restoring the old courthouse to house the tourist bureau. That list goes on.

Last year, in the face of tsunami taxes, Council settled for the tax cut amount that postage stamps rose. This week, they gave up trimming the budget and &uot;told&uot; City Manager R. Steven Herbert to make it 12 cents, or else.

Council needs a facelift, and the two new boys can supply it. Both Messrs. Parr and Gardy say they just want to be councilmen for a term or two. Nonsense, we need a shot in he arm.

That’s my opinion, what’s yours? No bleeding heart excuses about how it would not be fair to previous council members; they had their day and their chance.

Do you prefer one of the old faces, and if so, which one? Write a letter to the paper; get involved. If you can get on the net, send your opinion to the Editor’s Blog, something you should be reading every day.

And no crying about election results; blame registered non-voters. If you failed to vote, you can still exert your influence.

Don’t just sit on your hands, do something, like those organized folks who lined up at the budget meeting favoring more taxes.