A view of leadership on our candidates
Citizens of Baldwin After a very long absence from the public eye I feel strongly about this election and decided it was important to share a unique view of two of the candidates for Mayor. I support Ken Wagner for a number of reasons. The most important one is that he is the most qualified and decisive candidate for the office of Mayor. The mayor of a city has to be a leader. This is especially true in a city where the Mayor serves a four year term and has responsibilities that are more ingrained with the day to day operations of a city. Unlike Lawrence the mayor serves a one year term and the position rotates among the council. This means that the Mayor in our situation ends up being more of a CEO than a voting member of a council that happens to hold the office of mayor for one year. This person has to be hands on and show leadership. If the mayor takes a hands off approach to the job then metaphorically speaking the ship has no rudder or sense of direction and as a city we flounder. People of Baldwin we are floundering and have been for the past 4 years. This is not to say that good things have not been accomplished over the past four years. But a mayors job as I see it is to lay out a road map of where our city is going, and then set it in motion. We don’t have a map or sense of direction.
The unique view that I mentioned about two of the candidates for mayor before comes from serving with Ken and George on the City Council. In the first 20 months before George’s early exit from the council, we dealt with some very large, complicated, unpopular and potentially explosive issues. These issues dealt with police issues, lack of power in the city, failing water towers, crumbling infrastructure, and two bridges in need of replacement. We had in those 20 months a huge amount of meetings both public and in executive session dealing with all these issues. The unique view I speak of comes from seeing these two perform under stress. And one stands head and shoulders above the other. And the taller one by far is Ken Wagner. Ken dealt with the stress of the situation. He did not waiver in his convictions of what was right and what was wrong. He did not pander to either side in a situation but took his position seriously and made clear, well considered decisions. All of the cliché phrases come to mind of character, honor, sense of duty, and focus when I recall how these two dealt with a variety of situations. And again Ken finishes well ahead in all of these categories. To put it bluntly Ken was more concerned about doing what was right for the people of Baldwin, and not his personal popularity. Ken is in every sense of the word a tested leader and when situations got difficult he proved it time and again. There is an old phrase about a person and how they deal with adversity. It goes something like “when the steel starts to fly some people lean into it, brave it, refuse to quit. And others melt, and duck for cover.” Ken didn’t seek cover, he stood out there with his fellow council members and braved it out. Popular or unpopular, right or wrong, he did not fail the people of Baldwin whether they voted for him or not.
Now I can hear the sharp knives of the speakout folks being ground to a razor like edge on my comments. I felt it was necessary to share my observations on the concept of leadership that these two have displayed over the past 8 years both public and private in this city. I have read the accusations leveled at the one candidate and then the counter allegations pointed back at the other. Although sad to see it is a reality of the political process. I am not going to get into those accusations or slinging of mud. I will say though that with one candidate in particular that with a lot of the accusations, where you see smoke, you will find fire. If anyone wants to discuss these issues in person or via phone, I am in the phone book and clearly listed address I will be more than happy to discuss them one on one. I don’t think it is appropriate to do so in this venue.
Whichever candidate you support please don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. It is just as important to participate in the process as it is to have an opinion.