They Think They Can Fool You
Based on long experience, they believe that no matter how decrepit the city becomes, the populace will always blame the mayor, whoever that mayor may be.
The Gang of Four has an agenda designed to protect their patrons - those contributors and former power brokers who like things just fine the way they are. In fact, unlike the progressive factions in this town, it is those minor league mafioso who would like to actually drive out responsible homeowners by harassment and by generally allowing conditions in the city to continue to deteriorate.
You see, just like the progressives who want to see this city realize its potential, the Gang of Four's sponsors already do realize the potential. Depressing property values now is a means to normalize anti-social and even criminal activity. It also makes land cheap. CM Price has already become a mini-mogul of rental properties - cash cows, in fact, given the exploitation that goes on in this rental market.
That's why they oppose a well-managed sanitation operation. That's why they oppose a vigorous ordinance enforcement regime. That's why they ensure that the building commissioner's office remains the puppet of developers. That's why they simply bypass the building permit process. That's why they undertake public works projects without the proper authorizations. That's why they (and their wives, in some cases) seek to dazzle the gullible (that would be anyone who can't read a green-bar budget report) with manufactured numbers. And that's why you'll never hear one of the Gang of Four admit a mistake.
We will see if they are right. The spotlight is always on the executive. The Gannett paper's style is to take dictation from the Gang of Four, with James Garner always on the hot seat. In the past, such tactics have created a general sense of dissatisfaction that results in the ejection of whoever occupies the mayor's seat.
The Gang of Four believes that will continue. Believing that, they will continue to obfuscate and obstruct, relying on the public to believe their protestations and boasts that they aren't the problem - it's the mayor!
But as 2005 begins to wind down, they are worried. Instead of a general sense of dissatisfaction, they recognize that New Albany is awakening to a specific sense of dissatisfaction. Every day they continue their assault on the administrative branch, the mayor gains new admirers.
An acquaintance of long standing who was no fan of James Garner told me earlier this week of her outrage at the dilatory tactics of the Gang of Four, saying "By God, Garner's the only one down there who knows what he's doing."
It's probably too late for the Gang to retract their heads into their shells. Their performance during these first 21 months has awakened a city that ordinarily doesn't pay attention until a couple of days before the elections. The city is watching, and learning who is competent and capable and who is a self-serving demagogue.