( – promoted by Clark)
Earlier, I wrote a diary explaining why I am not a fan of current St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. This is how I started the post:
Below are some reasons why I think anyone who believes in the values expressed by the Democratic Party should not support the candidacy of Francis Slay for St. Louis Mayor. I think all of these reasons fit into a general theme: in every local issue of substance, Slay has sided with the rich and powerful over the working class and the disenfranchised. In my opinion, one of the most important things about the emergence of the netroots in recent years has been that it pushed us towards a more meritocratic system. That is, in the traditional system, the power brokers in the media and the political establishment decided what ideas could even be heard and discussed, and they were very bad at doing so (often because they had vested interests in certain ideas). The emergence of blogs allowed good ideas to get a wide audience simply because they were good ideas, and not because they had to get the approval of someone in power…
I don’t get the feeling that I convinced many people. The main argument against me (IMO) was not so much that Slay is a great mayor, but rather that there were no other candidates who seemed like they were better choices. I now present exhibit B, a column from St. Louis American political blogger “Political EYE”, which I think makes a pretty strong case that we should replace Slay with a different mayor, even if that other candidate is not everything we had always hoped for in a mayor. I’ll include some choice quotes below the fold, but you really need to read the entire post.
Obviously how much you make of the following will depend almost entirely on how trustworthy you think the source of information is. The St. Louis American definitely has a history of being critical of Slay, but I personally don’t think the EYE would go out on this much of a limb without having at least some goods. I note as well that the Arch City Chronicle followed up on this post without questioning the basic premise at all. In fact, Dave Drebes had his own question.
The Political Eye column starts the central theme with this:
The EYE knows that money and positions change hands illicitly and off the books in this town, by virtue of being inadvertently caught up in the cell phone equivalent of a back-room deal regarding an attempt to pay off Fire Chief Sherman George. But Mayor Francis G. Slay showed more savvy than Blago.
I’m not even sure what in the rest of the article to cite, since it really is a huge list of pretty specifc innuendo, ranging from the police department to the fire department to publicists and even to the IT department. Probably the most noteworthy is the EYE claiming to have been a part of some of the conversations in question:
Assuming everyone represented themselves truthfully in this deal n and it would have been foolish to bluff when the stakes were this high n a local developer had Slay’s go-ahead to make Sherman an offer. But even the developer was using an intermediary, a local activist who is no stranger to the deal table. This activist, unable to get a call back from Sherman over the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend (when Slay wanted to close the deal), called the EYE. The EYE then called Sherman, relayed his answers n always, “no” n back to the activist, who told the developer, who spoke to Slay or then Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford or both.
Like I said, you really need to read the whole article and judge for yourself. But I think a system like this is ultimately bad for any institution, whether we’re talking about the federal government or the City of St. Louis.