I have an idea question and I need your help. I believe we kossacks should determine who is the Worst Mayor in America in an effort to raise the profile of those who are up for re-election or recall and energize the efforts of the progressives / liberals to remove them from office.
The focus of the scoring is intended to be job performance aside from criminal behavior. The WMIA “contest” has to do with the competency or lack there of. Corrupt officials are subject to criminal prosecution and the Golden Dukes Award. Incompetent officials are the subject to blog posts and recall.
I have identified 5 categories. See the categories and my submission below the fold...
In each category I suggest we grade the mayors on a 10 point criteria ranging from:
1: meh, the world is filled with incompetent bureaucrats
10: what is the name of the recall campaign committee, I have my checkbook right here?
Here are the categories I am proposing:
1. Voting Record - 10 points
2. Conduct in Office -10 points
3. Character - 10 points
4. Face of the City -10 points
5. Likelihood to be Removed from Office - 10 points
To be eligible the mayor must be up for re-election or recall election in the upcoming election cycle. To be considered the submission should contain a summary of 200 words or less and scores for each category with a justification for the score of 200 words or less
To get the ball rolling here is the first candidate: my mayor Janice Daniels of Troy Michigan.
Summary: Janice Daniels
Janice Daniels is closely aligned with a group of extreme, anti-gay, religious-right conservatives who have been labeled the "Taliban of Oakland County" by a conservative Republican County Executive. In less than one year in office she has failed the people over and over again. At her swearing in ceremony she refused to swear an oath to support the Troy City Charter, the city’s governing document, later calling it a “whimsical document”; you know like the Constitution. She had described herself as an Independent during the campaign, but her extreme partisanship is made clear at her first meeting and front and center ever since.
After less than one month in office, it was revealed that the day after New York legislators voted to allow gay marriage in the state she posted on facebook, "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." Which set off a firestorm resulting in her being named, “The Worst Person in the World”, by Keith Olbermann, who confirmed that we have managed to elect the biggest moron in town”
1. Voting Record - 9
She voted down an $8.2 million federal investment from Stimulus Funds to build a multi modal train station (including bus and taxi / limo stand) due to ideological reasons calling it “Debt Money”, offering an alternative that the taxpayers of Troy pay for this infrastructure project on their own. She ignores pleas from Governor Snyder (R), the business community (including two dozen major employers and unanimous support of the Troy Chamber of Commerce Board who showed up and stood beside the Chamber President when she spoke that night), residents (hundreds of emails and numerous supporters during public comment); the entire Troy Planning Commission who see the role of the Transit Center’s role in the commission’s recently completed Master Plan; and media editorials, including support for the project from the very conservative Detroit News. She votes to kill a project ten years in the making with the argument that this will strike a blow against federal spending. The sad truth is the money would have instead been invested in another community and not impact federal spending at all. Negative media coverage and outcry follows. The council eventually approves a scaled down, inferior station sending money designated for Troy to other communities.
Her vote earned her an award for Outstanding Achievement in Dumb Local Politics Scandals and an award for 2011's Biggest Transportation Failure
2. Conduct in Office – 9
Three months into office she reads a 5-page paper slamming the City Manager and staff, resulting in a 22-minute tirade during the council meeting that is in violation of the meeting rules. It is full of factual errors and inaccuracies. She further attempts to shut down any response, another misstep in meeting protocol. A stunned City Manager notes he will be issuing corrections to the misinformation to council as well as the media, as this is damaging to him personally. The mayor’s words and pointed delivery create a hostile working environment. She attacks city personnel for the long established practice of opening mail addressed to the Mayor (unless marked personal or confidential), labeling the practice “reprehensible and unforgivable.” Many are stunned at her criticism noting that it underlines how uninformed she is about public office.
3. Character - 10
Janice Daniels dishonesty is practically legendary. Her primary support comes from a group that disingenuously put forward 3 library funding millage proposals none of which they actually supported. They had them put on the ballot as a campaign tactic against the one legitimate funding proposal put forward by the non-profit group dedicated to support the Troy Public Library. This group and now mayor Daniels successfully campaigned against the cumulative rate for all 4 proposals a clear distortion of the situation. It was only a third last ditch attempt that saved the library from closing. She also campaigned against this millage. Later she took credit for the library being open on Saturday thanks to the funding she campaigned against. To add insult to injury she actually voted against the resolution restoring Saturday library hours .
4. Face of the City - 10
Mayor Daniels has already been named Keith Olbermann’s worst person in the world. This was the result of a discovery that the day after New York legislators voted to allow gay marriage in their state she posted on facebook, "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." While the statement was made a few months before her election her handling of its emergence was dismissive and made matters worse. A local High School’s Gay Straight Alliance club, who organized a successful protest of the mayors intolerant attitude, later tried to meet with her and find common ground with the mayor around bullying and suicide prevention. The mayor then suggested to these high school students that being gay was akin to mental illness saying she would "bring in psychiatrists who will tell you that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous".
If that weren’t bad enough she recently supported Rick Santorum for President saying "if I had a key to the city, I would give one to you". She is a backer of a "traditional marriage policy" for the city (despite herself being divorced) and other right wing Social Engineering. She injects hot button social issues into a non partisan part time position. In short, she seems antithetical to everything I believe you and I to stand for.
5. Likelihood to be Removed from Office: 8
As measured by the willingness of people to sign the recall petition and also volunteer to gather petitions for the recall is high. Sadly she was swept into office by the backlash of a successful library millage on an anti-incumbent platform with turnout of around 30%. The recall election will be during the November general election. It is also be a yes or no question, as opposed to the recall election for Scott Walker in which voters had to choose between 2 candidates. Even some of her previous supporters have stated they are tired of having her be the face of our city. With your help we can help remove this stain of intolerance, ignorance and incompetence and begin to repair our reputation as “the City of Tomorrow, Today”
Total score: 46 out of 50. Can you identify someone worse? Please try.
I invite kos or an other front page editor who wants to either re-score my submission and or be the final judge for this dubious distinction. If this is a good idea we can provide a bit more time for people to prepare their submissions. I would love to see this as an annual pre-election event to identify the most ignorant and bigoted local politicians and focus some netroots power on their removal.
Thanks for your consideration. In full disclosure the recall campaign of which I am a small part of, is organizing a money bomb for Thursday after her first state of the city address, which is sure to be a doozy.
huge h/t to the folks at Keep Troy Strong for helping make this post possible