Resurrected by James from 2007, in honor of Thomas Stith's new gig working for Governor Pope.
If you haven't read about Thomas Stith, you should. He has long been
the token black guy a star in Jack Hawke's Civitas Circus, which itself is an appendage to the Art Pope Puppetshow. He's running for mayor of Durham. Since I live only a mile from the Bull City, I was inspired to read more about Mr. Stith by this post from Barry Ragan. When I got to Stith's website, I found this welcoming letter:
I also realize that we can do better. Durham is a city that continues to struggle with the horror of violent crime and gang activity. We are literally losing our children.
Sounds good, right? After all, the horror of violent crime and gang activity really is a problem and we should be doing everything possible to stop it. So imagine my surprise to find a slightly different interpretation of Stith's voting record in yesterday's Durham Herald:
Stith's campaign slogan from the '90s -- "People Before Politics" -- is a good example. I guess he couldn't keep using that one with a straight face, given his votes against budgets that favored after-school funding for kids at-risk of joining gangs.
I'm sure Tom Stith has a very good response to this criticism, but as I looked through his discussion of issues, I couldn't seem to find it. All he talks about is making government more efficient in Durham, which is the secret Puppetshow code for cutting costs, cutting staff, and cutting programs. For example:
We cannot continue to waste and mismanage millions of dollars and then raise taxes to pay the bill. We must pursue a strategy that includes independent performance audits of city departments along with a comprehensive organizational assessment to address the chronic operational problems we face in the operation of city government services.
Sorry, Tom. But if you can't write more clearly than that, you have no business trying to improve anything. What's the matter? Are you afraid to say what you really mean - or do you even know?
And then there's this double-talk about infrastructure. Where are you going to get the money to do this if you're all about cutting stuff?
The necessity to get ahead of street, drainage, and sewer development and maintenance is vital for a growing city. We can only grow if we have the ability to sustain our fundamental services. We must provide the necessary infrastructure to support our desired economic growth. Infrastructure includes transportation (roads, easing of congestion, connectivity), utilities (water, wastewater/sewer, electricity), and parks. Through the improvement of our infrastructure, economic growth will follow and enable the lowering of homeowner taxes which leads to affordable housing, support public safety needs, city staff and services, and help support infrastructure needs.
It looks to me like the would be mayor of Durham is just another government-hating hypocrite who doesn't have a clue about what it really takes to build a safe and sustainable community. From what I can see, he's staying true to his Puppetshow roots: he's against planning, he's against zoning, and he's against taxes.
Durham has plenty of problems, there's no question about that. Unfortunately, Thomas Stith appears to be one of them.
(Updated to reflect Token's comments below.)