Well although tonight is the last Presidential debate, I won’t pay much attention. This one is over except for the huffing and puffing of the talking heads, the excuses of the consultants, and the dearly needed change in this country. Even Tina Fey has had enough, vowing to go to outer space if Palin wins.
But there is one Presidential event worthy of comment that occurred 96 years ago yesterday: Teddy Roosevelt was shot.
While on the way to deliver a campaign speech, a saloon keeper ( I thought they were the only guys we could trust) shot Teddy square in the chest. Only a glass case and some newspapers turned the potentially fatal blast away. (Lucky he wasn’t carrying today’s sadly slim Mercury-News or he’d be dead.) He not only refused medical treatment for the wound, but he delivered a speech that lasted over an hour. Now I would have loved to hear that one.
So let’s turn to our Bay Area Mayors. I had a chance to see all of them in action a few weeks ago at the Silicon Valley Leadership Forum at Santa Clara University, and have been watching them the last few weeks closely. Compare them to one another and the verdict is simple. For these times and these conditions, San Jose clearly comes out ahead with the calm, reassuring leadership of Chuck Reed.
He is a friend of mine, so I’m biased. Nevertheless, he is the proper mayor for the proper time. Looking to the East Bay, the clumsy and disturbing leadership of Ron Dellums proves once again that Congress is a very bad training ground for big city mayors. Dellums is unable to deal with the savage and unwieldy problems of an Oakland with its economic stagnation and high crime. Being Mayor is not about the beanball.
To our North in San Francisco, the promising beginnings of Gavin Newsom’s time in office are starting to fray badly. His paroling of illegal alien offenders is one problem, and—although he surely can’t be blamed for excitement in the “Howard Dean” moment that we are seeing regularly on the Prop 8 adds on television—“Whether you like it or not” is a gift from heaven for those that wish to preserve the Supreme Court decision on “Same Sex Marriage.” He should have known better than to go wild when dispassion was the order of the day.
Combine that with Newsom’s officiating at the same-sex wedding of a teacher last week, where her First Grade Class was there to greet her on the steps of City Hall, and you want to scratch your head at the denseness or hubris of such an inciting incident. I like Gavin; his father is a old friend of mine, but what was Mayor Newsom thinking!
When we look around the region, the low-key, calming influence as well as the demand for fiscal austerity in the tenure of Mayor Chuck Reed is just what the doctor ordered—and Joe Sixpack too—and I think even those who opposed him in the election can clearly see that now.