Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Overlooking my bias in this race, I also am a realist. It comes from being a Plaintiff's lawyer, where the rule is always assume and prepare for the worst, so that anything over that is gravy. During the debate with Willis, I thought it was about even for the first half of the debate, and then Wukela won the second half.
This debate was different. Rocky did not help himself at all. He refused to support getting the 18 new cops the Police department asked for over one year ago (instead talking about community policing and cameras). He refused to support the idea of an independent audit of city government (saying there were internal protections to look over the money. WTF? The whole problem is that the checks are internal and not external, Rocky). He refused to condemn the failure of Councilman Robinson to accurately account for funds (offering a lame answer that it was accommodations tax, so he could jump the conversation to tourism, then to the Civic Center, which hey...that was when I was mayor).
Time after time, Rocky failed to answer direct questions.
Wukela was the exact opposite. He answered questions directly and authoritatively. Not only did he provide his answers, but he also explained why Rocky's "solutions" did not make sense. (Not that he needed to. Rocky admitted later that "you aren't going to get all these programs" when asked how the economy would affect Florence. In other words, all the crap about cameras...just kidding!)
Perhaps most telling was the tax issue. Rocky pledged there would be no increase in taxes or service fees under a Pearce administration. If you want to know how stupid that is, look at the way Heath acted when he began that question (Kind of the "you're not really saying that's possible right?"). No one who is serious and wants to be credible can say that. Not during these economic times.
Wukela's answer was dead on: It's irresponsible to make that pledge. More importantly, Wukela pointed out no one can say what will need to be done revenue-wise, when we have no idea how the peoples' money is really being spent.
There will be voters who disagree with Wukela, but no one should be unsure of what his positions are. Tonight, voters saw one old politician who is willing to make promises he knows he can't keep and is offering Florence more of the same. They saw another young politician who is willing to tell voters what he really thinks and by that fact alone represents a change in our local politics.
If you're happy with the status quo, Rocky's your guy. If you want to see a real change in Florence, Vote Wukela.
(Click the post title to watch video of the debate)
at 11:56 PM