Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2000

Taking time to assess damage

June 15, 2000

From the world of half-truths, rumors and innuendo, two-bit opinions (or best offer) about what might go down as one of the most turbulent months in the recent history of Eudora politics.

What do I know?
Heck, I've been in town for nearly four months, which admittedly isn't enough time to put things in proper perspective or to draw many sweeping conclusions, but it doesn't take a lifelong Eudoran to survey and assess the wreckage of the last month.

The Big Winner
Tom Pyle. On the surface, it looks like Pyle took a big chance by going public and blowing the whistle for some alleged shoddy behavior by his colleagues during executive session.

In actuality, there was no risk factor at all.

Pyle is one of the most popular men in town. He is an elder statesman. What he says goes a long way in this community.

The longtime city councilman had to know he would gain the support of the community against virtually anyone especially someone who has just finished his first year of public office in town.

Pyle righted the wrongful ouster of Bill Harlow and came out of it looking pretty good. It was a no-lose situation that he handled with all the savvy and charm of a man in his position.

The Big Losers(tie)
Dan Gregg. I like Dan Gregg and believe he is good for this city because of his no-nonsense brand of politics.

Unfortunately, Gregg's campaign for a seat on the Douglas County Commission might be off the proverbial wrong foot. That "idiot" comment was probably not the wisest way to open a campaign.

I have to wonder why a man who just finished the first year of his first term on the city council is already looking to move on to the county commission?

Fred Stewart. Even if the mayor endorsed Harlow's ouster, if he could have kept quiet on the subject, he could have come out of this unscathed for one reason: The mayor has no vote.

The mayor, for all intents and purposes, is a figurehead position in Eudora. His sole job is to run the city council meetings.

However, when the mayor is allegedly overheard five months before the fact telling workers at Casey's that Harlow won't be reappointed, he's brought trouble to himself.

He also did himself no favors on the night Harlow was reinstated by the council. He lost control of the meeting and then initially denied the request by a member from the community for an individual, oral vote on Harlow's fate.

The mayor lost sight of the fact that both he and everyone on the council are accountable to the people of this city.

The future
Stewart already plans to run for re-election next April. An opponent has yet to surface, but if he's smart, his platform will center on Harlow, who has been made a martyr an example of what happens when a city council loses control.

Amazingly, the election, which occurs about a month before the council decides on the fate of several city employees, including Harlow and police chief Bill Long, will rekindle the controversy that has rocked Eudora in the last month.

It promises to be interesting.

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