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Who will be Flint's next mayor?

Play Williamson Vs Walling

Reelect Don Williamson or instead elect Dayne Walling. Williamson? That is the 70 Million Dollar question.

Richard's Ramblings


Who will be Flint's next mayor?

By Richard Zowie

Later this year, we get to vote in the Flint mayoral race. It comes down to this: reelect Don Williamson or instead elect Dayne Walling. Williamson, with his white hair and glasses, reminds me vaguely of my wife's grandfather. Walling has dark hair, wears no glasses and is young. So young, he almost looks as he could pass for the mayor's grandson. They even share the same D.W. initials.


Both men have their work cut out for them as they seek convince enough voters to choose them to lead this crime-riddled town, which was once the proud home to lots of manufacturing. Mayor Williamson, who prides himself on balanced budgets, was successfully sued by the Flint Journal for refusing to let a newspaper carrier from the Journal deliver papers to city hall. The city ended up having to pay $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle the suit. And, of course, hardly a day goes by without a newspaper or television ad in which you're told "Patsy Lou cares about you!" Snappy slogan for the mayor's automobile entrepreneur's wife, and I suppose it's better than "Patsy Lou gives you the flu!"


James Carville, the brilliant Democratic political strategist, once famously said, "It's the economy, stupid!" This could be what gets the mayor reelected. According to his reelection Website, Williamson inherited a $28 million deficit and has in the years past not only turned a surplus but also had three straight years of balanced budgets. Granted, the flamboyant Williamson has his enemies who allege that his decisions as mayor have cost the taxpayers more than $10 million.

As for Walling, he's a third-generation Flintstone who's active in the community. He has a three-part plan for getting Flint back on track: bringing jobs and development for the 21st century, taking care of our neighborhoods and putting people first at City Hall.

Conversely, it's hard to know what exactly the criticism is about Walling since Mayor Williamson, on his reelection Website, makes no mention of Walling. In fact, the Website contains nothing to click on and no contact information.

So, in short, this should be a lively race.

Being Flint's mayor can be a daunting task, so in case neither Williamson nor Walling appeal to you, I can think of two people whom I think would be great for the job:

Former Detroit Tigers star outfielder Kirk Gibson. Gibby has that scowl. All he'd have to do is walk through the rough neighborhoods and scowl. He'd scare everyone into the straight and narrow path. The only downside would be all the police officers who would be out of work.

My wife's grandfather. Grandpa served as a Marine in the Korean War in the infamous Chosin Reservoir, earning two purple hearts. Everybody in his unit was wounded at least once, and many did not return home. After braving the subzero temperatures of Korea while being shot at, how hard could it be to serve as mayor of Flint?


Flint Talk Writer: Richard Zowie

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Richard Zowie is a Michigan-based freelance writer. Send comments, hate mail and futile marriage proposals to richardzowie@gmail.com. His blog is at www.richardzowie.blogspot.com


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