Monday, February 21, 2005

Where's Willie?

Why didn't Mayor Herenton announce the city's largest-ever layoff of employees himself Friday? Why was he not anywhere to be found? All weekend, I watched the news for some report on his whereabouts, but to no avail. Where's the Mayor? Darrell Phillips offered one tantalising possibility.

If it turns out that our Mayor was indeed somewhere on personal or private business, especially if he was having fun, he can pretty much kiss his political career goodbye. Remember the fallout when it turned out he skipped town during the aftermath of Hurricane Elvis to attend a Little Rock campaign fundraiser? The recall movement will kick into overdrive. A lot of folks are very angry and upset at the layoffs; they will likely be amenable to giving him some payback.

Is this the last nail in King Willie's coffin?

MONDAY 10PM UPDATE Hold the hammers. Darrell has a follow-up post saying the Mayor's spokeswoman says it's not true. Ah well....

Also, in their 6PM broadcast WREG/3 had a Mike Matthews interview with Mayor Herenton where he says he was in his office last Friday during the announcement. No link on the WREG site, though.

I found the story a bit strange, though, as Matthews repeatedly said "was in his office at 4PM." It was a very specific phrase repeated. Not "he was in town" or something. They need to get the story online.

I like the way the Mayor seems to be playing the media, too. An "exclusive" to Mike Matthews? One on one? Hasn't that been his usual method when he's doing damage control?

I noticed as well that Herenton is now claiming not to have had direct control of the list of cuts. He's claiming he'll "veto" cuts to senior services. Don't you like how he's trying to distance himself from his own proposal? He feels your pain, Memphis.

It's sad you have to parse Herenton's words, but since he's admitted he'll lie to the press if he needs to -- and boy, is this a time he would need to -- you have to be careful. If I have the phrase right, it doesn't disallow the Mayor being out at the airport by 5:30PM for a flight. It's misleading, but not a technical lie. Heck, being "in town this weekend" wouldn't be a lie if he flew back into town on Saturday early afternoon. Most of Saturday and all day Sunday is still the "weekend," right?

Details, folks, we need details!

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