During the week, a few local Republicans attending the convention had told me Ballard was upset about coverage of his administration and had thus decided to back away from the media. So midway through our flight, I walked to the rear of the plane, where the mayor was sitting, and suggested a column that would essentially allow him to talk about his first months in office -- in his own words.
That was my mistake.
It seems the mayor is afraid of his own words. After all, they sometimes come back to haunt him. Like when he said parks were a "drain" on the city budget. Or when he picked a fight with the arts community, not realizing how tough arts folks can be. Or when he said it'd be easy to find millions of dollars of fluff in the city budget. Or when he mused about creating a Chinatown from scratch.
Now, it doesn't matter to me whether the mayor talks to me or not. This column is pretty manageable with or without his words. And regardless, the City-County Building is full of people who are eager to talk about what the mayor is doing.
But it's sad to see Citizen Mayor take the advice of those who want to turn him into Talking-Point Greg.
is this the end of the gaffe-o-matic mayor, to be replaced by the missing mayor? he's already been nearly invisible, letting marcus barlow and scott newman take most of the heat for his unpopular initiatives, and only occasionally appearing before a camera to say something embarrassing.
if the mayor's going to retreat completely into his shell, that's not surprising, but it is disappointing... writing about the mayor is generally such a joyless activity, and his many gaffes bring brief moments of much-needed humor. the next three years of the ballard administration will be grim enough; at least give us something to chuckle about! ¶