Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WADE FOR MAYOR FLIP FLOP? Watch the videos, then decide

 COLUMBIA, 2/23/10  (Beat Byte) --  Constituent complaints that Columbia 4th Ward city councilman and mayoral candidate Jerry Wade has changed his positions, often to curry favor with wealthy establishment donors, may have support from videos that appear to catch Wade in a major flip flop. 

This time, Councilman Wade's dramatic change of mind favors city manager Bill Watkins -- ground zero for the same powerful special interests candidate Wade has sought to woo. 

During a December 21, 2009 City Council discussion about "advise and consent," Mr. Wade agreed to move forward on a motion to study, debate, and discuss a new role for city council members -- advising and consenting to the city manager's department director picks, ala the US Senate.  

The discussion starts on this video at roughly 2:36 (two hours and 36 minutes into the video): 

Dec. 21, 2009 City Council Meeting 

"This is probably a discussion we need to have," Mr. Wade says at roughly 2:38:50.  Then he votes FOR the motion. 

But just three weeks later, after the quiet holiday period, Mr. Wade helps kill the very "discussion" he previously supported: 

January 19, 2010 City Council Meeting 

From roughly 1:03 to 1:08, Mr. Wade now says:

"This proposed charter change wouldn't address the issues we want to address. This is the wrong discussion...It won't improve the quality of city operations and in fact it will probably decrease it.

"It would have the council monkeying around where we don't need to be. We have considerable opportunity already to make input to the city manager, even in the hiring process. This kind of attention to the charter, with advise and consent, plays around with just one piece of a system.

"It would introduce political considerations into personnel decisions and would simply move Columbia back toward the political cronyism and the abuses of the past that the progressive movement worked to eliminate.

"The hiring and firing of department heads would become dependent on the votes of four politicians, and that's not how you retain top quality administrators."

According to many of his constituents, flip-flopping has been Mr. Wade's M.O.  

What he had steadfastly promised during his 4th Ward council campaign -- a questioning eye toward questionable developments -- he back-flipped on, excusing himself by saying the "process" was "flawed," but then never returning in any substantive way to fix it. 

His swing votes for Cross Creek -- a premature excursion into clear cutting that has yielded only an ugly tree-stripped lot -- and the Lemone Bridge/Maguire Road deal, with its questionable origins in a "handshake" between former city manager Ray Beck and developer Bob Lemone -- helped shake support from Wade's original political base.

Even his written promise to fix a stretch of sidewalk on Maupin Street in the Old Southwest -- which we reported in April 2008 in WADE AND WATKINS: Save Old Southwest Sidewalk -- went bust when he got some push back from public works director John Glascock. 

1 comment:

  1. A gentleman knows when to 'dance w/ the date that brung em' as well as when it's okay to spin her friend around the dance floor. Mr. Wade's frequent change of mind means constituents cannot trust him to address their issues and protect their concerns.

    However, there is an even greater concern with Mr. Wade's approach to governance. His level of comfort, even aggressive support, for outsourcing and privatizing public input is very disturbing. Transparent, inclusive public input is the soul of our democratic process - invitation-only taskforces and closed mediation effectively block access to the public process for the vast majority of citizens. More significantly, they deny us a policy model for addressing similar issues and concerns in the future. Most importantly - this type of privatization is inherently undemocratic and runs the grave risk of putting council in the position of favoring those with the resources to hire representation advantage over those that lack such resources.

    I am very, very wary of candidates for any council race that would choose 'efficiency' over transparency and inclusiveness in our local governance process.