Friday, July 04, 2008

Cheers for Harold Mitchell

Reporters are not allowed to have opinions, but five years past retirement I must say that Mayor Harold Mitchell was always tops for his accessibility, honesty, common sense and grace as an elected official.
For those who may not remember, Mitchell served as a councilman before mounting a successful independent campaign for the mayoralty. He also fielded a slate of Democratic City Committee candidates that left him with the power to take over the committee. But in the end, he made peace with Jerry Green, who remained on as chairman.
Secretly I wished he had vanquished Green and set the committee on a different path.
Anyway, as mayor, he vowed to put qualified people in top posts, even though his enemies ridiculed his profession as a barber. No matter what trash talk came his way, Mitchell was ever the gentleman. His detractors came off as the ignorant ones.
I can't exactly remember his mantra, but I think it was, "Time, patience and application."
Little by little, he moved the city forward on several fronts. The dilapidated parking lot at Park & Front was reborn as a park and an inviting gateway to the city. Events there brought the community together. His top administrators resisted attempts by a hostile council to run them off and did their best to improve city operations.
There were other achievements, but when he lost to Mayor Mark Fury, Mitchell said simply, "The people have spoken."
There were no accusations or recriminations, only the acknowledgement that in politics there are winners and losers.
I wish the fact that he was Grand Marshal of the July 4th parade was more widely publicized, but in general the information from City Hall was lacking both in details and significance.
By chance, I saw him pass by today and realized more people needed to understand more about who he is.
Cheers for Harold Mitchell, a common man who took on an uncommon challenge to lead the Queen City for four years.
--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent Points, Bernice. My experience has been that Harold Mitchell has always been a moral, caring, and wise leader. His accessibility and non-threatening manner made--and makes--him most approachable. He makes "political" discussion feel like a true learning experience about just doing "what's right." He supported my PAL Martial Arts program back in the 80's, just because it was good for the children and many people of Plainfield. he's "good people."

11:01 AM  

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