(Rubber) Stamp of approval for the mayor

February 2, 2007 13 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

In completing his trifecta, the Mayor today succeeded in co-opting all three print news sources. The triumph came today when the Times-Union editorial board who, up until today had been strangely silent on the issue of Peyton’s appointment of an unqualified candidate for Planning Director, broke their silence. They came out in favor of Brad Thoburn. This appears to come as a result of some strategic political planning the mayor initiated a couple of months back when only he knew he would be attempting to push his friend through. At that time, Peyton sent Thoburn over to meet and greet the editorial board of the Times-Union and to push the absurd (see other articles on this site) idea of the Outer Beltway. Apparently the move succeeded and is paying dividends today.

The editorial follows in the footsteps of Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage who said less than two weeks ago that Thoburn “deserved” the position. Really? We always thought that by definition someone had earned and deserved a position by working hard and proving their qualifications.

By the way, shame on the Times-Union for allowing Susan Pelter’s editorial to be printed today without stating that not only is she the “director of public information” – but she, along with Susie Wiles, is a spokesperson for the mayor. Pelter is basically the voice of Peyton.

This completes a trifecta because the other two print media outlets have been largely silent on the issue or have implicitly backed the mayor’s unqualified appointment. The Jacksonville Business Journal’s editorial staff has made no comment. The Jacksonville Daily Record on the other hand ran a story last week citing numerous other examples where the City Council has approved a mayor’s appointment when they failed to meet the qualifications. Basically, this article came across with a “why should this situation be any different” tone.

So, that completes the trifecta. Fortunately, not everyone has been blinded by the charm or virtues of the good ole boy system. Almost every single member of the public who has written in to the Times-Union or has spoken at City Council who has not worked for the mayor or isn’t a personal friend of Thoburn’s has spoken against his nomination. That is to say, the public has still not been fooled. The City Council should remember that, while the Times-Union is powerful, it is not the body that elects it.

And finally, our question to our local “independent” print media friends is: “Since it has never happened even once, at what point – or in what circumstance – does it actually become acceptable to reject an unqualified appointee?”