The City of Wilmington was severely out of touch with the voting public on the baseball referendum. It’s a serious situation for city leaders and staff who willfully acted against the will of the people in spite of three separate public surveys indicating strong disapproval.
The Chamber of Commerce also did surveys that were surely available to city leaders that indicated this was a foolish endeavor. In the face of such overwhelming odds, the city’s pursuit of this and the waste of taxpayer dollars (still not publicly reported) leaves little doubt that the door will be open in next year’s election as the majority of council is up for re-election.
Mayor Bill Saffo has not announced intentions to seek re-election. Council members Charlie Rivenbark and Earl Sheridan are also up for re-election and supported the failed baseball stadium. But the front person for this wasteful project was Kevin O’Grady and it he that will have the most difficulty making the case that he has a connection with voters. He negotiated the deal with Mandalay, pushed for it the hardest, had e-mails suggesting that contact not take place on the city server and generally held the opposition in contempt.
The door is open. . . but does the public have a short memory and will anyone step up to run? There is an opportunity for substantive positive, business friendly changes in Wilmington, but it will take people willing to lead.
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