How Dare We!! A pile of puling petulance.

If there was ever a question about whether the Tribune is too easy on City government, it is answered by their allowing Ex-Mayor, Randy Gray, almost an entire page to whine about his loss, demonstrate an amazing lack of grace, and take cheap shots at his political enemies. His piece is so permeated with self-righteousness and a sense of entitlement to his former political position, it reads more like a frustrated 14-year old girl's "Dear Diary" entry than it does a newspaper column.

I do not have access to the column online, so I cannot reproduce it in its entirety. If anyone has access to it, please email it to me at fallsblog@yahoo.com. (As a sidenote, in an ongoing demonstration of its ineptitude in all things internet, I have twice tried to sign up for the Tribune's Electronic Edition and, despite the promise to the contrary on their website, no one has ever contacted me to sign up for it.)

The column starts innocently enough, with Mr. Gray describing his background. The introduction quickly degenerates, though, to a self-congratulatory 'history lesson' in which he describes his efforts to find a "meaningful way in which to invest [his] time and interest." He then goes on to describe the "mandates" he received from "lopsided" elections.

He then uses some careful language to take credit for the work of others. After listing some of the positive things that have happened in Cascade County in the last ten years, he says that, "[w]hile all of this may have happened with a different city commission and mayor, it has in fact happened with this commission and mayor."

As he proceeds to pat himself on the back, he omits a number of pertinent facts. Among his "accomplishments" he touts the following (in quotes), with the omitted portions in red.:

  • "The public is now much more aware of meth." Our meth problem is much worse than when he took office.
  • "Creating partnerships to...improve economic growth and opportunity." He created a partnership between the City and McKenzie River Pizza by which he personally profited from a private company's use of public land.
  • "Maintaining and improving infrastructure (sewer, water, public services)" During his tenure the jail was built on one of the main 'gateways' to our community, and we lost the dams. The golf courses are bleeding money, and taxes and fees go up, up, up.
  • "Supporting adequate funding of educational programs." This has absolutely nothing to do with city government, but I guess we are to pat him on the back because he holds liberal political beliefs.
Oh, but you haven't seen anything yet. He then goes on to discuss the recent election in which he lost the post that he so obviously believes is rightfully his. His position is that he would have earned another "mandate" but for his courageous stand against the "gambling industry."

He discusses the fact that the City Commission with him at the helm passed a smoking ordinance (irrelevant since the legislature adopted a state law), passed a sign code (which you will recall was passed over significant community-wide objection), and passed a zoning code (which will be a nightmare, just wait: uneven enforcement, piles of red tape, and bureaucratic snafus).

He then brags about supporting the so-called "Big Bill." You might recall that this law 'decoupled' gaming tax revenues from the county in which it was earned. In other words, it used to be that, in simple terms, our community shared with the state the gaming taxes earned here. Under the "Big Bill" the state adopted a complicated formula to allocate gaming tax revenues. In fact, we get less of our own gaming taxes under the "Big Bill" than we did before. Gee, thanks Ex-Mayor.

He discusses his support of a bill to double the gaming tax. (As I have noted before, this would put many operators out of business.) He argues that he testified in favor of this bill as a private citizen, not as Mayor. He neglects to tell the readers that he repeatedly referred to his position as Mayor during his testimony. He also neglects to tell the readers about his quick trip back to Great Falls after the hearing in order to bask in the accolades and receive the check from the tavern owners payable to the Save Malmstrom group. In other words, he has no problem with gaming money when it gives him a chance to seek a little publicity.

He then moves to what I think is the most interesting substantive point he tries to make. First, he claims that "a focused, single-issue-oriented, city campaign with professional organizers and lots of gambling-industry recruits...is a ripe place for derailing even a popular City Commission with a solid record of achievement." You see, there is no way that Mayor Perfect could have simply been thrown out on his ass, no, he was "popular" with a "solid record." The sheeple, though, were too dumb to figure it out. Give me a break, Mr. Ex-Mayor. As any 12-year old might tell you: Get over yourself.

But let's think about this for a minute. A "single-issue" campaign? What was the issue? Was this a referendum on gaming? Well, then, Mr. Ex-Mayor, how did you do on that referendum? Maybe, just maybe, you might look in the mirror. Maybe, just maybe, you were on the wrong side of that issue. Ya think?

He then says his "opposition" created a coalition of, among others, people opposed to the City's venture into public power, Democrats, Republicans, people mad about the Explore: The Big Sky fiasco, and the hot rodders. Funny, doesn't sound like a "single-issue" to me. It sounds like a whole bunch of his fellow citizens who had just flat had enough of him. (By the way, he refers to the hot rodders who didn't want him to shut down their industry as "Libertarians." Notice how anyone who does not agree with him is put down, categorized, or marginalized. He must truly think he knows best--for all of us.)

Speaking of the Explore: The Big Sky 'event,' he argued that the City's half a million dollar loss on the event was "seven tenths of 1 percent of our current annual...budget." See, Mr. Ex-Mayor, to me it's a half a million bucks. Not some percentage of the total, but a half a million. It's our money, not yours.

Then, despite the fact that he lost the election, he goes on to tell us what to do with our future. Apparently, he went to the Clinton School for Appropriate Former Executive Behavior.

And, lest anyone be fooled by into his happy-go-lucky demeanor at the Commission meetings, there are several points in his column where he shows what a petty, petulant person he really is.

First, he compares Ronda Carpenter to the Wicked Witch of the West because she opposed his efforts to double the gaming tax. Nice. It's 2005 and a FORMER public official can't respond to a political issue without taking a cheap sexist shot at his opponent. "She disagrees with me, therefore she's a witch." He goes on to say that after he testified in favor of increased gaming taxes, that's when the "process of candidate recruitment" began.

Again, what a sexist. Gosh, Mr. Former-Mayor, a girl like Dona couldn't think of it all on her own, huh? Newsflash: Dona wasn't recruited by the gaming industry, Ex-Man, she ran against you and beat you all by herself.

Oh, and let's see, a cheap shot at the Chamber of Commerce because they didn't stick up for him in the election. Classy!

Then he implies our new Mayor is improperly interfering in personnel matters, implies she is wrongfully shielding her supporters from enforcement of a law over which the City has no jurisdiction, and implies that he lost because his opponents cheated. For those of you who never got to see Randy Gray when Stuart Lewin had the temerity to speak against him at City Commission meeting, the curtain has been lifted on what a small man he really can be.

If there was ever a question whether it was time for him to go, he has answered it with the help of his willing accomplices at the Tribune. (Ever seen a full-page guest column before? Me either.)

He just doesn't get it. Did some in the gaming industry oppose him? You bet they did. And they should. For him to suggest he lost because of casinos demonstrates he doesn't accept reality. There was widespread discontent in this town, and it is evidenced by his new job. He was far from perfect, yet nowhere in his tirade does he admit to any fault or error.

Would you like some french cries to go with that WAH-mburger?


ZenPanda said...

Shouldn't that be "cheese with your WHINE?!?"

the best words to describe mr. gray- SORE LOOSER!

Great writing.

Treasure State Jew said...

Geeguy; I just had a chance to finish reading Gray's column yesterday. To tell the truth, I put it down after he used his spot to slam Ronda Carpenter. Your post inspired me to read the whole thing.

I will be honest; I supported Dona because I thought that Gray was ineffectual, not because I thought he was doing a bad job. Reading that column gave me extra reasons for supporting Stebbins. I still have trouble believing that he would use his farewell article in such a denigrating fashion.

Anyway, great post.

a-fire-fly said...

It blows my mind. He takes credit for everything good in the last ten years, and ends by saying he hopes the Commission can "guide her in the proper and limited role of the office."

dona stebbins said...

Sour grapes make bad w(h)ine!

Rocky Smith said...

Most businesses pass on tax hikes through price increases. How do you do that with a Keno machine? Give people eighty cents credit for every dollar they put in it? Is your fine former (thank God) mayor unaware of how many people are gainfilly employed by the gambling industry? Does he know how many bars would be out of business without them? Would he even care? Are there any liberals out there who know of a tax increase they don't like?

Jim Rohrich said...

The city is better off without that loser. Christ... what a whiner. Thank you, Dona Stebbins, for beating his ass.

Anonymous said...

A good guess is, without gambling over half the bars in Great Falls would be closed and liquor licenses could be purchased for next to nothing.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what "puling" meant well here is one meaning.

n.1.A cry, as of a chicken,; a whining or whimpering.

a.1.Whimpering; whining; childish.

I must say the shoe fits.

GeeGuy said...

I know that, because someone called me that once! Can you imagine??!!?? :)