Mayor in ’07

Mark my words.

Today’s solo press conference (Holder video) by Councilwoman Florence Gatten was an obvious-to-me precursor to her upcoming mayoral candidacy.  Gatten is a master at the art of office-running.

I’ll offer further informed speculation that Yvonne Johnson will soon announce her intentions to seek that office and Keith Holliday will step aside.

Two open At-Large seats might be too much to pass up for, um, some.

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  1. RH
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    …and maybe even a council member office with a window would be available for, um, some.

  2. Jim Rosenberg
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I admire Florence Gatten’s intellect and appreciate her scholarly analysis of issues. Having said that, I am always taken aback by the way she grandstands in a tone most closely resembling that of an assassin. In the speech accompanying her TRC vote, she put the red dot right on people’s heads, calling them out as failed individuals and railing against the “shopworn rhetoric and tactics of the 1960′s and 70′s,” including “petitions by non stakeholders.” Today, she rolls out her own bit of shopworn rhetoric, calling publicly for Diann Bellamy-Small’s resignation while clinging tenuously to stakeholder status. In both cases, she seems trigger happy, her bullets wasted on essentially cheap shots that obscure her underlying reasoning. It’s hard for me to see how today’s framing of resignation as a public issue will have any impact other than to back DBS into a corner, decreasing the likelihood that she will resign and baking an almost unbearable layer of animosity into Council proceedings. I hope I’m wrong and that I just missed the strategic play.

  3. Seymour Hardy Floyd
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    I can’t recall exactly how I expressed it, but I believe I once made a post suggesting that more local leaders should come out condemning some of County Commissioner Skip Alston’s words and actions (the ones he should have been embarassed by himself without ever seeming to be).

    If memory serves, Sandy Carmany responded with what could have been taken as an overly political response, indicating that she didn’t feel like it was her place to do so, particularly since Alston does not serve on the Greensboro City Council, as Carmany does.

    The way Carmany expressed herself, I felt like I understood where she was coming from. Now, I think I might understand even better.

    On one level, the way Florence Gatten has come out against Dianne Bellamy-Small could be viewed as a bold, even needed move from a member of a political body sometimes too well-known for silence on important controversial issues.

    But as Jim points out, what Gatten has done could bake “an almost unbearable layer of animosity into Council proceedings.”

    It’s highly unlikely that Gatten’s call for Bellamy-Small’s resignation is going to result in that actually happening.

    I don’t know what the relationship is like between the two, but Gatten is surely indicating that she never expects to need Bellamy-Small’s cooperation or support on any issues the city council might face in the future. On a board that only has a total of nine members, that seems risky in and of itself.

    Gatten’s move seems like a calculated gamble. By coming out against Bellamy-Small, Gatten may be hoping to impress citizens frustrated by Bellamy-Small’s ridiculous ego-tripping, posturing, and possible bullying.

    With her move, Gatten seems to be engaged in some posturing (and possibly bullying) of her own.

    But it could backfire.

    Some other council members probably go too far to “play nice.”

    Gatten in this case might be going too far to prove that she isn’t always willing to “play nice.”

    In districts, that seems to work, at least to a degree. Billy Yow and Skip Alston win respect within their respective communities by not playing nice with one another (nor with others).

    But if she is interested in becoming mayor, Gatten needs to recognize that by not displaying overall civility, she risks offending segments of the population who might view her posturing as mean-spirited overkill.

    The way Bellamy-Small seems to be moving, she’s going to hurt herself more than anyone else will anyway. She’s following in the footsteps of Earl Jones, and she may, like Jones, soon enough (or at least eventually) find herself losing her council seat. (Although as Jones has illustrated, there are other opportunities after life on the city council.)

    Gatten had a closer call than I’m guessing she expected to have in the last city council election. (I’m guessing that many others were surprised by that also.)

    I don’t know all the factors that influenced that election, but had I been in Gatten’s position in that race, it would have given me cause to think carefully about what it all meant and what I might learn from that.

    It’s important for politicians to demonstrate that they can be tough when necessary, but it’s also important for us not to confuse toughness with meanness.

  4. Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    We’ve missed your considered voice around here, Hardy. Hope you are well.

    You are correct, at least with me, that Gatten might think she is appearing “tough” when “meanness” is what comes across. Her arrogance-laced forthrightness turns me right off.

    During a joint meeting between the Council and the P&R Commission last week, Gatten opened the “conversation” by berating the Commission for not interacting with Council more frequently. I bristled, as did others on the Commission who give of their time every month to try and help out and thought we were doing a pretty good job. She acted like a stereotypical school marm dressing down her charges. Screw that.

    She just comes across to me, over and over again as, – like you suggest – mean spirited and confrontational.

    I’ll be supporting Yvonne if the mayoral match-up plays out like I predict it will.

  5. Wayne R.
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I’d say, if it aggravates Ms. Gatten, I hope Ms. Bellamy-Small stays the course. Ms. Gatten is a mean, small person. She’s obviously grandstanding for publicity.

  6. Mick
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Sometimes “mean” people are better at saying what needs to be said. Which is unfortunate. None of the “nice” people have stepped forward to say what needed to be said. They have had ample time to do so.

  7. Wayne R.
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Permalink


    You wouldn’t say that if you had been treated to her arrogant, condescending nature. “Mean” people are NOT as effective as Public Servants who treat their constituents with dignity and respect.

    Nobody deserves to be treated the way she regularly treats average citizens in public city council meetings, and it’s always people who have no real way of fighting back.

    It’s the measure of a pedagogue, or someone who takes delight in feeling superior at the expense of someone else.

    I’m hoping someday for her to get a measure of her own medicine.

  8. Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Florence Gatten is willing to disclose her client list? It would be helpful to eliminate the possibility that she might be advising a client who could benefit from the removal of TDBS. Come to think of it, a politician who counsels other politicians for pay should, in the public interest, divulge her clients anyway.

One Trackback

  1. [...] Some believe that Gatten will make a run for mayor later this year. Personally, I can’t vote for someone who feels this way about Greensboro, especially when it’s simply not true. When given the choice, I’ll take Keith Holliday’s rosy optimism any day. But we won’t have that choice this November. [...]