Our Own Tommy Shanks

I got a missive from Steve Emerine, who wanted y’all to look at his column in Inside Tucson Business. The column will be published tommorrow, but is already available online.

Bob WalkupEmerine is highly critical of the lack of the lack of leadership from the mayor’s office. Yes, many people have been critical of the dearth of new ideas from Bob Walkup, but the criticism from Emerine is interesting because he was once a supporter of Walkup. Emerine was one of a group of business oriented Democrats who broke away to support Walkup the first time he ran in 1999 against Molly McKasson. Many of them (I don’t know if Emerine was among them) also continued to support Walkup against Tom Volgy four years ago.

Emerine makes the point, and I agree with it, that Walkup is a decent guy, but the challenges we face need more than just someone who is a jolly booster for our community. Walkup seems to be better suited as a chamber of commerce cheerleader for a suburb somewhere instead of the leader of a serious city that could very well have close to a million people by the end of the next decade.

What frustrates me most is that a large segment of the “deciders” in this community seem to be perfectly happy with Walkup’s sonambulant leadership. Last election, the Star famously claimed that Walkup’s skills at ribbon cutting was what this community needed.

I hope that the frustrations that Emerine claims are out there are widespread enough that we at least get a serious discussion of the issues that will be facing us over the next few years.

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