Mayoral candidate Mike Anderson had an open house Tuesday night at his home in Evansville's historic district. Unfortunately, only a small crowd was there to hear what he had to say. I stayed for an hour and left unsatisfied.
He is an earnest, impassioned man with a narrow view of what he hopes to accomplish if elected mayor.
Mike started with a ramble about his struggles with the committee which enforces the restrictions on homes in the historic district. He told of his troubles with the committee, with local contractors and with the rules and restrictions on his deed. He repeatedly said that his reasons for running weren't personal and acknowledged that city workers had treated him well when he had interactions with them.
After half an hour of one-sided discussions of various siding materials and porch rot a woman asked how he would go about bringing business to the city. He seemed unfamiliar with the finer points of the downtown revitalization, suggesting that maybe condos would be in order. He proposed bringing a distribution center to town without comment on the infrastructure changes needed to attract a business of that nature. He did score points when he said that it was important to keep the industry that we have in town and recognized that Evansville needs more blue collar employment. He talked about, "that Smart Growth thing," in a dismissive way and without showing any familiarity with its aims or results.
When asked why we should vote for him he said that he was committed to making Evansville better even though he was naive to the ways of city government.
As I said, I came home disappointed. He's a likeable man with some decent ideas and more passion than savvy. I could support him being on one of the city committees. I just won't be able to vote for him for mayor in good conscience. His vision for Evansville, as articulated tonight, is too narrow to be viable. The learning curve, he admits would be steep.
"It sounds corny," he said, "But I've played sports all my life. Sometimes the Coach has to ask the team what is best."