Mayor runs the meeting, Crestwood resident told
June 08, 2005 - During his campaign to become Crestwood's mayor, Roy Robinson made many promises and pledges to citizens.
Since being elected mayor April 5, Mr. Robinson on more than several occasions has been reluctant to discuss the promises and pledges he made during the campaign.
It's no secret that we didn't endorse Mr. Robinson. In fact, in our editorial endorsing Robinson's opponent, then-Mayor Tom Fagan, we concluded: "... Mr. Robinson is so desperate to become mayor that he will do and say just about anything that he believes will propel him to the mayoral seat.''
Obviously a majority of voters didn't agree with our endorsement as Mr. Robinson was elected mayor. That's fine because that's how our great country works. But another cornerstone of our great country is that elected officials are held accountable for the things they say and do — whether it's during an election campaign or once they take office.
Quite frankly, we more than understand Mr. Robinson's refusal to discuss some of the things he said during the campaign because even then we knew he couldn't fulfill those promises. But what about the promises that are in his control to keep?
For example, Mr. Robinson stated in a piece of campaign literature, "I will return civility to the Board of Aldermen's Chambers. I will not tolerate disrespect for citizens that come to speak to the mayor and the board.''
That's one promise we believed Mr. Robinson would be able to keep — at least until we attended the May 24 Board of Aldermen meeting. We were dismayed at the manner in which he treated one of the residents addressing the board, Vicki Cross.
Mr. Robinson became a little testy when Mrs. Cross raised the issue of people he relied upon for advice before being elected mayor, noting the identities of those people never have been disclosed to the public.
"... Well, I didn't have to name them ...,'' Mr. Robinson said, noting he was a candidate and not an elected official.
Mrs. Cross acknowledged that, but Mr. Robinson continued, "... I really don't think we ought to be talking about that — about what happened ...''
Mrs. Cross said, "... Excuse me, I'm making a comment.''
Mr. Robinson said, "I'm the one that runs the meeting, OK, and what I'm telling you is ...''
Several people jeered, wanting the mayor to allow Mrs. Cross to continue speaking.
Mrs. Cross said, "I will finish my paragraph.''
Mr. Robinson said, "... I don't think you understand. You addressed something about me and I made the statement ...''
Mrs. Cross said, "No, I'm not finished. You won't let me get to my point. My point is, is that you've probably gotten some very good information and ideas to, you know, to help, OK, from these people, which is fine. That's great. I don't understand why you're saying that to me. I'm shocked.''
Mr. Robinson said, "I am too.''
Mrs. Cross continued, "But anyway, I just wanted to know ... you've talked to these people and they've given you some insight, but you haven't shared any of these ideas with us so we could get excited about them ... It's hard to get excited about where you're going when we don't know what was discussed. We don't know what kind of things ... You said there were a lot of good and constructive things, but yet we have not heard anything about them.''
Mr. Robinson said, "Well, you didn't follow the campaign very closely and if you didn't I made perfectly clear of what I planned on doing during my campaign. And the other thing is I plan ... to have a town-hall meeting in the near future and I'll be the one that will be giving that and I will tell you what we're doing up to that point. How's that?''
Mrs. Cross said, "I just wanted to know the ideas ...''
Mr. Robinson said, "Well, I've had your letters before and I've had the other people that bring up the same thing about plans ...''
Mrs. Cross said, "I've never written you a letter.''
Mr. Robinson said, "Well, you sent me an e-mail. I know that. I've got copies of it, so. You sent me an e-mail, asking the same thing about the plans ...''
Mrs. Cross said, "No ...''
Mr. Robinson continued, "... I'm going to say to you what I said to (resident) Mr. (David) Brophy last week. I will not discuss the plans any longer. I will give you ...''
Mrs. Cross said, "I just want to get excited about ...''
Mr. Robinson said, "Well, you'll get excited soon.''
Mrs. Cross said, "Thank you.''
Mr. Robinson said, "Thank you.''
So much for not tolerating disrespect for citizens that come to speak to the mayor and the board. We believe that Mr. Robinson owes Mrs. Cross an apology for his rudeness.
What's also upsetting is Mr. Robinson's remark: "Well, you didn't follow the campaign very closely and if you didn't I made perfectly clear of what I planned on doing during my campaign ...''
This newspaper did follow Mr. Robinson's campaign very closely and, given that, we can understand his refusal to discuss his "plan,'' though some residents and at least one alderman have asked the mayor for specifics about the plan.
In a posting on his campaign Web site, Mr. Robinson stated, "I will not support'' the $6 million bond issue the Board of Aldermen had placed on the April 5 ballot.
Voters subsequently defeated the bond issue.
"I have a better idea,'' Mr. Robinson stated. "My plan will eliminate the $6 million lump sum and the $1.2 million in interest payments on the bonds over the 10-year life of the bonds. My plan will provide funding to maintain services each year. My plan will limit the ability to spend on projects and items not needed during our financial crises. And my plan will include police building improvements as we can afford them.''
We're baffled by Mr. Robinson's refusal to discuss such a wonderful plan, unless, of course, there was no plan and is no plan.
For those who prefer to deal in reality, we urge them to attend a work session of the Board of Aldermen that begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, at City Hall, 1 Detjen Drive.
During that work session, City Administrator Don Greer is scheduled to unveil a two-year restructuring plan designed to stabilize the city's fiscal woes with more than $1.2 million in reductions.