Photo by Press and Guide.
There's been a picture printed on the front page of the Dearborn Press and Guide a couple of times in the last month or so from the last election, featuring Mayor Jack O'Reilly, challenger Michael Prus, and some doofus on the end who looks like he might be picking his nose. I am that doofus. (No, I'm not picking my nose. Just thinking.)
A number of people have recognized me from the photo, and asked if I was running again. No, I'm not, but I think more people have asked me about my candidacy in the last month than ever asked me when I was actually running. And part of that is because I really ran as a lark, with full knowledge that my chances of winning were next to nil. I just tried to have fun with it, which is why I did a video comparing municipal financing to the arcade game BurgerTime, and why I campaigned wearing a fuzzy yellow bathrobe.
A bigger reason why I didn't get much attention, however, was that there were so many of us running. If anyone was going to beat Mayor Pro Tem O'Reilly, it would be because so many of us fractured and split the vote. Looking back at it now, with the knowledge that O'Reilly won in a landslide, such concerns seem a little silly. But back then, I was worried.
Because even if my candidacy was a deliberately Quixotic act, I still did and do care deeply about my hometown. Some of the other candidates were even more unqualified than I was, or, if they had educational credentials, their ideas were nonsensical or dangerous. One candidate said he was going to create new revenues by cutting taxes. Another thought he could change the shape of U. S. foreign policy from Dearborn's City Hall. These are not people you want running our city during a difficult and tumultuous time.
There were other ideas that were well-meaning, but ultimately of little utility. Sure, having a "Ford Dream Cruise" might be nice, but it wouldn't do much to support Dearborn's biggest tax payer in real world terms. And I'm not sure if a city-wide lottery would really shore up any of our budgetary problems.
When I was running for mayor, I actually said, if you don't vote for me, than vote for O'Reilly. Because the thought of anyone else in City Hall (which, in all honesty, would include myself) was terrifying. That still holds true today. For what it's worth, this doofus is giving his endorsement to Mayor O'Reilly.
That's not to say he's done a perfect job. Progress has been slower than many of us would like, especially regarding development in the west end. There have been disappointments and setbacks. And he is not quite the communicator that his predecessor was.
But he is a good and honest man. He has investigated charges of corruption with integrity and has always been candid with the people of Dearborn. He has the skills, knowledge, and experience that we need at this crucial time. Progress is being made, but like all real progress, it takes time, especially given the state of things across our great nation. I am completely certain that patience will be rewarded, and that Dearborn will really flourish in the years it is under O'Reilly's stewardship.
In the last election, I was immensely proud of winning 82 votes, many of them, I gather, from strangers. That's 15,978 votes less than Mayor O'Reilly, and 19 votes more than his challenger, Mr. Prus. If those eighty-two are listening, this doofus asks you to give your vote on Tuesday to Jack O'Reilly.
(Tom Russell is a life-long resident who makes films with his wife, Mary. Their latest, SON OF A SEAHORSE, is available on DVD from Amazon.com. His opinions are his and his alone and do not reflect in any way, shape, or form the opinions of his employer.)