Thursday, November 13, 2008

What the Heck, Beck?

So, St. Anthony Mayor Bill Beck has resigned, offering little to the public or news media at Wednesday night's city council meeting other than a statement -- or so the news says -- that his constituents are "stupid" and that the whole town "can go to hell."

He seems a bit testy. He offered no explanation, at least that I've heard, for his departure.

Not without reason. He and a few city council members are the subject of a recall petition -- apparently moot (or as they say in St. Anthony, "mute") on his point now -- because the city dared ask a local family to remove a bunch of junk cars from their property. (Something I agree with Beck on, because whenever I drive through the town and surrounding area, I always have to wonder if I've stumbled into a populated junk car lot.)

I knew Bill Beck back in the day when I was a journalist, and actually liked the guy. I don't know why he's being villified by commenters in the local paper, because he seemed to be a rather progressive individual for the city. Of course, politics and personality being what they are in St. Anthony, a small town that reveres the independent spirit of the old west but seems to cling (If I may use Obama's phraseology) to the disruptive, small-town narrow-mindedness that scared newcomers out fo towns like Amity and Friendship in the west of old. Back then, if a guy weren't fer ya, he was again' ya. That ethos has survived to this day, but surfaces in petty name-calling (on both the side of the mayor and his constituents) and the Instant Distrust (TM) that seems to pervade small-town politics. You like the guy until he's elected. Then don't trust him at all. Seems very Jeffersonian, but as if Jefferson and the rest of the city were still in high school.

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