It must be tough, having to decide between making major choices and public appearances.
In any other city, that might be true - but in Roanoke, we have a weak mayor system. Which means the Council and City Manager make the heady decisions, which makes the Mayor just another member of the council, with a title.
So why is the Mayor not making many public appearances? Aside from the business-related ones, Mr. Mayor has not been seen at a good number of functions a dignitary official should be at. I can think of a recent dinner for a number of people who are active within the city neighborhoods. Darlene was there, as was her Assistant City Manager Brian Townsend. But the Mayor declined due to schedule conflicts.
Well I would think if it were important enough for Darlene "CEO" Burcham to attend, it would behoove the Mayor to put in an appearance. But no. And this was the 2nd time the Mayor had declined to appear before this group. This is not to say ANY member of the current council attended, or was scheduled to attend - but someone (even Alfred Dowe) should have made some effort to be there. But again, as Mayor of a city which holds the position of Mayor of low importance in the grand scheme of the city, what else could be going on?
There's 2 ways to think about this. #1 - Mr. Harris is much like that freight train downtown; if the train ain't movin' it's useless. Or #2 - Mr. Harris is playing limited engagements before select audiences, and anyone else gets the short sheet.
Harris has had a good run, since 2004 he has been the Mayor, the pastor at Virginia Heights Bapitst, worked on completing his doctorate, and writing books. He has overseen the overthrow of the average citizen in favor of the SoRo crowd (For the City), demolished Victory Stadium (a smokescreen issue), and kept the City Market stagnant. But in the same breath one cannot help but mention the greening of the greenways, the flood reduction project along the river, and the revamp of the Civic Center for trade shows. All worthwhile projects, certainly.
I see what you did there.
So what's next for Mr. Mayor? Short of giving him the same "sacrificial lamb" treatment that Bev Fitzpatrick has received, I think it's time to return this shepherd to his flock.
We thank you for your 4 years in office, it's been fun - really. But I think it's time we both admitted what the problem is. We've grown apart. There was a time when your smile and words brought a twinkle to our eye. But not every relationship is meant to last, and though parting be painful - I think it's time we went our own directions. There are a lot of fish in the sea, Mr. Harris - and I have a feeling you will find your very own soon enough. But we are not that fish. Not anymore. It's not you, it's us - we've just grown past what we had. And yes, in a way you helped us reach this point, but we don't feel you can go all the way with us.
Let's be honest, you haven't always been there for us. And you haven't always had our best interests at heart. Maybe it was the lure of the title, or the status - but we don't feel it anymore. But we are ok with that, and we will come through this intact. We feel it's better that you do not attempt to contact us in the future, and we will pass along anything you might have left behind.
Sorry for this,
Citizens of Roanoke City
Like I said, must be tough - breaking up is always hard to do.