[Ed.: Please take note that we have edited this article to account for new information we have received since its original publication.]
The other day the Ambassador, a.k.a. Peter Secchia, assured White House political advisor Karl Rove that he could safely ignore Grand Rapids Mayor Heartwell's call for "rebellion" against cuts in federal largesse to urban coffers. Well, I think all of us already knew we could safely ignore the excitable Rev. Heartwell. In fact, I'm certain that the Bush Administration was so sure that it could ignore Heartwell that no one listened to him in the first place.
The Ambassador's call to Rove was interesting because he claimed Grand Rapids as "my city". Well, Grand Rapids, whether it likes it or not, has always been good to the Mr. Secchia. He seems to have found luck in downtown Grand Rapids where he often found himself at the right place at the right time when a property became ripe for development. No doubt the Ambassador believes he has helped to turn around such properties to good uses. Moreover, to be fair we should note that he has done good works, like a residential hall for Grand Valley State University's downtown campus or Millennium Park on the banks of the Grand River southwest of town.
As we can gather from his call to Rove, the Ambassador would prefer whatever public dollars are available for River City to be a piggy bank for his vision of public-private partnerships for downtown development rather than Heartwell's shabby people's republic on the Grand. Neither way serves the public, especially in the long run. So long as both support throwing away taxpayer dollars on white elephants like the new Convention Center, maybe it's time for the piggy bank to rebel against everyone who wants to shake dollars loose from it.