Remember growing up when you’d bring your newest GI Joe or Transformer or the black Voltron lion to school for recess and that punk kid in your class would kick and scream and throw his cheerios because he didn’t have one too?
Of course then the teacher would walk over and tell him to stop. So then he’d hold his breath and stamp his feet and make as big a scene as possible. You almost wanted to give him your new toy just to make him shut the heck up, right?
Yeah, almost. But eventually he’d figure out that acting like a two year old isn’t becoming a second grader, even if it took a “time out” to drill it into him. And invariably that kid grew up and became a normal well adjusted human being. Well, almost invariably.
Somehow, somewhere along the line Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell missed that life lesson and still plays the part of the spoiled kid with the best of the playground set. Sure, he’s bigger now. He dresses better. And for all the sycophantic adulation he pours at the feet of the governor he’s managed to round up a nice set of yes men who love to be in his very presence. The Fountain Street Church country club set is proud to have him and he’s proud to be a part. If someone has the newest Go-Bot he always gets to play with it.
Which is good for his ego, I suppose, but it hasn’t worked out so well for Grand Rapids. Whether it’s throwing a hissy fit and putting his own needs above the cities by insisting on purchasing himself a ( http://www.rightmichigan.com/story/2007/4/4/8451/91212) shiny new car at the taxpayers’ expense or having a temper tantrum because local elected officials in Lansing won’t vote to raise taxes (think of how much nicer a car he could have bought himself if they had), he still acts the part of the second grader.
While the DeVos and Van Andel and Meijer families (and countless others) build the Grand Rapids of the future with grants and endowments and gifts and donated children’s hospitals (etc etc etc etc etc) Heartwell’s frustrated and acting out. Maybe it’s because no one’s given the Mayor’s Office a million dollar grant. Maybe it’s because private citizens are doing more for the city in a day than his crush Jennifer Granholm has managed in nearly five years. The potential reasons could go on and on. But his reaction is inexusible.
The answer seems to always be “give me more.” Whether it’s more for the RAPID, more for GRCC, more for his personal automotive needs or more from Lansing just because, he’s keeps holding his breath and stamping his feet.
So what’s a voter to do?
This coming Tuesday the man has three opponents. A retail clerk (God bless her), a far left radical school board member who’s substantially MORE liberal AND a bigger tax-and-spender than Granholm’s buddy Heartwell in Jim Rinck and then there’s Richard Tormala, a current City Commissioner.
In a major coup, the relatively more conservative Tormala rounded up the (http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/07/unions_give_tormalas_campaign.html) endorsement of the city’s police and firefighters unions. And that’s telling. Heartwell fashions and presents himself the great defender of the first responder. But he delivers more to his home garage than he’s ever delivered to the Grand Rapids Police and Fire Departments’ and they’ve noticed.
And while the mayor’s office isn’t exactly on the front lines of the abortion debate Tormala’s also garnered the (http://www.rtl.org/html/elections/endorsed.html) Right to Life endorsement.
The man’s managed to build a name for himself standing up against wasteful spending and telling it like it is, often in a… well… let’s call it a “blunt” manner.
Tormala’s the guy to look out for our police and firefighters. He’s the guy to look out for Grand Rapids tax payers. And he’s the guy to look out, in whatever capacity, for the unborn.
But for all of Tormala’s strengths and the breath of fresh air (and straight shooting) he’d bring to city hall this election ultimately boils down to one underlying and fundamental truth. George Heartwell needs to go to the corner and take a time out.
Submitted By Guest Writer,
Nick De Leeuw