The wacky world of McLemorePublished 9:26am Saturday, April 14, 2012
In the vast conspiracy-filled galaxy in which Greg McLemore orbits, The Tidewater News and this pundit are part of a “trick of the rich” to keep Franklin Mayor Jim Councill in power.
For all of the juicy details, visit www.tidewaternews.com on Wednesday, when we’ll post the full unedited audio of our news staff’s recent visit with McLemore. If not a wise investment of a half-hour of your time, it certainly will be entertaining. McLemore, the spunky Ward 3 city councilman and mayoral hopeful, is nothing if not entertaining.
His latest conspiracy theory — that wealthy white Franklin citizens (he names names in the interview) and “The Foxwater News” are supporting Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson as a ploy to split the vote and ensure Councill’s re-election — is amusing, chiefly to Councill, who arguably has received as much scrutiny and criticism in this space as any City Council member and who has seen some of his staunchest supporters over the years defect to Johnson in the current campaign.
It takes a supersized ego to concoct such a theory as McLemore’s — an ego that has convinced its owner that he is electable, as opposed to the simple spoiler that he was in 2008, when Ellis Crum would have trounced Councill had McLemore not been on the ballot.
McLemore’s targeting of the newspaper and its publisher is curious. Outside of the 184 Ward 3 voters who picked him over incumbent Councilwoman Rosa Lawrence in 2010, few have tried like we have to give McLemore the benefit of the doubt. We have commended his passion, suggested that his “solar city” idea, derided by most, was worth at least a look, and opposed the use of city charter amendments to engineer short-term political outcomes. Granted, criticism has outweighed the praise, but no City Council member or faction has escaped critique in this space, as any regular reader — and certainly the seven council members themselves — can attest.
Two years ago, in the wake of his convincing ouster of Lawrence, this column explored McLemore’s political future, speculating on a couple of possible outcomes:
The verdict on McLemore is at least a couple of years away. He can still be successful if he thumps the chip off his shoulder and thickens his skin.
McLemore must come to understand the power of his words. If he learns the value of tact and diplomacy — that how you say something is as important as what you say in the public arena — he will be an effective city councilman. If he doesn’t learn that lesson quickly, he will remain ineffective.
Come May 1, the verdict will come in, delivered by those whose opinion counts: the citizens of Franklin.
STEVE STEWART is publisher of The Tidewater News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.