Sunday, February 3, 2008

Keith Bosman isn't John Antaramian

Former Kenosha Mayor Pat Moran has taken well-deserved hits here because of his ill-defined campaign to get back the job he walked away from 16 years ago. Moran promises a "new direction" which appears to be backward. He speaks in generalities without any specific plan and refuses to acknowledge that the very direction he complains of is the outgrowth of what he set in motion. Plus, he's surrounded himself with special interests favoring the liquor and tobacco industries and those who have a bone to pick with the outgoing mayor (forgetting that John Antaramian isn't on the ballot this year). Further, he's aligned himself and his thinking with the "no-sha" mentality that he eschewed when he was mayor. In short, Moran hasn't given any intelligent voter one reason to vote for him this time around and lots of reasons not to.

That said, the self-proclaimed heir apparent, former Alderman Keith Bosman, is also ill-defined. He essentially has the backing of "all the right groups" but his only sense of direction seems to be a pledge to continue the current direction.

That's not so bad, Keith, but I know John Antaramian and, well, you're no John Antaramian.

Frankly, the lame duck mayor is smart, politically connected and sometimes can be a bit of a noninclusive pit bull who doesn't suffer dissention well. There's good reason for this because the "no-sha" clan would never have moved off dead center without a hardened drill sergeant.

But I've never seen Keith Bosman with the stones that Antaramian has and it's unlikely that he could secure them. Further, it's usually even more disasterous when someone who doesn't have them tries to acquire them or pretend that he's had them all along. Kind of like a drunk short guy picking a bar fight. It seldom works.

Equally challenged is Alderman Everett Butler who has run a bizarre campaign. Butler is even more ill-defined than Moran and Bosman combined. He's made no serious attempt at seeking this job. Yes, he has a few billboards up around the city but, as any candidate knows, signs don't vote.

This is all quite sad because side-by-side Butler's resume parallel's Bosman's. So why the difference?

One reason is that Butler hasn't shown himself to be a serious candidate who's made an attempt to build a support base. Plus he has done nothing to market his accomplishments or define his vision for the city in any specific way. I won't even consider whether race is an issue because before that consideration kicks in Butler would first have to establish himself as a serious candidate. He hasn't.

Then there's "buy my way into city hall" Michael Bell who has a well-known conflict of interest in that he's suing the city over the death of his son who was shot by a police officer. The two things heard the most about the elder Bell are: (1) Doesn't he have a conflict of interest because he's suing the city? And, (2) Is revenge for his son's death his main motivation for running? The general answer to both is "yes" plus a lot of folks are turned off by his attempt to buy the job.

That leaves Scott Barter and Maria Perri, the latter a late runner who has some interesting ideas and who should focus her aspirations a bit lower at first. Maybe with additional experience and more exposure she'll be a credible candidate in the future.

Having said all of the above, maybe, just maybe, this is Scott Barter's moment.



Anonymous said...

You re correct. Keith Bosman is not John Antaramian.

But as much as I appreciate what John Antaramian has done, I don't think I would want him to be.

Don't get me wrong. John Antaramian has led Kenosha at a time when we had some significant challenges in front of us. I think he did a good job in confronting a rash of industrial brownfields. He has kept several inner-city neighborhoods from becoming blighted. He has, much to everyone's surprise, successfully gotten lakefront development underway. And he has kept our streets much safer than Racine or Waukegan.

But after 16 years in office, I think John realized it was time to move on. Bosman brings some unique strengths of his own to the office of mayor.

I would agree with you that he's not a very good campaigner. The upside to that is, usually the worst campaigners make the best mayors. Some of the best campaigners - those guys who can spin a tale the best, were lousy when they got in office.

I think the business community is really picking up steam behind Bosman because they see him as having a great deal of integrity. They also see him as a person who can get people to work together for common goals.

I'm not convinced any of the other candidates bring as much to the table as Bosman does. I worry about the allegiances Moran is buildng in his campaign. I worry Bell would not be have a workable relationship with the police department. I like Everett Butler. I think he would make a fine mayor too. But I don't think he is working hard enough to get elected.

For me Bosman brings the best chance of succeeding at what he wants to do. I think that's a good omen for Kenosha. We've come a long way and I think he can continue the progress.

Anonymous said...

To me it's all about character and you'd be hard pressed to find many individuals with more of it than Keith.