Vice Mayor Howard Gentry's campaign manager stopped by to chat recently while we were working out in the yard. When the conversation inevitably turned to his candidate (we were acquainted before Gentry's candidacy), I told him quite frankly that I was a little disappointed that no one in the field had taken up the mantle of "neighborhoods mayor," yet. I pointedly said that I hadn't expected it from Bob Clement and especially not Buck Dozier, but I told him that I had hoped that Gentry would at least attempt that appeal to neighborhood leaders. The G-man replied that when the time was right he would. He also said that Gentry does believe that neighborhood groups are important, but that he also wants to expand the emphasis so that neighborhood groups work together with "other groups." He tried to reassure me that Gentry would make that larger appeal soon. I also got his word that Gentry would keep the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods as it has been under Purcell.
I came away from our chat not certain of exactly what Gentry would do to continue to promote neighborhood interests the way that Mayor Purcell has. But so far, he seems at the very least the lesser of three evils; as in, "the least imbalanced toward big business development irrespective of neighborhood interests." As I told the manager, though, we're still waiting to hear something from him. If an honest to goodness neighborhood candidate steps into the race, Howard Gentry will lose any chance at my vote. He had better get on his horse.