Backs against the wall

Fear and Loathing in Waynesboro column by Chris Graham

Finally, the new majority answers my criticism of the decision to close the bulk-refuse collection center. And go figure, it includes a slur aimed at the dreaded Wayne Theatre.

“It all boils down to this. The money was there, but we made the wrong decisions,” new mayor Tim Williams told The News Virginian for a story published today. “We just gave $300,000 away (to the Wayne Theatre Alliance). It’s not about always creating more money. If we spent as much time making good decisions (with the money we do have) as we do making revenue for the city, that alone would have kept the convenience center for 10 years.”

Interesting that they’re already beating the Wayne Theatre drum, isn’t it? Looks like the Era of Good Feelings, which began at 9 a.m. Tuesday with the lovey-dovey talk at the city-council reorganization meeting that had me thinking we might get six months of relative peace and tranquility in City Hall, couldn’t even make it 48 hours before passing on into the history books.

And I know I’m not the only person who’s noticed this, but when things aren’t going so well in the Lucente-Williams-Et Al camp, we end up getting inundated with Wayne Theatre slurs galore – kind of like how when President Bush is having a bad day, he gets his minions dredge up talk about international terrorists, or back when Bill Clinton was in the White House, and there was another bimbo eruption, he’d have the Navy fire off a few cruise missiles to get us thinking about something else.

What interests me is I can’t imagine why things would be tough for the Lucente camp politically right now. I mean, sure, there was the firestorm over the Doug Walker firing that has even committed conservatives calling for an explanation. And the $126,000 that we had to pay Walker not to be our city manager this fiscal year (which, incidentally, for those keeping score at home, buys us another four years at the bulk-refuse collection center).

And the questions that have arisen about what Williams and Lucente have in the works with the revival of the long-dormant Finance Committee that has to be seated according to the city charter – and whether or not the attempt is being made to throw our city-manager form of government out with the bathwater in the process.

And the stir over the rather brusque dismissal of true bipartisanship that we could have seen with the election of Lorie Smith as vice mayor.

And the revelations as to who is really running the show behind the scenes in the conservative camp.

OK, so maybe they are having a tough time over there. And actually, I’m hearing the faintest of rumblings off in the distance that there might be some internal dissension over the series of missteps that we’ve been seeing publicly. I can’t confirm any of what I’m hearing directly, because of course nobody in the Solutions Way meeting set is talking to me these days. (And I can’t say as I blame them.)

I’m reading tea leaves here, but perhaps there’s more to that than I had originally been willing to accept as possibly being true. It’s circumstantial evidence, sure, but whenever you hear them start talking about the Wayne Theatre, you can almost bet that they’re thinking that their backs are starting to get uncomfortably close to the nearest wall.

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