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Five, not one

Fear and Loathing in Waynesboro column by Chris Graham

“Everywhere I go I see vision. I’m sick of vision, really. I’m sick of the word.”

These are the words of the guy who thinks he’s running the show. Thank God he’s not.

Seriously, you can’t make this kind of thing up. My jaw dropped when Frank Lucente started into his diatribe on how he doesn’t like to think more than a couple of minutes ahead of where he is right at the moment.

OK, those are my words. His words – “I’m a one-project guy.” Except that he has at least two projects that I can think of on the table for discussion – one looking into whether the installation of pre-emption devices in traffic signals at targeted locations in Waynesboro could render the West End fire station that the voters approved last year moot, the second a review of how the city can build a self-sustaining Economic Development Authority.

It’s to a point where Lucente felt compelled to tell fellow council members even as he was arguing against a push from Mayor Tim Williams and council members Nancy Dowdy and Lorie Smith to have the council sit down for a (here’s that word again) visioning session that he’s “not trying to overload the staff” with all the projects that he’s throwing at the wall to see what might stick. “I’m trying to do one and say, bring it to council, and let’s do that,” Lucente said, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

“It’s hard for me to do 10 projects, 10 balls in the air. I like to do one, knock it out, go to the next. That’s just the way I do things,” Lucente said, prompting a response from Dowdy that was just hanging out there in the air for somebody to offer up. “And I understand and respect that, Frank. But there are five of us here,” Dowdy said, stating what otherwise appears to be the obvious, namely, that we don’t have a city council made of one powermonger, but rather a council made up of five members elected individually by the citizens to represent their diverse interests.

Which is to say, if the man who would be king if only Tim Williams would let him doesn’t want to be a part of the planning and strategizing that will pull this city from the doldrums that it’s been in for the past 25 years, well, we’ve got four others who can step in and take up the slack there.