Yesterday Deena Winter's article in the Journal Star was an interview with Mayor Seng
. A couple quick reactions: (The questions are bold
, Mayor Seng's responses are in italics
, and my comments are in regular text.)
What criticism of you and your tenure as mayor is most unfair?
People complain about the strangest things these days. It's very difficult to pick out one single thing. There will be people that will complain about my hair and there will be people who will compliment my hair, which has absolutely nothing to do with being mayor. ... the smoking ban, guns.
Hold on a second, did Mayor Seng just say that the smoking ban and the recent concealed carry kerfuffle have "absolutely nothing to do with being mayor"? Or did Deena Winter really butcher what Mayor Seng said by inserting an ellipse in a bad spot? If it isn't the latter, then Mayor Seng has some bizarre ideas about what criticisms are fair and and which are unfair.
Do you think some of the criticism of you is age or gender-based?
Yes. It has been, and we've noticed that on e-mails that come in. Do they criticize Tom Osborne because of his age?
Sorry Mayor Seng, but don't even try to flatter yourself with a comparison to Tom Osborne. Osborne's situation is far removed from yours.
That said, I don't disagree that some of the criticisms sent Mayor Seng's way are unfairly related to the combination of her age and gender.
Is there anything you'd do differently if you had a chance to do it over again?
No. I didn't ever plan to be mayor. I wasn't ever sure I'd be on the City Council. I might have been on City Council earlier if I'd raised enough money. I might have raised more money for the mayor's race.
This, in my opinion, is a terrible answer. Given an opportunity, among a completely benign audience of one polite reporter, to own up to one mistake -- any mistake -- she made as mayor, Seng weaseled out. Tacky.
Have you or your administration been a barrier to growth?
People have wanted to say that, for as long as I know, about Lincoln government. If you're in it to do a quick and fast (project) to make a buck, then yes, you might think that.
Her answer doesn't really do anything to address why developers so often negatively compare doing business in Lincoln to doing business elsewhere. Surely there's something deeper going on that could be addressed, even if it's something as small as changing perceptions. Gallup wasn't in it for a quick buck; neither was Tractor Supply Company; nor Wal-Mart; nor were several other companies that Lincoln lost out on or said no to. What of them, Mayor Seng?
Will NU beat USC?
The team looked good last Friday.
Uhh, what? She knows the Huskers are a college team that plays on Saturdays, right? (I'll just let this one slide as a Bushism.)
If there's one thing you would change about Lincoln, what would it be?
Have more north-south roads go all the way from the city limits on both sides.
I agree. But I wonder: if that's the one
thing she could change about Lincoln, why didn't she do more to north/south transportation during her tenure?
What is Neal Obermeyer (a freelance political cartoonist for the Journal Star) going to do without you?
I wish he would come up here. We've invited him. I think he'd probably be really surprised if he met me.
Hmm, what do you think would surprise Neal about Mayor Seng? It'd be pretty surprising if he walked into her office and she were wearing a bikini. Maybe she's a huge NASCAR fan. Or maybe she once dated Winston Churchill. Other than that, I just can't think of many things about her that would surprise Neal.