Remember the speculation at play at the prospect of Joe Redner defeating Gwen Miller in their City Council run-off? They ranged from “what-the-hell, shake-up-the-establishment” scenarios to ultimate distraction to progressively green, smart growth advocacy.
But could anyone have imagined an assertive Gwen Miller? Talk about worst-case scenario. It transcends a major-market hub city merely having an inarticulate, issues-challenged chairperson presiding over its city council.
It’s apparent in the council’s new dynamic. Not all of Miller’s peers were supportive of her last candidacy, and Miller has neither forgotten nor forgiven. It manifested itself right away in skewed committee assignments and continues in a less-than-subtle, dismissive attitude. As if colleagues were obligated to show fealty to an embarrassment in their midst.
As to voters who weren’t supportive, well, they now have another reason to remain that way. With all the talk about budget-cutting – and Miller’s expressed reluctance to go along with the mayor’s request to slash council spending – she found a dubious priority. She ordered two flat-screen televisions — worth more than $1,000 — for her office and the city council receptionist.
It took Darrell Smith, Mayor Pam Iorio’s chief of staff, to save her from herself by talking her out of it – and suggesting that monitoring council meetings on a computer just might suffice during demanding fiscal times.
Miller, it would appear, should have been content with what her politically correct, euphemistic legacy had been prior to her recent re-election: “quiet” and “easy to lobby.”