To accuse a man of falsehoods, to call him a liar, is usually a vile, uncivilized act, one which questions the fibre and character of the accused, and, indeed, besmirches his honor. It is not something undertaken lightly, or on a whim.
The former Mayor of the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, one Randy Kelly, is, however, a career politician. As such, deceptions and falsehoods are part of his professional stock-in-trade, and so pointing out his lies is, in an awkward and backhanded sort of way, a compliment. In fact, misleading and deceiving the citizens of his city is one of the few things he demonstrated any aptitude at. As to the risk of besmirching his honor, well, I've yet to see any evidence of honor to besmirch.
Since his 2000 campaign for Mayor, Randy Kelly promoted himself as a law-and-order candidate. He milked this at every opportunity, as in the 2004 "State of the City" address, when he said:"When I ran for mayor, my focus was on making Saint Paul safer - more livable - cleaner - and more affordable."
That focus, if it ever existed, didn't last long, and came to nothing. A year later he claimed:"Public safety remains the number one priority of this Administration."
"Remains"? I don't think so, Randy. Except when the opportunity presented itself to deceive the people of Saint Paul, public safety remained a lower priority than, say, accepting illegal gifts from local registered lobbyists. Consider this:
In his first "State of the City" public-relations stunt in 2003, Mayor Randy Kelly didn't mention public safety once. Just more than a year after 9/11, in the midst of nationwide terror alerts, the Police and Fire Departments, the "focus" on making Saint Paul "safer" and "more livable" was not mentioned once. Indeed, he instead concentrated on homelessness, another problem he's yet to find a solution to, and downsizing the city workforce:"We will have a leaner, stronger, more efficient government."
That would prove, in hindsight, to be a Very Bad Idea indeed, though it would be a while before anyone found the nerve to tell him.
As his reelection loomed, Kelly championed his prowess at being a law-and-order politician, boasting his thirty-percent reduction in crime while Mayor. "We are one of the safest urban areas in the country," he once boasted. Sadly, it just wasn't true.
According to statistics compiled by the City of Saint Paul itself, the overall reduction in reportable crime in the city during the first years while Kelly was in office is more on the order of ten percent, not thirty. And, with police calls-for-service rising steadily every year, even that doesn't tell the real story. Consider this:
Since becoming Mayor, the number of homicides in Saint Paul increased every year, nearly doubling between 2001 and 2004.
While Mayor, the number of rapes remained virtually unchanged, and had actually risen seven percent since 2002.
His term as Mayor saw robberies remain virtually unchanged.
Since his first year in office, residential burglaries had risen two percent, and commercial burglaries were up twenty percent.
Incidents of arson have rose eight percent since 2002, Kelly's first year in full control of the city.
Now, Kelly could more-or-less claim his meager ten-percent crime reduction, based largely on reduced cases of auto theft. But, while our cars may have been safer with Kelly as mayor than before, nothing changes the fact that the people of Saint Paul were now more likely to have their homes and businesses broken into, be raped, be victims of arson, and be murdered.
As Randy Kelly himself once said, as residents of Saint Paul, we do not wish just to survive, but to thrive. Both became demonstrably more difficult with him in office.
Lies, damned lies; they surround Randy Kelly like flies on a rotting carcass. He even broken his word to abide by the "2005 Saint Paul Mayor's Fair Campaign Pledge", in which he promised "I will not permit the use of any campaign material or advertisement which misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts regarding my record or that of any other candidate". In September 2005, the claim that "Crime in the city has dropped thirty percent since Mayor Kelly has been in office" appeared on his campaign's website. As I lay out above, this misrepresented, distorted, and falsified the facts regarding Kelly's record as Mayor of Saint Paul.
It's sort of a moot point; his record-setting low performance in the primary ballot is a good indicator of just how lame and impotent he has become. Desperate backtracking on his endorsement of Bush in 2004, and attempts to distance himself from the increasingly toxic scandal-ridden Republican party - which could, in and of itself, be construed as violating the "Fair Campaign Pledge" - seem not to have had any appreciable effect in a race where he received just twenty-seven percent of the vote in the primary, against now-Mayor Chris Coleman's fifty-two percent. The days of King Kelly and his cronies were numbered, for which I am profoundly thankful. It's unclear what his future plans are, but I'm confident he'll continue his proud traditions of croneyism, dishonesty, insincerity, hypocrisy, and mediocrity.
Good riddance, Randy, you lieing little hypocrite!