The deal-killing Phipps postcard: “Two Way Streets, where feasible.”


Greg Phipps (D) is the incumbent 3rd district councilman. His challenger is Dale Bagshaw (R), who was his party’s nominee for mayor in 2011.

Dale was reading a few weeks ago when I expressed support for those council candidates openly supporting two-way streets.

For what it’s worth, and speaking only for myself, my votes in the forthcoming election will go to those city council candidates who have publicly advocated for two way streets. First-time Republican at-large candidate Al Knable is one, along with Democratic incumbents John Gonder (at large) and Greg Phipps (my own 3rd district).

Since then, John has circulated a questionnaire omitting any explicit mention of two-way streets (I’ve since learned that the omission was a printing error and was rectified) and now there’s this card of Greg’s, as harvested from its resting place on an Elm Street sidewalk.

Let’s hope Al remains on board.

Dale knew what I’d written, and in spite of it, he still came to my door two nights ago while walking the neighborhood. We stood on the porch for twenty-five minutes, talking local issues, among them two-way streets. Dale said that while streets must remain accessible to commerce, he has started to see the merits of complete streets.

That’s demonstrable forward movement on Dale’s part, and as we all learned in childhood, the opposite of forward is backward, bringing us to the underlined passage on Greg’s card. Time and again, Greg has stated publicly that he’d stake his political career on two-way streets.

Now, with an election looming, he has affixed a disclaimer: “Where feasible.”

One candidate is moving forward, openly and honestly, and the other backward in a Gahan-induced pea soup fog.

In July, I attended a meeting of the East Spring Street Neighborhood Association, during which Greg Roberts indicated there would be an ESNA candidate forum prior to the election. Supposedly the candidates all would have a chance to be heard, but the forum never took place, and when I asked Greg Phipps about it last week via Fb message, he didn’t recall such an event ever being mentioned even though he was present at the same meeting I attended.

Dale told me that he asked Greg if the two of them might arrange a 3rd district candidate forum, only to have the idea dismissed out of hand by the incumbent. When I asked Greg about this, the conversation abruptly ended.

Returning to my words in September:

Yes, at times I’ve been disappointed with both Gonder and Phipps. However, I believe they’ve been sullied and bullied by Jeff Gahan’s egotistical toxicity and the formless intellectual vacancy of the reigning Democratic Party leadership, and are deserving of another chance and another dance with a mayor who, at long last, actually “gets it,” which I do.

Dear reader, if you were me, what would you do?

A house divided against itself cannot stand, and intellectual honesty still matters to me. It matters more than just about anything else, but there’s also consistency, transparency, and simple decency. Throughout my campaign, I’ve continued to stress the dignity of conscience, and I’ve parsed every possible combination of these factors in search of a way that might allow me to be cognizant of Greg’s position.

But: Occam’s Razor.

Perhaps I’m trying to hard, and the simplest answer is the best.

Perhaps conscience, transparency and intellectual honesty are my issues, not theirs, and what I’m seeing in this town right now — paranoia, fear and cowardice foremost among them — is exactly as it appears.

Perhaps Team Gahan has poisoned this civic well so thoroughly that Kool-Aid flows from every tap, into every overflowing storm water receptacle.

By all rights, Greg Phipps and I should be comrades in arms. But it’s Dale Bagshaw who came to my house and asked for my vote. It’s Dale, not Greg, who has listened, conversed and interacted.

My vote isn’t about whether I like Greg and Dale, because I like them both. It’s about sleepless nights, of which I’ve experienced a few since 2011, when I voted for Jeff Gahan. It’s a mistake I won’t ever repeat, and right now, a vote for Greg Phipps is a vote for Jeff Gahan, irrespective of bullying, moon phases, Kool-Aid, spin the bottle or any other extraneous excuses I might deploy to alter fundamental reality.

I simply can’t do that, and whether it hurts my mayoral campaign or helps it by saying so publicly matters less to me than being honest. I know Greg and I as yet agree on numerous issues, but in the absence of transparency — without two-way communications — we cannot build on what I’m otherwise sure exists. I’m not playing this game any longer. I never was very good at it, anyway.

Dale’s got my vote.