Will the mayor please stand up and say something?
I'm talking about the pathetic spectacle I witnessed Thursday night at an east-side church.
Mayor Dave Bing held a town hall meeting, not because he wanted to but because he was required to by law.
The church was filled with a posse of cops and laid-off city workers and citizens afraid to walk their own blocks. They let Hizzoner have it, raining down on him with an avalanche of ridicule and humiliation, stuff I am not allowed to repeat here.
It must have been a heavy load because the mayor couldn't bring himself to stand -- not even once -- to address the people.
He was a gray man in a gray suit. A shifty-eyed squirrel cornered by a clowder of cats. He was feeble.
Imagine other mayors in times of hardship -- Coleman Young, Rudy Giuliani, even Rahm Emanuel in Chicago -- trying to hide behind their nameplates.
Bing, as is his custom, had nothing to offer a city in need of hope. The former NBA star was an empty pair of high-tops.
What might he have said if he had the courage to stand and bang his heel on the pulpit? He could have told police he was taking their money because it was a necessary sacrifice and that he would be reinvesting some of that money into the department to make the city and their workplace safer.
But all the mayor could muster was some lame sociology that it was the community's obligation to stop the violence in their community.
He was howled down for that one.
Someone asked Bing about his plan to turn over Belle Isle to the state. Instead of standing tall behind his decision, perhaps explaining that it was a money saver, that the suburbs would pick up most of the tab, that the park would once again be clean and safe, he waffled: "We do not have a deal. We have a format for understanding."
What does that mean?
How a guy can back-pedal and juggle while sitting in a chair amazed everybody. Hey, I said, that's why he's a hall of famer.
Bing's tongue along with his courage must have gone numb sitting in that chair because when he was summoned to give his closing remarks, he slipped out the back -- the police protecting him from the police.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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