Why I am supporting Larry Morrissey for mayor

Why I am supporting Larry Morrissey for mayor

By Mike Leifheit

Why I am supporting Larry Morrissey for mayor

It has been some time since I have written anything for The Rock River Times. The pressures of running two restaurants, going to Chicago a couple of times a week, and the recent terrible winter weather prevented me from doing much of anything except my daily routine. But once in a while, something comes along that shakes me out of my complacency, and the mayoral race is one of those things.

Because I am a liquor license holder, conventional wisdom would dictate that I say nothing. The chances of retribution are too great. But we are at a crossroads in the development of our community, and the opportunity we have cries out for recognition.

This community is ready for a change. The time for back-room deals is over. The time for our representatives to serve every whim of the developers is at end. This is a community of the people, and given a fair chance, the people will have their say.

Doug Scott cannot be my man. In the past, I have supported Doug. I have even run fundraisers for him at my restaurant, the Irish Rose. Doug has done a fair job of following the lead of his predecessor, Zeke Giorgi. Service out of office is good, and the response time is excellent.

Doug’s major failing is one of pride or arrogance, a common theme in our local government, where the representative is no longer the servant of the people, but the boss. This is a situation where the politician knows better for us than we know for ourselves.

Don’t want a prison? You probably just don’t understand. You probably weren’t aware of the economic benefits. We’ll do your thinking for you.

Garbage contract? We’ll get you a better deal by not asking around. By the way, while you’re asking, forget that deregulation thing. That would be too hard on our buddies at good old ComEd.

Yes, Doug’s really gone out of his way to help the taxpayer.

Dennis Johnson is part of the established, entrenched power of Rockford. If you believe as I do that we very much need a change, this is one sure way not to get it.

I’m at the River District meeting. Doug Scott has been acting as if it were his meeting, greeting people at the door as if he had something to do with it. A table away sits Dennis Johnson. I introduce myself as the person who used to deliver RC Cola to H. C. Johnson Press on Broadway 30 years ago. I then say, “Hi, I’m Mike Leifheit. I own the Irish Rose.” I can see from the look in his eyes that he has no idea what I am talking about. He has quite obviously never heard of my business. He loses interest in me almost immediately, looking off in the distance or to the side as he talks to me. I am not important enough for Dennis Johnson to be very interested in me. I can’t help but compare him to Larry, whom I have seen in dozens of situations like this, giving his full attention to the person or group he is talking to. And with Larry, it’s real, not concocted.

I am reminded of a scene in The Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Raul Julia is telling a story about a scorpion who is propositioning a frog to take him across the river on his back. The very unwilling frog nervously says, “If I do that, you will sting me, and I will die.” The scorpion replies, “Why would I do that when you would sink, and then I would die too?” This makes sense to the frog, so he decides to let the scorpion ride him across the river. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog to death. When the character played by Raul Julia is asked why the scorpion did that, he replies, “Because it was his nature.” Dennis Johnson’s nature is to play with the boys. Don’t let him buy this election.

To be fair, both of these men could do an adequate job of running the city. Although one hails from the far right, and one from the far left, the intentions of both are for the good of the city, as they see it. But only Larry Morrissey has a vision for this community. Larry was talking about vision a year before Dennis Johnson announced his candidacy for the race. Larry talked about the schools from the start, leaving others to catch up.

Think about the Rockford of your dreams. It can be represented by a successful aging businessman, a machine politician or a 31-year-young Turk lawyer who dared to get involved. Which one would you perceive as indicative of a community that was on the move?

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