Saturday, November 29, 2008

Putting People First

A blog reader posted below the answer of Doug Thompson, the outstanding columnist in The Morning News, when asked about Lioneld Jordan, Fayetteville's Mayor-Elect. Thompson did not quote from Jordan's campaign website, mention the debates, or even reference a newspaper article on the campaign. Instead, he drew his conclusion from incidents that did not make the news and had nothing to do with the recent campaign. Here's how Thompson tells it:

"So what's this new mayor-elect of Fayetteville like anyway, a friend from Little Rock asked Wednesday.

"There's this party every August in Hogeye, I said. A lot of folks including local media people go to it. Therefore, politicians started coming. Several mayor's candidates came this year.Lioneld Jordan was the only mayor's candidate to bring any food. He was also the only one to send a thank you note afterward.

"Jordan won't speak perfect BBC broadcaster English when you meet him, but he's a gentleman in deeper ways, I said.

"Why did I tell my friend about that trivial incident from August? Because that little incident's characteristic of Jordan. He's considerate, which is something similar to but not the same as being polite or responsive.

"I was writing this column Wednesday night. A couple of guys from the paper came back in the office that evening. They told me that Jordon was down at the Yvonne Richardson Center. He was helping dish out free dinners. There was no media announcement that he'd be there.

"Jordan didn't win this race just because he's a nice guy. He won because he convinces people they matter to him. If he's faking it, he's a better actor than Robert De Niro."

That is a hopeful assessment of Jordan. You can tell much about a person's character by what they do when they think no one is watching. We will be watching what he does once in office as well, and we will be quick to point out whenever we are disappointed if he fails to meet the standards he has set for himself and his administration. Will he continue to put people first?

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