A few weeks back I read that SPI Mayor Ed Cyganowicz had tossed his hat into the next congressional race - quickly retrieved it - then tossed it back in, foregoing a shot at a fourth term as our town leader. At least, I think I read that. I am questioning my own memory because I saw nothing of the flurry of new candidate announcements that usually follows such a story. To the best of my knowledge, no Island resident has come forth and proclaimed that s/he would like to be our next mayor.
I can certainly understand my fellow residents' reticence. As I understand it, the Mayorship of SPI is not exactly a high-paying position (isn't the the pay something like $1 a year...?) There is no Gracie Mansion-type dwelling provided and the cramped quarters at the current City Hall can't be all that inviting, either. When Mayor Ed took office, he probably thought his duties would be limited to the usual handshaking opportunities, refereeing the ongoing tensions between pro and anti spring break-ers, keeping the Schlitterbahn schism from tearing the town apart, etc. -- spiced up with the occasional hurricane evacuation. The barge incident that took out the causeway on 9/15 was something no one could have predicted. Who among us would have volunteered to take his place when it came time to address the freaked-out locals and traumatized tourists in that accident's aftermath?
In my humble opinion, Mayor Ed did an admirable job of rising to the occasion, proving himself no less a leader than the great Giuliani himself. If an RGV publication had the tradition of proclaiming a "man of the year" on its cover, without a doubt mayor Ed would have been a strong contender. Sure, he has had to be taken to task for flouting the town's "no ties" rule, but he accepted it with grace and good humor and we don't blame him a bit for setting his sights on a office where ties are welcomed and even expected. But where o where are we to look for his successor?
I am betting that lots of the current residents don't remember a time when Ed wasn't our Mayor, but many of the rest of us still have fond memories of the days when we had a strong woman at the helm. Hey Peggy Trahan... Bob Pinkerton.... Herb Houston...? Are you going to make us beg?
As I see it, we have been very lucky in the past with our leaders. Anyone who would be Mayor of SPI must walk a fine line and not appear to be too partial to either the empire-building developers or those who would keep SPI a quiet little beach town. S/he will have to sit through a lot of long, boring meetings and make decisions that will be unpopular with one or more factions. But the issues that will affect us all - the possibility of a new causeway, continued expansion northwards - and let's not forget the interior decoration of the new city hall offices! - must certainly prove a tempting challenge to civic-minded individuals who truly love this town.
No, I am not interested. While I won't deny that the title "Mayor Feet" has a certain ring to it, I fear that I would react like Galadriel when Frodo offers her the ring: Sand Castle Days every month! Away with the leash laws! Ban all non-essential (i.e. non-local) vehicles on the Island! No more boring meetings! Bring back Pirate Days!
See what I mean? No, I will pass that test, just as Galadriel did. But I do look forward to observing a spirited campaign season from the peanut gallery vantage point.