Monday, March 20, 2006

Is It Time For Mayor Rybak To Step Down?

Is it time for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to step down from his position as mayor?

My original theory on his lack of leadership over the past year or so as his city was disintegrating around him was that he was indifferent to the crime problems, and pre-occupied with reweaving and the like. I've since come to a different conclusion: The mayor is in way over his head. He simply doesn't know what to do.

Perhaps ex-Chief McManus recognized this characteristic of the mayor. I was always loathe to place much of the blame for the crime spike on McManus, although it tracked closely with his tenure. As many have noted, he was thrust into a bad situation. Of course, some pre-arrival research might have resolved that, but it might be too much to expect that outsiders could comprehend the level of dysfunction in the city prior to getting in the mix.

Mayor Rybak has long since lost control of his city to the criminal element. Actually, he probably lost control sometime last year. Whatever the case, Uptown, and by extension Minneapolis proper, is facing an unprecedented public relations nightmare. Of all the crimes that have occurred on Mayor Rybak's watch, this one in particular struck a nerve and is receiving heavy media coverage.

That wasn't the case in 2005.

I understand that Minneapolis has a weak-mayor system in which the City Council really runs the show. But the mayor is the de facto leader and figurehead. His position is symbolic of the city.

Mayor Rybak should recognize the crisis and do the honorable thing: step down as mayor of Minneapolis.