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Dec 31, 2013
Resigning Flint Mayor Don Williamson still wants to be Michigan's governor
A story from M-live.com. WHAT a joke????
FLINT, Michigan -- Don Williamson still wants to be Michigan's governor, even though he doesn't want to be Flint's mayor anymore.
Williamson announced Monday that he is resigning due to health reasons, including kidney stones and sinus infections. But he said there's no reason that should keep him from making a run for governor in 2010.
"I am running for governor," said Williamson, 75, who would compete in a Democratic primary. "My doctor told me that I need rest. So in the next six to eight months I'll get some rest and then I should be back in perfect condition. Just as soon as I get my health straightened out, I'll be on my way."
The mayor, whose last day in office is Sunday, was facing a Feb. 24 recall election before he resigned.
The mayor announced his campaign for governor last spring, and there are still "Williamson for Governor" signs up at his downtown headquarters.
Resident Henry Limbrick said he "wouldn't put it past him."
"It is odd, but that's the mayor," Limbrick said. "You never know what he's going to do."
When asked whether he thought resigning from the city would affect his chances to be elected governor, Williamson said his record as mayor will help him win.
"I'm going to go down as the greatest mayor this city has ever had," Williamson said.
Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics, said Williamson's chances of capturing the governor's seat are near zero. He said the mayor resigned just as the city's budget situation was spiraling downward, which hurts his reputation.
"There wasn't any chance before, and there certainly isn't any chance now that he's resigned," Ballenger said.
Larry Ford, director of the city's downtown development authority and a Williamson ally, said the mayor's pride might have been a factor in his insisting he's running for governor.
"We'll see about that," Ford said. "I don't know whether he will or not."
Williamson also said that he could do a better job with the state's finances than Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
"I can do a better job than they're doing, blindfolded and on my deathbed," Williamson said.
The city went from a $6.4-million surplus in 2006-07 to an $8.3-million deficit in 2008-09, and the city's auditors have said the financial picture for this year is not improving.
Northside resident Carolyn Spight said the mayor is turning into a joke.
"How is he going to run the state when he can't run the city?" Spight said. "He's making us the laughingstock of the state."
Flint City Councilwoman Jackie Poplar said the mayor is "not thinking straight."
"He's delirious," Poplar said. "He never ceases to amaze me."
Williamson said the doubters will soon be eating crow.
"People who say these things, I pity them," Williamson said. "These are people who have never done anything productive in their lives."
I didn't know he was stepping down, and honestly, I'm kind of sad to see him go. He was a constant source of amusement when I was at NBC25. He rode into office while Flint was under state take-over, often issuing orders contrary to those from the state-appointed administrator. He heard the mayor was allowed to have a police car at his disposal, and when told there wasn't one the police department could spare, he simply took a car off his wife's Buick lot and painted it to look like a police car. When the Flint Journal printed some unflattering info about him, he barred city employees from reading the paper, then tried to arrest a paper boy who refused to give him a list of city employees who subscribed. When the city council made some budget moves the mayor disagreed with, "The Don" held the greatest press conference in history, wearing a red, white, and blue hardhat and claiming he had called the county sheriff to "reserve" jail cells for council members, all while a police officer in the background begins visibly regretting his decision to show up for work that day. He won't go down in history as the greatest mayor Flint has ever seen, but he will go down as the most entertaining.