I can see the headlines now:
“Fireworks Snafu Blamed for Mayor McDonald’s Failed Re-election Bid!”
Or how about this:
“Hundreds Of Angry Citizens Protest City Hall! Chant “What do we want? Fireworks! When do we want them? Now!!”
The much anticipated rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air this past July 3rd at BPACC arrived a little late. From what I understand, the vendor’s Mother Board – which I assume is the brains of the entire show – went kaplooie. They had to drive to their store on Winchester in Memphis to get a replacement.
Should they have had a spare on hand for just such an occurrence? Maybe. But had it ever happened before? No. At least not in the past 15 or so shows that I’ve attended. Will they carry a spare from now on?
Now on that I would bet the farm.
My wife and I waited until shortly before 10 that night. We then decided to avoid the traffic and drove on home. Thursday morning I got up early and, as I normally do, went on Facebook. One of the first postings was Mayor Keith McDonald’s apology to Bartlett.
For those of you who are not privileged to have been friended on Facebook by our mayor, don’t feel too bad. I would imagine I am in a very select group of folks, having also been given his personal cell phone number as well.
OK, so he had, at last count, 141 likes and 42 comments. So I’m part of a large and very select group of folks.
Anyway, of the 42 comments, 39 were upbeat. Most said something to the effect of, “Mayor. Relax. It wasn’t your fault. We still had a great time. Stuff happens. We were there with family and friends. We enjoyed every minute.”
And so on.
To the three who wrote negative comments, I appreciate and support your right to complain. That’s what this country is all about.
But I will say this to you: In the grand scheme of things in this city, isn’t it nice that a late start to a fireworks show is probably the worst thing we can gripe about?
We were able to gather by the thousands that evening and feel completely safe. We had scores of Bartlett’s finest, ready and able to help should any emergency arise.
Our streets are safe, smooth and clean. The grass is always cut. There are beautifully landscaped areas at our city limit lines welcoming folks to Bartlett.
I would put our Sanitation Department up against any other on the planet. I’ve lived here for almost 28 years and there hasn’t been one single missed pickup. Not one. And whatever you put out on the curb, they’ll get it. Just an incredibly efficient government entity.
Our police and fire live for the opportunity to protect and serve. I occasionally, in my line of work, have had to call BPD for assistance. Their response was immediate and in every instance they seized control of the situation and resolved the problem.
On the two occasions I have needed Bartlett Fire, I was overwhelmed by their abilities, their bravery and their determination to get it done. On one occasion, they saved my home. On another, they saved my wife’s life.
Literally saved her life.
My family and I remain deeply grateful for both.
Our city’s government is squeaky-clean. Their focus is on Bartlett and not on themselves. From time to time my profession requires that I go to city hall for signatures. Every time I am greeted with a smile and they are more than happy to accommodate me.
I believe Mayor McDonald is the 4th mayor since I’ve lived here. All I can say is: they just keep getting better. He is visible, accessible and always glad to see you. I’ve had the pleasure to interview him several times since his first election. Somehow, at the end of each, he made me feel I was doing him a favor and not the other way around.
Bottom line? I just don’t believe he needs to worry, on the next election, that someone will say, “You know, I was gonna vote to reelect Mayor McDonald, but there was that late fireworks show back in ‘13…”
And I submit that there was not one thing he could have done that would have prevented the late start. That was all on the vendor. Our Mayor had no reason whatsoever to make that apology to the city.
But isn’t it just amazing that he did?
I’d like to share one Facebook comment from the Mayor’s post. I think it hits the American nail right on the head. It’s from Edgar Babian:
“It just gave people a little more time to celebrate and think about our independence. We did not get it without a few bumps in the road and all good things take time. Thanks for being a great and caring mayor!!!”
Kind of says it all, doesn’t it?