Let me say one thing quickly: It's obvious to me that Mayor Lovely Warren needs a security guard.
As our Chris Fien is reporting this week, both Warren and her husband have received threats of physical violence. There have been threats to their 3-year-old daughter.
These don't sound like pranks. They sound like intimidation by some very angry people. And very angry people have been doing some very violent things recently.
Warren is also the object of some of the most shockingly racist attacks imaginable, on media websites. Racist. Pornographic. Mean. And out-of-control angry.
(The worst I've seen: in Rants and Raves on Craigslist. There's so much other junk there that you'll have to wander through several days' postings, but if you want a sample, scroll through the January 17 comments.)
Warren doesn't deserve this. And I can't imagine that this hasn't affected her judgment over the past few weeks.
In some respects, Warren's administration has started out well. She got praise for some of her early appointments. By all accounts, she was instrumental in getting the CityGate-Costco project back on track.
And when a story broke about her husband's youthful-offender past, she handled it beautifully. She used it to emphasize the plight of many of Rochester's young black males – and to emphasize, as she put it, "that you don't have to end up where you start."
(And by the way: her husband was put on probation after his offense, and his record was sealed. Somebody disclosed it. They should not have. And that's not a small matter.)
But Warren has made big mistakes, too. And she hasn't handled them well.
It's no secret that we didn't endorse Warren for mayor. But like many Rochesterians – most, I'd bet – I want her to succeed. I hope she'll take a deep breath, fix the problems that are of her own creation, and move forward.
I wasn't encouraged by her discussion on WDKX's Wake-up Club on Monday, though. She said she hadn't handled her early problems as well as she should have. But then she went into push-back mode. She seemed to think that those problems are limited to things that happened long before she was elected – her husband's probation, an appointee's DWI. People who lost power when she was elected knew about those incidents before the election, she said, but they didn't think she'd win. Now they're bringing them up because they want her to fail.
Well, obviously some people have been gleefully digging up dirt. But that'll end. Warren is overshadowing those stories with her own mistakes and poor judgment. It was she, for instance, who hired her uncle as a security guard, was in the car when he was stopped for speeding – twice – and then failed to tell the truth about it.
She also showed poor judgment when she agreed to let T. Andrew Brown, her selection to head the city's law department, maintain his private law practice, where his cases have included suing the City of Rochester.
Warren took office knowing that some people didn't want her to be there. And I can understand how, given the vitriol and the racism she is facing, she could be tempted to stonewall, ignore everyone on the outside, and do what she thinks needs to be done.
But her inexperience has brought a good bit of this on, and she needs to recognize that. She needs to restore confidence: the confidence of city residents, residents of the region, developers, other public officials. To do that, she needs help. And she needs to get advice from people outside the small group she feels she can trust.
My bet is that plenty of people will be willing to provide it. If she doesn't seek it, she'll fail. And she'll let down all of us – including, sadly, the African-American community that has so much faith in her.