Somebody needs to pinch Frank Pignanelli and tell him he’s not going to be mayor of Salt Lake City. At least not in this election. You’d think those close to him would do the pinching. Let’s see who they are. For starters, there’s Dave Jones. Dave is one very decent guy, a nice man. So nice that he apparently couldn’t say no to Frank when asked to come aboard to help with his campaign. Frank and Dave go waaaayyy back, you know, serving time together in the Utah State Legislature. Trouble is, not much about the Legislature girds one with the leadership skills requisite to being a mayor.
Unless you count bullshitting the public, of course.
Last week, Dave stood by his man Frank during a Main Street media event as Pignanelli proposed—again—that Main Street was dying and suggested it was Rocky Anderson’s fault that Main Street was fraught with vacancies. By my scorecard, that’s a bunch of bull. The face of Main Street has been changing for more than 20 years, ever since the city allowed for two malls in downtown Salt Lake City. Those malls sucked the life out of Main Street. And where was Frank? For some of that period he was taking dollars from Nordstrom as a paid lobbyist (the chosen career path of many former legislators who figure out there’s even more money in giving money than taking it). That’s the same Nordstrom that ate Auerbach’s and anchored a mall that kept Main Street on the quivering plank.
Now, he’s all for Nordstrom moving to Gateway. He told The Salt Lake Tribune he was for that move as long as the Gateway developers “forego millions owed them by the city.” That’s nice talk that cannot, and will not, be backed up by Frank Pignanelli or any other mayor. But that’s all Frank has provided in this race anyway—just a bunch of talk. It began with the facetious swipes at Anderson for going by “Rocky” Anderson rather than his given name of Ross (Frank’s real name is Francis) and culminated with his run to Hollywood, claiming that Anderson’s “Rocky II” slogan was a copyright infringement. That’s what passes for leadership in the Pignanelli campaign.
Standing with Dave and Frank last week was Rep. Ralph Becker. Our office is located in Becker’s district, as is Main Street. For all the love and support Becker was showing Frank, it must be fairly noted that Becker has never set foot in our office—but that doesn’t stop him from asking me for campaign donations every couple of years. Becker hasn’t been very vocal about Main Street generally, not even the Plaza portion, which effectively bisects his district. Neither Becker nor Pignanelli have given our company one whit of consideration, advice or counsel regarding our pending move to the very Main Street they think is so screwed up.
Events like Pignanelli’s are useful only to people who don’t like Rocky or who live in South Jordan. I suppose that’s the method learned when playing before the unwashed on Capitol Hill, where it’s expected that no one say anything really useful or constructive.
Along with many other businesses, we’re investing in Main Street with our own dollars, not sound-bite rhetoric. Until Frank understands that, he’s in need of a good pinching.