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Mayor Tom Richards marks his first year in office on Wednesday.

It’s been a year filled with controversy but little chaos.

“There’s not a lot of drama,” said former mayor William Johnson, one of his opponent in last year’s special election. “I think he’s done a good job. I think he’s not flashy, very steady, approaches the office very business-like, which is good in these times.”

Johnson said Richards’ most significant move was immediately killing Assemblyman David Gantt’s attempted resurrection of mayoral control. Richards isn’t interested in reviving that debate, nor is he interested in running 131 W. Broad St.

Richards also scores high marks in his handling of PAETEC’s sale, which jeopardized the Midtown project. “He didn’t get too emotional and made the best deal he could under the circumstances,” Johnson said.

Some of my observations:

Richards knows how to bring the fight. Exhibit A: Monroe Community College’s planned move to Kodak. Richards will not go down without a battle.

Richards knows when not to fight. After the first night, he wisely did not allow Occupy Rochester to create the spectacle of mass arrests at the park. He let them camp out in the bitter cold and then left it to a court to kick out the protesters. He successfully avoided being the bad guy.

City of Rochester Communications Bureau

Richards says it may take 10 years to fill up the Midtown site. I wish there was a little more urgency and vision. I’d like to see the city attempt a true partnership on a performing arts center that could duplicate Buffalo’s success. Richards has consistently said there’s simply no money for the project. But…

Richards knows how to spend big taxpayer bucks. Like his predecessors, the mayor is not shy about giving big incentives to projects. College Town and Windstream are the latest in a long line of examples.

Richards explains things very well. Whether giving an interview to a reporter on the Sibley back taxes or presenting the city’s budget issues in community forums, he breaks it down.

Richards doesn’t panic. He didn’t get worked up over Kodak’s bankruptcy, PAETECs’ sale, Occupy Rochester, Emily Good or Buffalo’s billion-dollar-gift from the state.

Richards had a good first year. Will his administration be marked by a lot of small victories or will he go for some really big wins? If he wants a really big win, he’ll have to get fired up.

5 Responses to Not a Lot of Drama

  1. April 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm Michael Bloch responds:

    It would be interesting to know more about the Sibley building tax situation. It has been an issue for a long, long time and the City of Rochester is owed a lot of money, which it certainly could use.

  2. with the short fall i just don`t understan why he hasn`t gone after the sibely buldges ownners for all the back taxes this is something i don`t under stan wny the city is so affrade to foreclose on them

  3. April 11, 2012 at 7:39 am Animule responds:

    Tom Richards lacks the backbone to make the tough decisions and goes out of his way to avoid controversy. The Sibley building, for instance, should have been foreclosed on. Pier 45 should have also gotten the ax. If there is a touch decision to make, this guy will find a way to either delay making the decision, or punt. The influence of “big money” on many of his decisions seems obvious. He needs to stop acting like a fully owned subsidiary of Tom Wilmot and the University of Rochester, for one.

  4. April 11, 2012 at 9:50 am Peking Humonculous responds:

    Glad I’m not the only one who is less than impressed with Richards. Also glad I’m not the only one unwilling to forget this Wilmorite/Sibley’s farce. The simple fact is the last three administrations failed to do their jobs and collect a major amount of money owed to the city. Let’s get a mayor who is more concerned with the welfare of Rochester’s citizens rather than corporate welfare.

  5. April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm lynn ellingwood responds:

    Your writing made me feel better about Richards but I still dislike him. On TV he appears blunt and mean and why is it a good thing that he would fight to make MCC stay at the Sibley building. Let them go to a place where they can build a full downtown campus and get away from the trouble of downtown.

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