For Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary, it’s one thing to try to show strength in the face of adversity. It’s quite another to show blatant disregard for those who may well boot him from the office he currently holds.
Last week the petitions to recall Mayor Seminary were turned in. Not just the minimum requirement of signatures equaling 25% of voters in the last mayoral election, but petitioners gave themselves a cushion by collecting 600 extra signatures on top of that.
In response to the submission of the petitions, the mayor held a press conference to make a statement and to answer questions. However, he made it very clear in his opening statement that he would only accept questions from "credentialed media". A stipulation he undoubtedly implemented to avoid questions from any opposition in the room.
Yet, we learned a lot from the press conference. Mainly that Mayor Seminary can come across as arrogant and reluctant to address issues.
In his opening statement, Seminary cited a day of meetings that he had in which he was unavailable to the media. Within the brief moments he explained his meetings, he cited the names of U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer, State Senator Tom Campbell, and then somehow linked it all to President Trump. It came across as an odd display of an attempt to appear… well… important.
When asked about his accomplishments, Seminary had the audacity to claim there wasn’t enough time to cover them all. And not only that, but that he had a list of about 33 of these accomplishments in his apps. Between his comments about Rep. Cramer, Senator Campbell, President Trump, and his accomplishments; I wonder if his arm was sore from patting himself on the back?
The mayor’s opening statement wasn’t the only example of his unwillingness to address questions and concerns from those seeking his removal. He also refused to answer a question from "credentialed media" about the petitioners’ complaints about him; citing that he had previously addressed those issues and would do so again in future debate.
One reporter inquired whether the fact that there were enough people to sign the petitions changed how he approaches policy issues at all. His response, "No. None. Doesn’t change me at all." An odd statement from a man who may be on the chopping block. I wonder if he forgets that there is a segment of Bismarck citizens who may be undecided and could well be a deciding factor in his future as mayor? How do statements like this appear to these people?
Seminary simply comes across as desperate, arrogant, and out of touch. Given the fact that it appears the equivalent of over 25% of voters in the last mayoral election signed a petition for his removal, I would think a dose of humility and willingness to at least understand those who oppose him would be in order. But no, it seems he has just buckled down and is going to portray himself as the mayor that can do no wrong.
Aside from all of this, his most ridiculous statement came in response to the question, "Do you think this is an extra expense to the city?" Seminary shot back, "It’s gonna cost the city and taxpayers a boatload." How much is a "boatload" to the mayor? According to him $50,000.
An interesting figure from a man who was party to slapping Bismarck residents Kim and Diane Martin with $57,000 worth of special assessments that nearly cost them their home not long ago. Thankfully they were bailed out by the neighboring development company responsible for the project that led to the special assessments.
I don’t know how the recall election will play out. But should Mayor Mike be ousted, he will have one person – and one person only – to blame. And that person stares back at him when he looks in the mirror.
Arrogance? Disconnected? Both? You decide. But neither is becoming of a man who is supposed to serve the people he claims to "love", but insists on marginalizing them by refusing to address their complaints and describing them as "convoluted".