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Mayor Matt Driscoll: The exit interview -- part 1

As the 2001 Mayoral Odyssey lurched between sirens in the street and the flood of white folks to the suburbs which reduced the city's population by 100,000 in a generation, Syracuse was becoming a working class town with all the factories closing. The campaign mantra heard ad nauseam which heralded, "Where there is no vision, the people perish," numbed the electorate, and when hotly contested mayoral primaries for both major parties were cancelled in the wake of 9/11, the non-mid-stream horse changing adage came into play. The horse of that course was Matt Driscoll, who won the week later primary, although he had not carried the Democrats' designation. Ironically, Driscoll had been placed on the City Hall mount, an incumbent with an asterisk, by Republican Roy Bernardi leaving office early to take a job in the Bush administration.

Four years later, ironies continued to abound, as Driscoll needed a flood of labor union volunteers from out of town to help get out a vote total which beat Republican Joanie Mahoney by only a whisker, with the registration rolls overwhelmingly Democratic. It was all about Destiny, with lines in the lakefront sand drawn and redistricted, the people's vision darkened by rhetoric and rumor. For strategy, Driscoll drew on his experience as a baseball player and tavern owner, moving one base at a time and not sounding last call until Pyramid paid its tab. Risking references of a journey to Oz, he recast the environs as the Emerald City, although the greenery is often hard to envision. But it parlayed him a good job with the state, and mention as a possible running mate in next year's gubernatorial race.

I was going to ask if you're relieved, but you're jumping into a major challenge immediately, with no time for transition.

Well, no, there's not going to be a transition for me. I don't know that relieved is a good word. Evidently I didn't get the lame duck memo. I'm still working ten hours a day here, and my intention is to work up until I'm done. I'm termed out at the conclusion of December 31. Then I will be going right to work in my new position as president and CEO or the Environmental Facilities Corporation.

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