If nothing else, Melton has always had the ability to move a crowd. Sometimes the facts didn’t support the big talk, but that little detail never stopped the crowd from applauding in approval. If only things were that simple. If only the accomplishments that Melton cited could be fully attributable to his term in office. But they can’t and both the crowd and Melton know it.

The truth is, Melton’s time in office has been one of tumult for both the man and the city he’s so haplessly failed to lead. Lawyers defending him from horrible lapses in judgment have collected tens of thousands of dollars from his personal finances. He’s lost so much money that it is conceivable that a man who made millions as a former TV executive won’t be able to pay off a relatively mere $6,000 owed in property taxes.

In November he faces another court date and the same allegations that he led a group that ripped apart a personal residence because he said the place was a crack house. He beat those charges in state court last spring. Who knows if he’ll get the same result in federal court, which is the venue for the new trial.

Melton looks like a worn and defeated man. He tried hard to show the spark that catapulted him into office in 2005, but the drain of fighting continuous legal battles and his admitted lack of patience for the slow pace of government have taken him down hard.

He continues to say he will run for re-election, but after watching his speech one wanders if even he has doubts about continuing on. City government isn’t what it appears to be. It is not glamorous or fun, unless one finds pleasure in talking about street repairs or sewerage problems.

CL Opinion
8/24/8