BEST MAYOR - 2003
As anyone who reads a newspaper knows, these are wretched times to be mayor of a Minnesota city. Most days, Gov. Tim Pawlenty appears to be either fundamentally indifferent or downright hostile to the fate of the cities. The state budget crisis has provided him with ideal political cover to yank local government aid, which is a fundamental component of many municipal budgets. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the measure of success for big-city mayors like Minneapolis's R.T. Rybak and St. Paul's Randy Kelly will not be whether they can improve the quality of life in their respective cities; it will be whether they can hold hell at bay until their terms expire. But mayors can play another important role. They can entertain. And no mayor has been as consistently entertaining as the controversial boy mayor of Roseville, John Kysylyczyn. Now we don't claim to be familiar enough with Kysylyczyn's record to pass meaningful judgment on his policies and politics. But whatever else you want to say about him ("time to buy a vowel," maybe?), the guy has a sense of humor. Last summer, when members of an anti-Kysylyczyn group protested in front of his house and called for his resignation, Kysylyczyn gleefully entered the fray with a placard of his own. It read "Death to the Mayor."