Best Under Fire

Mayor Michael White

The temperature at 601 Lakeside started rising at about the time of the Ku Klux Klan rally. Branded a Klan-coddler, a cop-hater, and a dictator, the mayor still managed to keep his cool. He refused to deviate from his plan to let the hatemongers say their piece in peace. Ironically, White was the only victim of violence -- when a planned détente with NAACP President George Forbes turned ugly and White narrowly avoided being pelted with crockery. Last fall, Mike Polensek cranked up the heat when he usurped the council presidency. Suddenly the mayor was under attack for his management style, his war with the cops, and his friendships with the likes of Nate Gray and Fred Nance. To his credit, the mayor granted interviews to everyone, from the news stations to the black press. No matter what was being lobbed at him -- criticism or coffeepot -- White was always himself. Proud, self-assured, and unflappable.