From time to time in the course of one's life, having lived long enough to see the machinations of local politics gone awry, one encounters a personality that commands respect, if not agreement, and watches with growing admiration as fiscal integrity is restored. Such action and resultant success is not accidental, but is the result of a determined insistence that ethics, both personal and political, become the gauge by which things are measured.
Roy Arnold, former mayor of Danville, was a man who embraced reality like an old friend. When circumstance demanded overt action he was not afraid to meet that demand head-on. When a more popular position, one that promised visible accolades, would have been easily embraced, he, knowing that such action would not serve Danville's best interests, chose the more difficult fiscal road that was often unpaved and full of uncomfortable bumps. His intention, several years ago, when re-elected during a time of civic financial chaos was to provide a strong, conservative leadership designed to allay fears of fiscal collapse. His habit, then, was to walk the streets of downtown and greet both friend and foe while asking for their opinions in matters that concerned them. He was not an "office mayor," but one of us and shared his life on a personal level with those of us who tasted defeat and victory every year. He, too, had known both emotions.