October surprise?

Of course, given the way things work for us weekly journalists, by the time you read this column on paper, Kevin Johnson could be all in or he may have just decided to fold in fear of the Fargo Juggernaut.

Indeed, in one of the Bee’s follow-ups on the story over the weekend, Mayor Heather Fargo’s consultant Richie Ross told reporter Terri Hardy, “Kevin is in for the rudest awakening of his life.” Then Hardy went on to remind readers about Johnson’s tangles with city code enforcement over his many Oak Park properties.

But a friend and long-time City Hall watcher suggested Upfront look at the whole slumlord issue the other way around.

Consider that neighborhood groups had been complaining for years about Johnson’s property. It wasn’t until October that those complaints were splashed over the front page of the Bee.

If Johnson is thinking about running for mayor now, it seems reasonable to suppose he was thinking about it back in the fall. He might have started talking to local movers and shakers back around that time, and the rumor could easily have reached the ears of his would-be political opponents.

Stories get brought to a reporter’s attention for all kinds of reasons. Was Johnson’s October surprise in Oak Park the result of some sort of pre-emptive strike? Did KJ get swift-boated? All speculation, of course. And it’s almost too cynical, even for Upfront, to contemplate. Almost.