I really think it's all perception. Case in point...
As a bard in a little one off game 'cause the other players were late, I had kidnapped the mayor's daughter in a small town and set it up so her lover was the only one that could get past all of my 'traps' and such to rescue her... mainly, I pretended to be evil even though I did do some pretty questionable things, that would make me evil according to some posters. no one died though so that was good. (I think)
End result though was that the mayor was ousted as proof of his spending the town's profits on his habits appeared (not something folks could stomach), his daughter who I had kidnapped married the hero I coached (in disguise) to step up and save his lover...
It all worked out. Though.. when the party rolled through, there was an awkward moment or two.
Mayor: "do I know you?"
Me: "Oh no, not at all. Oh! Look at the time I have to go, BYE..."
According to the town, I was evil. (They were pretty naive too about what evil was, but I'm not holding that against them.) According to the paladin in the party, I was evil (or damned near!) and couldn't understand why I would even consider it. I should have focused only on the mayor and not dragged anyone else into it.
Well.. ok, so say I did get rid of the mayor, what happens then? Who takes over? Does it descend into chaos? am I going to babysit it through the transition?
So my methods stunk! So be it... but they were better then being tied down to a town and seeing it through. That and his daughter and the new mayor were happy finally.