For Policy not Poses

What I’m going to do

Why am I running for mayor and what will I do when I win? It all comes together under transparency, outreach, and policy.

On a separate page, I make the point in the environmental context that there’s a big difference between conducting a policy and striking a pose. Unfortunately our city government rarely gets beyond striking a pose, if that far.

Let’s take another look at the city manager issue. The mayor and mayoral candidates who oppose the proposal so strongly misunderstand the mayor’s role, and therefore see the city manager as eliminating that role. It might help to stop calling a city manager a “CEO,” which is potentially misleading, and instead thinking, in modern corporate parlance, of a “COO,” or chief operating officer.  Do you remember when it hit the news that President Carter personally scheduled the White House tennis courts, and how silly it made him look?

The president’s job, and the mayor’s, is leadership, not tennis court scheduling or pothole triage. If a mayor sees his or her job as pothole triage, then yes, he or she will fear that the city manager proposal marginalizes the mayor’s job.  But a mayor who understands that leadership is about policy will be pleased to be able to devote full time to that higher calling.

Leadership includes reaching out to our citizens, listening to all of them, not just the ones we agree with, building consensus, developing policy, explaining the policy, and following it fairly and evenly. Leadership includes walking all our streets, including the rough ones, and talking to residents and business people about what we should be doing together to make our city the best it can be. Leadership includes reaching out to our sometimes adversaries, such as the county executive and the superintendent of schools, whomever we need to talk to to get the job done. Leadership includes marketing our policy choices, explaining why we chose them, not burying them in a budget without explanation. Leadership includes candor about our finances: no more will we say “we have held the line on property taxes, ” when the reality is that “we didn’t need to raise the tax rate because assessments have gone up more than 80% in the past eight years.”

It’s simple.  It’s all about transparency, outreach, and policy.

Polaroid transfer print by Libby Cullen

Polaroid transfer print by Libby Cullen

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