Like you, Mr. Tilley, I have been amazed by the unceasing “rise against the machine.” They have managed to derail my personal hope to see our city directors move into strategic thinking mode.
Instead, they have created a new inertia. Indeed, their Loud over Logic approach while unfettered has recently gained in strength.
It’s no wonder. People like spicy and sour flavors, which is nothing new. The same focus upon the loud is the same dynamic that permitted an ill-conceived 1992 Perot/Vice Admiral Stockdale pairing, the catapult of Jesse Ventura into the Wisconsin capitol, and invited an unseasoned Palin onto a national stage.
Politics and public policy represent the Roman Coliseum of our day. It offers nothing short of a modern blood sport. Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame is now 500 characters of rhetoric. We cheer and jeer the enemy combatants on the sidelines enjoying our daily fodder as a break from our boring work-a-day jobs and nag-a-day marriages. We have become oblivious as our Rome burns.
Yet, valid points have been made, albeit redundantly.
No one has yet to own the debacles of the past and the unclear communications of the present. This has only ratcheted up the debates. Attempts to legitimize the process, such as the ad hoc committee, were tainted by ironfisted appointments and a lack of third party input. Without ownership of fault/neglect/lack of foresight/lack of consensus, the findings became somewhat vaudevillian. How far a simple, “Folks, we f’d up. It’s fixable but with shared pain,” would have taken us.
“The Proven Feckless” may have the way but have been weak on the will and deserve to be the first called out. Has it not taken far too long for us to see funds raised for the Bass Reeves memorial? Should we not now be celebrating a vibrant art museum and seeing erection cranes in motion at the site of the Marshal’s Museum?
However, replacing the old inertia with new inertia is not helping in the least. They say, “Keep your eye on the prize.” So, exactly what ARE the prizes to be had? What happens when the loud finally stop shouting?
Borrowing from Ross Perot, that giant sucking sound you hear is the sound of opportunity lost. Someone posted a comment on Facebook recently that is all the more relevant in this moment, “Imagine a year from now that you had started today.”
While the need for convention center replacement funding has been long in the making, the convention center debate is a relatively new phenomenon. The Park at West End was the battle before that and I am certain there was a line in the sand before that.
The discontent does not bother me. The discord does not bother me. At some point, however, there needs to be the strike of an imaginary clock that signals an end to debate and a time for a decision and reconciliation because that giant sucking sound is becoming deafening, which I believe is the point of Mr. Tilley’s commentary.
It has been suggested that our community would be much better served by regularly scheduled Town Hall meetings vs. The Citizens Forum, and I concur.
The current email process of communication with directors and the mayor is archaic and cumbersome. It bogs down our directors with mundane tasks instead of freeing them to paint with broader brushstrokes. Individuals have no way of knowing if their views are in the minority or are embraced across the community. Communications need to be addressed and upgraded.
I’m not impressed at all by the Scott email tirade nor the response to it. To read it, Mr. Scott sounds old, bitter and illiterate. But to now be exposed to it, it seems calculating, trite, and strategic. These were one-to-one communications. Publicizing them was nothing but loud noise. Justifications and excuse making for a fellow commando is no different than what we are currently exposed to regarding Weinergate and other such nonsense when one-to-one messaging becomes one-to-all. It is now in the public realm because someone chose to make put it there and not because it is relevant. Placed into public view doesn’t make it less or more right or wrong. “Logic” would have had a one-to-one notice sent to Mr. Scott that his emails were forwarded to the prosecuting attorney for an opinion as to whether they were worthy of further investigation. That would have been the end of that story.
The tail continues to wag the dog at the city board and until such time that someone commands the wheel and overarching strategies begin to take shape, I am afraid our city will flounder under the pressure and influence of the loud and the board will focus on the minute and personal agendas. I continue to hope for a stronger mayoral influence. Not a bully pulpit, mind you, but a drive that produces momentum. Drive supported by mayoral commissions that exploit our talents and harness our strengths, not in lockstep with the board, but to help guide it.
Allow me to regurgitate your correct summation, local leadership groups must emerge from their comfortable cocoons of parochial interests and (collectively) inject themselves into the oft uncomfortable arena of city politics.
Like most, I am ready for the ratcheting animosities to wane. The minority deserves their voice, but the inflamingly loud minority doesn’t need to be center stage in a Coliseum. The emotion needs to be replaced with due diligence.
I applaud your suggestion that the rise against the machine be met head on by strength of our collective leadership.
To twist the words of W. C. Fields, “You can’t be baffled by bullshit if you are dazzled by brilliance.”