RE: Will the real leader please stand up? (April 3, 2009)
Colorado Springs exists solely due to leadership, the vision of a few people at critical times in our history.
Starting with Gen. William Palmer, count Spencer Penrose and Charles Tutt, the small team (including El Pomar Foundation resources in each case) that attracted the Air Force Academy and helped expand the military presence, then attracted the U.S. Olympic Committee and religious nonprofits.
Now, neither of us was present in these times past, but it is certain that without these people, Colorado Springs would not be anything like it is. There is no confluence, indeed, no water. There are no natural resources, other than Pikes Peak – which is not different than many other 14ers except for the slight advantages of access.
These times are different, and the community is both larger and more diverse.
As I see it, the question isn’t whether there are leaders. There are many, and many very diverse viewpoints. Witness your back-and-forth with Sean Paige.
The question is whether there is enough sense of community here, enough desire to establish a few collective priorities and a willingness to be led. This would require subordination of some special interests for the good of the whole.
My observation is that not enough people here are willing to participate, to subordinate or at least coordinate.
As a result, whether the concern involves the competition for jobs or the dedication of funds for health services – or the amount that the community is willing to pay those elected to govern – Colorado Springs will have the government and support environment that it is willing to pay for.
Speaking for what’s left of the local manufacturing base, don’t expect that specious No. 10 ranking in the Forbes list to last.