Ours is a predictable city. Those of us who have spent a couple of decades (or more) at the foot of Pikes Peak know that:
- It snows in April.
- The hail will get your tomatoes in July.
- Douglas Bruce will submit lunatic initiatives during every election, and some will pass.
- Residents of the city core feel shortchanged by the suburbs.
- Residents of the suburbs feel shortchanged by the core city.
- If editorials in both the Gazette and the Independent support an initiative, the voters won’t.
- Rowdy nightclub patrons have bothered the powers that be since the late 19th century (source: the memoirs of “Prairie Dog” O’Byrne, who harnessed a team of elk to his carriage during the 1880’s, and drove around town terrifying the respectable folk of Colorado Springs whenever he left the friendly confines of the saloons and brothels of Colorado City…but I digress).
- When times are good, developers are bad (greedy despoilers of the environment who ignore the greater good of the city!).
- When times are bad, developers are good (don’t just sit around-despoil the environment and create some jobs!).
- And in good and bad times alike, we are always in the midst of a leadership crisis.
It’d be easy enough to create a convenient, one-size-fits-all leadership crisis template, just to ease the burdens of future scribes. Here’s a model.
During [a meeting/an informal gathering/an invitation-only event/an exclusive interview/a Facebook post] [name/affiliation] said that the [name of organization] is suffering from a crisis of leadership.
“The [city/county/chamber/EDC/business community] is adrift and rudderless,” said Blank, “we need firm, decisive leadership, or we won’t [reach our goal/recover our lost jobs/regain public trust/get the voters to approve a tax increase]. We’re moving forward, and we’ve formed [name of committee] which will be focused on [words, not actions] and headed by [insert names]. This initiative must and will succeed, because the consequences of failure are [too great/too embarrassing/too insignificant] to accept.
This is not just [one cranky rich guy's obsession/another annoying do-nothing group/a badly written press release]. This is [a call to action/a good time to drink shots/nothing important, actually].”
History teaches us that the world’s ills have not been cured by strong leaders.
It’s hard to argue that Hitler, Stalin, and Jim Jones were weak and indecisive. Had Stalin been as ineffective as Tsar Nicholas, or had Hitler been as irresolute as Neville Chamberlain, the world might have been spared both the Soviet Union and World War II. The problem at Jonestown was not the cyanide in the Kool-Aid, but the hundreds of unfortunates who drank it. And if Osama bin Laden hadn’t been a charismatic leader, the twin towers might still stand.
So why do we think a “strong mayor” will do anything but make our problems worse? Effective leaders go where they want to go, not necessarily where we should go. With that in mind, I’ll vote for whoever promises to be ineffectual, inattentive, lackadaisical, and indolent. I want a mayor who’d rather party than govern, one who realizes that 90 percent of problems solve themselves, and the other 10 percent are too complicated for any local elected official to solve. I’m trying to think of a good candidate…
Maybe I’ll run.