"Good government is all the legacy anyone should want"

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In a comment on a previous entry, commenter John R. poses an intriguing set of mayoral criteria and a question:

Avoid candidates with these qualities/ambitions:

1) Running the City like a business. It is not, and trying to do that has not improved it

2) Legacies. Mayor Taylor has several. The need for them is questionable, the cost high. Good government is all the legacy anyone should want

3) Political/value labels. Local politics rarely allows high-minded political posing. It is down & dirty getting things done. At the end of the day, you have to wash them off pretty good to tell the blue from the red

4) Making public safety the only issue. That indicates ignorance of the scope of the City's responsibilities. Do we sacrifice clean water for more police? How much sewage do we dump in the river to hire more firemen?

5) Type A personalities. They like to command but not listen. They never reverse a Custer decision.

So who is left?

"Good government is all the legacy anyone should want" would make an excellent motto for the official seal of the Mayor of Tulsa.

Feel free to make the case for your candidate in the comments below.

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Roy said:

One can find John's Number 4 as approximating the central feature of quite an array of giants in Christian thinking which relied on the Bible as final and authoritative.

Not surprising that 4 also shines from documents such as the Federalist Papers.

Some, I'm sure, will complain that 4 limits too much. But ponder only the last couple decades of Tulsa gov't. What would have been different had 4 applied?

Even when I factor in some limits to my pondering (finiteness of my understanding and of my mind, multiple variables, divergence of opinions about what constitutes "safety"), I still reach essentially the same conclusion: more freedom, more prosperity.

Thus 4 provides a test: tell me how a candidate will respond to 4 and I will tell you what legacy that candidate will leave.

TCB said:

From my observation, that's actually a very good list.

Run government like a business? Which one, Enron or AIG? I'd like a little more transparency and responsiveness from my local government.

Legacies are fine, if one happens to serve when such an opportunity presents itself, and one responds accordingly, but not necessarily when one strains to find or create a "legacy" scenario.

Political labels might help differentiate candidates and philosophies, but high-minded political rhetoric doesn't pave the street, keep the community center's lights on, or close down the meth lab.

Number 4 is, in my mind, the most significant. Doesn't an animal control officer provide "public safety"? What about someone who fills a pothole or treats raw sewage? Isn't keeping the parks mowed and graffiti-free a function of "public safety"? This is the area most ripe for meaningless posturing and pandering.

Type-A personalities? That's not inherently a bad thing. Running the city is a huge job -- bigger and more complicated than 99% of the population realizes. Doing it well requires a level of energy, intellect, and curiosity that most people (me included) just don't possess.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 31, 2009 12:09 AM.

Sullivan town halls in Tulsa and BA Monday was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa League of Women Voters Council forums tomorrow night is the next entry in this blog.

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