07/31/2014 - Editorial by Renee Wilkins
Group-think. Go-along-to-get-along. Whatever your personal favorite, it is a weak rationalization for not rocking the boat. Now we hear new City Councilors saying the Governing Body needs unity, and see the City Manager set up a Governing Body “retreat” to impose it. Funny that these same Councilors never cried for Governing Body unity when the old regime was at the helm.
Politicians often make campaign promises they find hard to keep, once they get elected. Lack of experience and indecision can lead to pointless, poorly executed legislation in an effort to appear active, with no meaningful results. Navigating the minefield of information, misinformation and manipulation can seem endless. Once an elected official becomes exhausted, it’s easier to just go along with bureaucratic recommendations. It’s easier that is, unless some members of the Governing Body are asking questions, making logical arguments, asking everyone to think.
Boldness and authenticity are becoming lost virtues. This drive for unity reveals a scarcity of real leaders, who say what they mean and mean what they say. Those who have the knowledge and ability to stand up, also have the responsibility to do so. Each member of the Governing Body has a voice and a duty to individually represent his or her district. They were not elected as a team or unit.
The past two years have proven that a Governing Body can debate vigorously and still accomplish significant change. Legislation with merit will hold up under scrutiny. The real question is whether the new members of this particular Governing Body have the courage and stamina for it, or if they are going to take the easier path, using group-think to devise ways to control individuals.