At some point in a long civic career, you may face a skillful liar who is elected to an important local office. Here’s how to fight back in a way that doesn’t leave the city deeply divided.
How can you have better politics in your city? Elect better candidates. And that starts by writing job descriptions for elected officials, judging candidates by those descriptions, then engaging citizens in a long-term conversation about what we should expect from our elected leaders.
Want to make a major change in your city? Better bring an army and be prepared to answer this question: Why do we need this change?
Forget about the NIMBYs vs. greedy developers showdowns. The real stories in local government are about efforts to create more interesting and attractive urban environments, and the people involved in these efforts. Some are elected officials or city workers, but many aren’t. They’re people in neighborhoods doing things that are slightly unusual, such as walking, biking, or taking buses to work . . . or restoring old homes.
Some of the most exciting urban projects around were once considered crazy ideas. So how do you tell the difference between a crazy idea that’s a great leap forward and one that’s . . . just plain crazy? And what do you do with the determined people behind these projects? Here’s a way to separate the bold but doable projects from the delusional, while encouraging citizens to dream big.