Reader Fed Up took me to task below my column Thursday and the point gives me an opportunity to expand. First off, here’s most of the comment:
Wow, Scott, quite a column — your call for Mayor Sanders to pull on his jackboots and “be a man.” Be proud of cutting secret deals with developers who flaunt FAA rules? Be proud of affably fronting for behind-the-scenes corporate interests? Be proud of spiking the role and influence of community planning groups? Be proud of a hand-picked “committee” of lobbyists who are trying to change city charter rules and concentrate power in the unaccountable hands of a few? Be proud of side-stepping the real fiscal plight of this metropolis by turning a blind eye to the positives of declaring bankruptcy?
I think Fed Up misses my point. I don’t think the mayor should be proud of bad things: I think he should only do things he can be proud of. Get it? He shouldn’t initiate a discussion or proposal he will only want to run away from when we all start to talk about it. And if he can’t be part of at least setting his staff in a certain direction according to principles that he should boldly communicate, he’s got issues.
My point was that this system of government — unlike the past — won’t allow him to let his staff cook up proposals from which he can distance himself if they become too hot to handle. He needs to realize this and embrace it.
This may sound simplistic, but much of the mayor’s problem has resulted, I think, from this fantasy he had that he could somehow distance himself from (or hide) what his staff did. And so, every time we learned that he, in fact, was not so distant from that which he claimed to be it was a bigger deal than it needed to be.