John Fielding: Real reforms in government
Who can get the job done? That must be the basis for deciding who to vote for.
To be quite clear, the job I refer to is the implementation of some real reforms in city government. Two of us have made commitment to new policies requiring accountability. The third makes it clear that he thinks some change is needed, and I respect him tremendously for his statements toward that end. But when voting on spending he will remain true to his core constituency and allow the arts to become even more dependent on tax moneys. He also will commit to pay increases for city employees, many of whom already receive more pay and vacation than their private sector counterparts. Such increases would put us in a box we could not easily get out of.
In order to achieve reform, several components are required. One must have a vision of good ideas for achieving it. One must be able “to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.” And one must have the fire in the belly, which will provide the drive to persevere in the face of opposition based in inertia, timidity and protectionism.
In these critical areas, I think I hold a slight edge. I have given the matter a great deal of thought, founded on the enduring principles of American governmental philosophy, which I have studied assiduously for decades. I have practiced elocution, carefully measuring tone, content and timing of delivery to assure the message is unmistakable. And I have a powerful motivation as the recipient of repeated outrageous obstructions and threatened prosecutions by various city administrators spanning many years.
Ironically, possessing these qualities in such measure may become counterproductive. Philosophers, no matter how wise, are not simply ignored, they are resented for pointing out the shortcomings of society. The social gadfly Socrates was condemned to death for his efforts. Eloquent pronouncements are regarded as pompous. And one who has had to fight the system is likely to be regarded as either an enemy to it or as self interested, trying to change things for their own benefit.
So it rests on the other critical factor, leadership ability, which ultimately will determine efficacy. The most significant component of that is having been in the position of responsibility for the well-being of many others. When one provides the paycheck or assures the work is there for dozens or scores of breadwinners, one becomes intimately familiar with their concerns. It is similar in a way to being an officer risen from the ranks, charged with deciding the fate of the company. When one does it regularly and well, one rises ever higher in the esteem of ones fellows, and receives still greater responsibilities.
It is there that I must salute superior rank as it exists. In naval terms, I have commanded fine vessels filled with loyal troops, but another has risen to admiral. He holds a current position of enormous significance, I have retired into virtual obscurity. He will be able to get the job done, because people will listen to him. And he truly cares for the well-being of the regular people who struggle to care for their families in an expensive town with an unresponsive government. I will be voting for him and urge my supporters to do so, as well. While I do remain a candidate, a vote for me will be a statement of extreme frustration with city government, but not really believing anything can be done about it.
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