04/16/08 — Focus on reality: State of the city, county and schools requires honesty

View Archive

Focus on reality: State of the city, county and schools requires honesty

Politicians love to summarize their accomplishments — and if, in the process, the enumeration means a collection of positives for the future, heck, why not call a big meeting to share the information with the citizens and voters.

So it is really not surprising that the county and the city would decide to create their own versions of the State of the Union.

And there is reason to be positive about the community’s future and where we are heading. And although it is almost always hard for citizens and newspapers alike to admit it — sometimes politicians really do get a few things done.

But when it comes to making this community stronger, what helps is not just to review the good work that has been done to date — or to pat ourselves on the back for the latest round of projects that are now off the ground.

If you really want to get your community moving forward, you have to talk about what is not going so well.

And that is not easy for politicians, or anyone else for that matter, to do.

So, rather than having a positive, rah, rah session, Wayne County should have a “bring us your complaint” session and encourage residents to really explore some of their concerns and priorities for the year. That would be especially helpful as the county prepares to talk budget again.

The discussions should be honest and address real concerns and problems. There should be no holding back and no sugar-coating. There should be no elephants in the room — and leaders should be prepared to tell it like it is.

That is the first step in getting things done.

Published in Editorials on April 16, 2008 10:57 AM