Posted on Wednesday, February 01st 2012 at 11:42 am
There is a lot of talk about the lack of civility in politics. I think we make a mistake when we stoop to character assassination and the assignation of vile labels on those that we oppose. In my experience I have found very few people in politics that have evil intent for our city, state or nation. It is not their intentions that should be questioned it should be their policies and even more important their capacity to lead successfully. The more I am around government officials and bureaucrats I realize it is the capacity to lead coupled with good policy that is sorely needed. My son and his friend came home this weekend on leave. These young Marines have finished two tours in Afghanistan. They told me a story about a young Lieutenant that ordered his Marines to bull rush a Taliban stronghold. He was following orders but lacked the capacity of assessing the situation and changing the attack to maximize the effectiveness of the assault. The result was that several Marines were shot and one killed. The decisions that we make in business or politics rarely are life and death, but they can destroy a company or community and kill jobs. Those that have leadership abilities are rare and gifted. In the Marines good leaders are sought out and proven under fire. We should examine candidate’s leadership ability instead of being so polarized politically and captivated by campaign promises and speech craft. I heard Nancy Young Wright on the Bill Buckmaster show. She is running for a slot on the Pima County Supervisors (Ann Day’s seat). She began the interview by saying her number one goal was job creation (ubiquitous among candidates for any office in our current economic condition). She went on to say that the key is education and that companies don’t come here because of our lack of education focus and funding. I don’t question Nancy’s intentions, or her heart for education (she served 12 years on the Amphitheatre School board). But, education is not the reason we aren’t attracting businesses. Did you know that the U of A is the 8th best research university in America? Yet we don’t even appear on the chart for businesses in Tucson that relate to the research we are doing. That is a huge disconnect. We also have award winning school districts (Flowing Wells) and schools (Basis, CDO, Catalina Foothills) K thru 12. The reason companies don’t locate in Tucson is because we aren’t competitive with other communities and we aren’t viewed as being business friendly. Then you need to examine Nancy’s leadership. I served on the Amphitheatre Board Site Council when Nancy was a board member. She led the charge that delayed the construction of Ironwood Ridge High School because of the fear of displacing the non-existent pygmy owl. This cost the district millions of dollars and delayed the construction several years. I know she cares about education but her “leadership” cost the district millions that could have been used for education. So I know she doesn’t have bad intentions, just bad policies and the lack of leadership skills. In the upcoming election I would hope that voters would get beyond labeling and party affiliation and examine the policies and the leadership abilities of the candidates they will elect, and do so as if it were a life or death decision.