Friday, January 07, 2005

Theme: Change --- comes up again and again.

Mark Desantis / Politics of reality is path to needed changes Most of my friends in Pittsburgh believe everyone else here hates change. I used to think that too, but now I'm not so sure. I think Pittsburghers view change no differently than anyone else: a large percentage fear and therefore oppose it; an even larger percentage are ambivalent about it; and a very, very small percentage embrace it. What perhaps sets Pitts- burghers apart from the rest of the world is that most of the important, local changes have been bad, in some cases very bad.

Pittsburghers hate boneheaded changes. Pittsburghers hate change for the sake of change. That's called churning. And, Pittsburghers hate boosterism for change, hype about change, falsehoods about change.

The City's Finance Director resigned. Her resignation statement was about how Pittsburgh now has a fair and equitable tax structure is a great example. We hate the lies.

Mark D sees three change areas that begin with a complete restructuring of city government; he's hopeful about the possibilities.

Mark D writes of row office reform; he's an unabashed supporter.

Mark D and city-county consolidation; and he is currently ambivalent.

Personally, I favor a complete change within city governement in terms of the people at the helm and the the priorities of those who are going to lead. But, to call this a change in structure isn't prudent. I'd rather evolve the structural changes. But, let's make a radical switch among the elected leadership.

Personally, as to row office reform, sure. But that isn't a big deal. Ten to four, that is but a yawn to real change agents. But, that's okay too.

With the city-county consolidation -- Mark D and myself are together. I'm ambivalent too. We can't consolidate the city into the county as the city is too sick at present to allow for a great consolidation.

Thanks for asking where I stand. We do need to stare into the eyes of the Herculean task of creating an integrated, clear, and compelling picture of a whole new reality of our community. --- err ---- holistic new reality.

My personal "gut check" comes in the form of a NEW PITTSBURGH Park District. Others are going to be happy to visit that mission too, soon, in earnest. That is a win, win, win situation. Gut-check and volunteerism is bold when it comes to our kids. Plus, the New Pittsburgh Park District isn't about just saving money.

Changes like these are even more than they appear to be. If you advocate a complete restructuring of your government, which is what each of these changes represents, shoving a simplistic cost/benefit calculation in front of the community and expecting them to embrace it is at best naive. Whatever you may think of your local government, these institutions are embedded in the culture of the region; and simply advocating "cutting them out" without replacing them with a new reality of our community opens up a culture and political war that the change agents will lose. And that brings us to the messy piece of business about change.

Some people in positions or formal authority or influence will never get with the (change) program. The staunchest of them must be swept aside. Let's face it: No amount of effort, compromise or bargaining will bring them along.

Speak about a Pittsburgh that is better than anything we've known to date.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great feedback on my Op Ed and thanks for the comments!
Mark D