Okay–this isn’t a very good analogy, but it’s the best I can come up with on a rainy Monday morning.
Today’s Star editorial–with which I strongly agree–reminded me of Eric Hoffer’s observation that the true measure of a civilization isn’t what it builds, but how well it maintains what it builds. Maintenance requires the skills of the tortoise–a steady, persistent attention to what needs to be done. Not flashy, like the hare, but reliable.
The editorial contrasted the money and energy being expended on Georgia Street upgrades for the Super Bowl with past projects like Pan Am Plaza that are now suffering from neglect. Not too long ago, I commented here about the deplorable condition of the canal–another expensive and important amenity that is suffering from deferred maintenance, despite the fact that it is heavily used.
We are heading into political season, and we’ll hear a lot from candidates about their new ideas and bold plans. We need to hear from them about their intentions to polish existing jewels, and how they will propose to maintain what taxpayers have already built. To put it bluntly, I’m much less interested in building a faux Chinatown than I am in repairing the deteriorating bridges along the canal.
It’s not glamorous, but I’m with Hoffer–it’s the real test of leadership.