Lag Time

A Scottsdale resident who is helping me with nominating petition signatures sent me an email this morning telling me that he’d gotten no response to a message he sent out to folks on his contact list.

He said,

Not a one has responded so far. I guess all are ambivalent and happy here.

I guess no one moves to Scottsdale so they can get involved in city politics. I know I didn’t.

In fact, quite the opposite: They move here (as I did) because it’s a great city, which is a reflection of good past leadership…but they don’t realize that this precious thing must be protected, and that damage is done long before it is noticed.

Government is mostly reactive rather than being proactive, as is human nature. Individual political involvement is mostly reactive to government…and more precisely the failings of government. Other than those seeking careers in politics or a government pension, most citizens who run for office simply want to make a difference. They want to fix broken processes or injustices.

Fortunately for us here in Scottsdale, we have a relatively high quality of life. As city council candidate Chris Schaffner (and Councilman Bob Littlefield before him) has observed many times, we pay a little more for a Scottsdale quality of life that is a little better than in neighboring communities.

Unfortunately, there’s a lag time between changes that will affect our quality of life and the manifestations of those changes. Months or even years pass between zoning change approvals and the beginning of construction, which is when most residents first notice something happening.

The big buildings top out months or years after that, long after it is too late to participate in the public processes that approved those heights and occupant densities.

Because we take it for granted that we will continue to have our quality of life, there’s no motivation to get involved in working at it until after permanent, irreversible changes to our community are underway.

I did a couple of articles recently on ScottsdaleTrails that you might enjoy and pass along to your friends who, “don’t do politics.”

Too Dumb for Democracy?

Bounty Plus Apathy

Of course, for those of us who do pay attention and try to participate, shabby treatment from our current leaders is a different level of deterrence!

I’ve posted  an article on that point recently on under “Knowing your Friends.”

The bottom line is that in spite of natural tendency to avoid proactive involvement and the additional obstacle that government structurally doesn’t WANT you involved, if you care about keeping Scottsdale’s unique character and high quality of life, you owe it to yourself to pay attention and get involved.

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