In case you missed it, Mayor Petty nicely asked everyone to shut up.
Of course, the City Council interpreted “I am urging all parties to take a step back from discussing this issue publicly” to mean “hie thee to Jordan Levy or Facebook forthwith.”
First, Councilor Eddy called Jordan Levy to share his meditations on leadership and Council direction:
Then, Kate Toomey called Jordan to let him know that the Council needs to be dealing with more important issues:
And Joe O’Brien shared his thoughts on shutting up on Facebook: “Whatever people’s positions are, the back and forth in the media is not good for our city and our form of government. I want to thank Mayor Petty for his call asking everyone to take a step back and stop talking about this in the press.”
Fortunately, these thoughts mesh nicely with the Mayor’s own views:
1. “This is not going to be solved through the media or on the City Council floor; it will require leadership by all.”
2. “Clearly, what has transpired over the past week has created a distraction, but we can’t let these issues get in the way of our ability to lead, govern and most importantly, serve the citizens of Worcester.”
Contrary to what Councilor Eddy thinks, leadership is not about singing Kumbaya around the campfire. It’s about sticking your neck out, making difficult decisions, and using your powers of persuasion to make your agenda happen. It’s about standing up for what you think is right in the face of opposition.
And as for Mayor Petty’s “leadership by all”: leadership is not a group effort. And sometimes it’s lonely at the top.
Regarding solving problems through either the media or the City Council floor: the problem is that too many City Councilors confuse the two. The City Council floor is absolutely the right venue for discussing issues [that can be discussed in the bounds of the city charter]. Not every resident reads the newspaper or listens to Jordan Levy. And part of the problems we’ve seen this week have been due to the cogs of the machine moving out of clear sight.
We’ve been told to “move on” so many times that our official website should change from worcesterma.gov to moveon.gov. We are told to “move on” rather than discuss anything in a forum where any citizen can give feedback. We’ve been told to “move on” rather than discuss anything that might hurt someone’s feelings or accomplish something. We’ve been told to “move on” rather than have the kind of discussion that could actually reconcile the differing points of view.
As for “dealing with far more important issues,” I’ve learned we can never rely on the City Council for that.
“We need to get back on message” that the status quo is by far the most important issue facing this city.