The bigger downtown session

I attended the planning session at c{space on Jefferson last night, with a crowd of about 100. It reminded me of every other planning session, going back to the vision 20/20 plan- a professional facilitator, writing ideas down on big post-its, letting people add their 3 cents worth. There were some good ideas, and passionate people.

This one was a bit different because one person got unlimited time at the microphone- our new shadow mayor/kingmaker Dr. Mike Ervin. Ross Perot once said “If you ever want to see anything get done, find a monomaniac on a mission” or something close to that- and Ervin is a man on a mission. He has the benefit of being loaded so that he doesn’t have to sweat the consequences of ticking off anyone – sort of like having a gun at a knife fight. He has his vision- which is probably the clearest new-urbanist vision we’ve seen in this community. He doesn’t seem to be willing to tackle uni-gov yet, but is instead focusing on what he calls a greater downtown.

Great. Fine.

But, without getting the political and business communities involved, relying on the many armchair planners won’t get the programs implemented. For that, he’ll have to get some political juice going- and not just one or two people in power, but a majority of them. Like it or not, these are the people who ultimately hold the purse strings and set policy.

With the upcoming election, maybe he’ll sponsor some debates, hell, maybe even put candidates through an “Apprentice” type challenge, so voters can see who has the plan, gets the vision or has real ideas that they want to advance (other than their own political careers).

We’ve seen these planning sessions before- now, what’s going to make this one different?

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