Comment 42760

By Not Following (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 09:26:29

On the announcement of his Chamber chairmanship in March, Koroscil stated, "We're not going to be just the voice of business in Hamilton; we're going to be a voice that's listened to." Since, then, the Chamber has gotten more aggressive about its "jobs and prosperity agenda" - with the airport lands in a place of prominence.

This statement, and the subsequent actions with the Chamber poll also noted above, are the consequences of a political obsession with leadership. Ignoring contrary opinions, ignoring evidence, viewing them as nothing more than an opportunity for rhetorical spin to persuade and lead, are the hallmarks of non-democratic processes. Big decisions with big consequences that allow for few alternatives are the legacies of leaders, but in the long run it is the every-day decisions of small businesses as they succeed and fail that sustain activity (jobs) while the big decisions inevitably become the "too big to fail" failures.

What this city needs is less leadership. It's tough to predict the future. Shit happens. But it's easy to predict the past and try to reconstruct it. That's the thinking that supports leadership. So Hamilton has an east-end expressway built decades after it's prime time of utility and even though it has not delivered on its promise of jobs and its main proponent was cought fiddling with the democratic process; many still accept him as a good leader. The airport too looks to be an example of trying to reproduce past successes elsewhere while ignoring current trends. All that's needed to make it so is asphalt and leadership that will be reaping the rewards of retirement long after the plan has proven inadequate.

I don't really mind that the Red Hill Expressway didn't produce the promised prosperity and jobs. What I mind is that it's construction has nearly bankrupted the city, resulting in on-going delays to necessary work and redevelopment spread throughout the "old" city. There's nothing wrong with some airport related economic development. It will succeed and fail depending on its merits in an uncertain future. But airport development should not come at the expense of necessary infrastructure to support economic development elsewhere. We need to stop putting our eggs in one basket. We need to stop electing leaders to make big decisions just because they make sounds like they know how to lead. We need to start making more of the little decisions for ourselves.

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