Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Running a city for a four-year (or sometimes shorter) term is an admittedly daunting task, with the transfer of political strategies, staff and power.
It requires flexibility, nimble-mindedness and persistence, but it's doable. What helps is when leaders have the people, the city and its future at the forefront of their vision, and not themselves. Even though the mayor and city council members only serve four-year terms, it is vital to the health of Jackson's future leaders and community that they have the city's future in mind beyond their terms.
Patching up budget holes with one-time, and shoddy, fixes or signing quick contracts to address the immediate problem without thinking about the long-term strategy is the equivalent of filling a pothole with sand: a short-term solution in dire need of a larger solution quickly, before it gets worse.
We encourage the new city council and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba to proceed with this in mind, and there are early signs that they are, including the mayor continually talking about finding long-term solutions. Urgency is critical, but leaders need to consider the lasting effects of contracts and decisions concerning issues such as the city budget, our streets and our water. The city cannot afford to continue patching up problems.
We must focus on the lasting health of Jackson in our finances, our infrastructure, and our water's availability and safety.
A transparent process that shows citizens how and why certain decisions need to be made is important to build trust and ensure Jacksonians that we are headed in the right direction.
Belt-tightening is a trend in this state, it seems, and while it's understandable that we may have struggles ahead, planning for the city's future in light of potential funding cuts will be necessary.
The Lumumba administration plans to engage with citizens in the mayor's first 100 days to get Jacksonians involved in the political process. It's imperative that citizens communicate exactly what is at stake for this administration.
Long-term fixes, such as paving streets or perhaps finding solutions to cracking cement, are so important to the future of this city. Appointing three solid leaders to the Jackson Public School Board of Trustees is crucial in the midst of a potential state takeover. Contracts need to be re-evaluated to ensure the city is not losing money or not getting what we're supposed to be paying for.
In many areas, this administration will have to start planning for a Jackson that we want to see not just today but a decade from now, too.