A City is NOT a business.
The people that use the ‘I’ll run it like a business’ mantra have run too many businesses (probably into the ground or not in Canada) to understand and appreciate that not everyone thinks and acts like a ‘businessperson’.
There are bureaucrats. These pockets of people who make our governments work have acquired such a negative tone as a result of decades of right-wing politicians and lobbyists attacking them, but they have an armada of endearing qualities that I actually admire. They are patient, knowledgeable, usually helpful (especially when you treat them like decent human beings), connected, grounded, responsible and passionate about public services.
There are social workers. There are teachers and educators.
There are employees of the public services, including a diverse range of talents and demands, like police, health unit workers, firemen (and women), garbage collectors (those that haven’t been privatized).
There are city planners and developers that must account for different situations that a typical ‘business’ environment may not allow.
In my experience, none or few of these people respond well to the authoritarian and controlling dictates of the business-person mindset. In fact, they have chosen their vocations specifically because they do NOT want to work for a large corporation. For those of you who have worked in ‘businesses’ let me remind you that it ain’t pretty at the best of times, so I hope you appreciate what I’m saying.
Corporations are simply reflections of people, usually very bad people. As people rise to the top, corporations tend to start to reflect the absolute worst traits that humanity has to offer. Greed. Control. Authority. Inflexibility. Manipulation. Reckless regard for the world around us. Limited Liability. Those that engage in charities only do so because they calculate the marketing benefit to it. If they do otherwise, they’re not a good business.
With this in mind, why the hell would I ever vote for someone that promises to run a City (or Province or Country) like a business?
I’ve had enough of this rhetoric and will ask the simple questions:
- What is your public service experience?
- What is your public service education or training?
- Describe the different types of groups that you work with and your thoughts on working with unique groups of people.
If you don’t have public experience, you really shouldn’t be running for public office. It’s that simple.