Where Have All the Leaders Gone? by Jeff Hillberg

In the last twenty years the world has undoubtedly become more complicated, the values and careers that are viewed as virtuous has changed, our value systems have changed. I say this not as an indictment of our society but merely as an observation. This inevitably has made leadership more complicated. If one were to ask anyone within the community who are the leaders of Turlock, what would the answer be? There would be some who answer Mayor Lazar or the City Council, some would name various members of the business community, some would name the countless volunteers who sacrifice their time for the community, but none of these answers get at the core of the question. Whose vision has unified the city in the last decade to get us where we are today? The answer is no one’s. No leader of the city has been capable of articulating a vision that the citizens of this community have been able to unite behind to lead us into the future.
Take for example the current mayor and members of the city council can anyone name their vision for the future? Can anyone state the vision for the community as a whole? Simply put leadership is not a title or a name it is a unifying vision for the future and currently Turlock does not have one.
The logical next question is who will become the next leader of Turlock? Most of those running for the two open seats on the city council are still running the same campaign from two years ago. They are taking money from the same developers, accepting the same endorsements, putting yard signs in the same place and espousing the same tired clichés about the issues that matter to the public. “Without new taxes we can’t fix the roads,” “We need more money for police and fire,” “It’s about attracting jobs.” It seems as though déjà vu has come back and punched us in the face.
There are very few things that local governments actually have control over. At the end of the day their biggest responsibility is to set priorities and ensure that those goals are being accomplished. Too often in the last decade our leaders have been reactionary. They buried their heads in the sand about homelessness for years and now don’t understand why it is a continuous problem. They failed to make infrastructure a priority and now don’t understand why our roads are in a state of disrepair. Instead of taking responsibility for the current challenges that we face and planning to overcome the obstacles they rationalize, “it’s the state’s fault,” or “everybody does it.” We’ve come to occupy a moral safe house where everybody’s guilty so no one is to blame.
Hopefully during this election someone with vision will emerge and heck maybe we’ll even find a leader.
~”There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”

Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

Feedback can be sent to jeff.hillberg@gmail.com

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