I'm disappointed at being a sad sack, at being a nay sayer, at not jumping with joy after reading Evan Brandt's five part series; therefore, not getting on his band wagon over his suggested remedies. Sorry, Evan, but as I've said before, I've heard this song far too many times.
My problem is : I've been part of the problem and never did enough to forge a remedy while I was in the seat of power, while on Borough Council, where I didn't use the bully pulpit enough to speak up more, to pin point a corrective action that should be taken.
What problem? What needed action? Like a large ship, a municipally turns quite slowly in a long arc hardly able to understand the swing of time, that slow moving pendulum swinging at the whims of people. Time and people march on, people move in and out of influential positions, while the the governmental body remains in place, testing inertia : that a body in motion tends to remain in motion, but a body at rest tends to remain at rest. Municipalities are fixated on the latter, at being at rest.
It takes an especially aggressive Borough Manager to reeve up the engines of a lethargic municipality and turn it into an attack mode, as a cruiser or a destroyer. Good managers are short lived, their life span on the job is rarely over seven years, they are upwardly mobile animals. But, we hire them not to hold on to the status quo, rather we ask them, to inspire a borough to exceed the sum total of its parts. To drive property valuations up and crime rates down is their duty.
Looking at my shortcomings, I reflect on times I've missed an opportunity to make a big difference.
- When we left Assistant Borough Manager, David Forrest, leave employment of the Borough
- When we played "Duck, Duck, Goose" with appointments of succeeding managers
- When we didn't muster enough muscle to build the grade school cluster in the Washington St. corridor
- When we encouraged more and more social service agencies headquarter in our borough
- When we "hoe hummed" the placement of MCCC in the borough
- When we are unable or unwilling to bring more quality stores to downtown Pottstown
- When we are unwilling to take preemptive corrective action for flooding of the Schuylkill and Manatawny
- When we do not support a true Farmer's Market within our borough
What should I have done ? To have brought ultimate attention to any of these problems was, in all reality, beyond my desires. Well, I could have doused myself in gasoline and set myself on fire; voila, attention would have been overwhelming. Rather, I should have enrolled in a Dale Carnegie course and I would have become a dynamic debater who could have brought the public along on these important issues.
I didn't do either. Some day we'll get a super manager or a dynamic individual who will make this borough a truly important entity. I suggest, the ultimate arbitrator of man is time and, through the passage of time, Pottstown is bound to make a resurgence of vitality with us or without. Her day will return.
Ronald C. Downie