Sly, take a chill pill.
This is the kind of pill you can take with a beer or a glass of wine. Just take one.
You’re an impatient man in a governmental world designed to be endlessly methodical. You’re a 65-year-old Marine used to barking orders and getting results. You’re a hard-charging cum laude guy in a world where people often don’t know what they’re talking about.
But it’s politics, mayor, a world you dove into with abandon in 2011 when you ran as a political newcomer. Your choice.
Know this: You’re a good mayor, and people take to you and your bowtie like fans to the Chiefs. By and large, whatever you’re doing is working. The city is rolling, and you’re the face of it.
But, hey, Mr. Go-Go-Go: Stop and smell those roses. You know your time in office is starting to run short. You gotta move that needle. We get that. But sometimes all that go-go-going is backfiring on you.
“I have my faults,” you told me. “I’m certainly aware of them. I’m certainly sometimes too impatient. At other times, I wonder why people are wasting time.”
There you go again. You told me you don’t like it when people play politics or when they aren’t direct. And when they aren’t prepared? “That makes me a little nutty.”
Also, you don’t like it when people are sneaky or obstructionist. Who would like that?
Then again, that’s politics for you.
Anyway, this airport thing exposed that legendary impatience that City Hall insiders whisper about. This no-bid, sole-source deal with Burns & McDonnell was so tempting. It would instantly solve the airport problem that has bedeviled this city for years. Private financing. A city off the hook, Burns & Mac eating any overruns.
The proposal was right there in front of you. Grab it, check the box, then move on to the next big thing.
But it wasn’t to be, and I’ll bet you a frosted doughnut that in the back of your mind, you knew it wouldn’t be that simple. You just don’t shove a $1 billion deal at the hometown team and walk away like nothing happened. Of course other firms would come calling. Of course you’d have to air the thing publicly and seek proposals.
You were just in too much of a rush, and that’s going to cost you a few precious weeks when you don’t have time to waste.
That general-obligation bond issue that voters approved in April tested your composure as well with all the finagling over how much money should go to roads and how much for sidewalks. You just wanted to get it done. Move, move, move. Just like the Marines.
All you knew when you walked in the door was the law and the military — two hard-nosed disciplines. Perhaps your saving grace came at Rockhurst University when the Jesuits sunk their humanity into you, which helped make you the people person you are.
Your first council figured you’d be around for eight years, and they worked with you. So cooperative. No yelling behind closed doors. Just smooth. Members weren’t angling for your job like this new group. Twelve members serve with you now, and I bet at times it seems like 10 want to be mayor. They’re already angling for it, politicking and weighing every move.
Yeah, I know: That drives you crazy.
Despite all that, you’ve got to bring ’em along with you. Stop all that steamrolling. You can do it. You’ve achieved the rare feat of being almost as popular today as when you were elected. No one does that on the local level, but you have.
Not bad. Now that chill pill over there? Take it.