On Civility

Relationships are built on trust. This is true of familial and professional relationships alike. The most critical reason for this is because for the relationship to function communication must be taken at face value. That is when a party in the relationship asserts a truth, or an intention, the other party can trust they are earnest in their intention. When this trust breaks down the capacity for progress is greatly diminished. For example when a party makes a statement like “I am all for X…” and subsequently attempts to undercut X with process or technicalities. This is all too common in modern politics. It allows for a dissenting party to dissent without formulating a good faith argument. We must hold to account those in public office for bad faith deliberations and actions. 

Disagreement is at the core of democracy. I believe it is this friction which sparks true synthesis and leads to real solutions. However, if an argument can’t be made in good faith, no true compromise can be reached. Today politics are more partisan than ever. The national spectacle is dominated by bad faith arguments, with occasional nuggets of candidness sleuthed into the light. We cannot allow this type of governance to take hold in our fair city.

Whatever the issue you hold dear, housing, budget, climate, historic preservation, we cannot make progress on any of them if there is distrust between presiding officials. This is equally true between the council and city management. The triad of citizen, government, and city management must maintain good faith in all directions.

Campaigns have strong emotional components. People are passionate about their values, their city, their future… and rightly so. For my own part I promise to never take an angle at an issue that doesn’t directly represent my position. I will listen to city staff, and assume their intentions are earnest and true. I will use my decades of experience working in tech to increase access and transparency within government. My values will guide me, but my reason will govern me.

Leave a Comment