The Four Rs
The Centennial state is going through one of its greatest challenges at the moment. It will take patience, dedication, and a laser-like focus as we emerge from this. There will be difficult days ahead. However, I believe Colorado’s motto and seal sum up the inspiration we need. The state’s motto, Nil Sine Numine, “Nothing Without Providence,” (others say, “Nothing Without the Deity”), gives us the inspiration to move forward. Our state seal includes rays of sun and a bundle of elm rods bound together. The rays signify that a new day is dawning and the rods symbolize strength through unity. This approach as a state will move us move forward. We who live here are a special group of folks.
In school, we learn the three Rs: Readin’, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic. I would like to teach you Mamet’s Four Rs for municipal leaders facing great challenges: Recovery, Rebuilding, Renewal, and Relevance.
Recovery. I have watched the coordinated approach of our first responders. County sheriffs standing resolute next to fire chiefs, police chiefs, EMS personnel, and the military. I salute them all, and I know you do as well. We mourn the loss of life, and we celebrate the successful rescues of people, livestock, businesses, and personal property.
Rebuilding. A daunting task lies ahead for all of us at the state and local levels. The cost will tally to a large number, and how it all gets financed will be a matter for another discussion. I know this much, however: state and local officials will stand as one and look Coloradoans straight in the eye and explain in direct and clear terms what we need to rebuild and what it costs. With your help, Coloradans will respond favorably. I believe this with all of the fiber in my 5’ 5” bones.
Renewal. Our great cities and towns will seize the moment and think creatively about how to restore their vibrancy and regain their energy. The landscape itself has changed. Main Street will look different. The layout of some municipalities may be altered. But great municipal leaders bring our great citizens together and they inspire each other when they both use their imagination and vision. I have seen this time and time again in my 35 years on the League staff, working with so many municipalities across the state. This new era will be no different.
Relevance. I recently read an article asking the provocative question, “Are cities relevant?” My answer is, “Hell, yes, we are!” At no time is that relevance tested more than in a disaster. Citizens expect the most and the best from their local officials, and that is what they are getting right now. I am so proud of the many city and town managers and their staffs and elected officials who are working as one to get their communities back on their feet. The level of cooperation and sense of family has never been stronger than right now.
Municipalities are the foundation of our democratic society. The founding fathers would be quite proud of Nederland Mayor Joe Gierlach, his recent blog post, and the sense of community and coming together that a mayor in a small mountain town can inspire. And, it is not just one mayor in one mountain town - it is going on all over the 17 counties which this flood disaster has hit.
This last R, Relevance, may be the most important one of all. I want to know how you are making your community relevant during these challenging times. Let me know.
We are one with each of you.