It has been a good run Cedar Falls. I count 8 years of gratitude for the privilege of serving the citizens of our great city. With each new day, whether I was in Cedar Falls or a distant land, Cedar Falls was top of my mind. I look back and am reminded how many people helped me on this journey from the first campaign to my last days on the job, from citizens to staff to friends and family, you know who you are, you know I am grateful beyond words.
But it is time to take a rest. If the business of politics doesn’t wear a person out, at any level, they aren’t applying sufficient passion to service. Or they are enslaved as puppets of their own party or ego. No person should make a career of politics, it shouldn’t be a hobby and it certainly shouldn’t define your being. So while I have loved serving, I will gladly pass the baton with the hopes of leaders rising to bring new energy and ideas to lead us into the future.
From day one, I always yearned to be a council activist, not a hobbyist. I set to serve with a clear set of goals guided by principle and priorities to maximize the quality of life in Cedar Falls. My guiding principles included maximum transparency, fiscal responsibility, rights (property and personal) preservation, fairness and thinking big. Priorities include policy and budget matters which served principles while expanding economic and quality of life opportunities. Lots of words, but I truly endeavored to consider these in all actions, from ruling on how many dogs can live under one roof to recognizing the virtues of a roundabout. Quality of life is a fluffy term, but it can't be accomplished unless there are economic, social and personal enrichment opportunities. These opportunities lead us to create value, enjoy life and find meaning in it.
It was a productive eight years. We launched the most ambitious road and infrastructure project in the history of our city, University Avenue. We made unprecedented investments in our sanitary and storm water infrastructure. We rose above ominous flood waters. We inked historic agreements for privatization of golf operations and administrative support functions. We aligned leadership, resources and strategy in a unified Public Safety operation. We painted bike lanes! We added new parks, community gardens, prairie, natural areas and recreation features. We processed a record level of building permits. We elevated transparency to new heights by broadcasting more city meetings (school board included), digitizing meeting information and improving processes across the board. We held important hearings on decriminalization, mayoral duties and goals and budgets. We kept taxes low and debt is virtually nil. I changed my hair style. We made some mistakes along the way, namely rental code and nuisance expansions. But on a whole, I am extremely proud of our city's continued progress. I learned the value of staff, citizens and council collaboration. I learned when to hold em’, and when to fold em’. I made it through my list and while I didn’t succeed on all fronts, I am satisfied, for now.
I count the following as key council/staff accomplishments during my eight years:
- City reorganization
- Public Safety modernization
- Priority infrastructure investments: transportation, sanitary/storm sewer, quality of life amenities
- Comprehensive plan update and complete streets philosophy
- Open/lean/purposeful government: transparency, code cleanse/simplification, efficiency and efficacy
I endeavored to build my positions on careful analysis of facts and opinions, economic and social impact, and philosophical consistency. In practical terms, I always strive for good law - law that is just, equally applied, intelligible, feasible, and should make no favors and limit unintended consequences. Even if someone didn’t agree with me, I hope they can follow my reasoning. I've created many friends and a few adversaries, the latter is just the nature of this business. But know this, my service to you is the highest honor of my life, I am grateful and humble to have had the opportunity to represent you. THANK YOU CEDAR FALLS! And while I will miss my council duties, I promise I will continue to work to elevate our city in every way possible to secure our future as one of the greatest cities in America. Who knows, maybe I will find it in me to run again. If you have any ideas, I have some more time, let's keep the conversation going!
Oh yeah, for a more detailed list of decisions over the last eight years, I chronicle them here.