Vail Daily letter: Keys to political success
How to succeed in local politics without really trying:
In 1996, I started participating in community meetings called Vail Tomorrow. Prior to that, I ran a property management firm for 10 years, in which no matter how much you saved associations money all they wanted to talk about was dog s— and parking.
I served eight years as an Eagle County commissioner, in which I attended more damn meetings than “legally” allowed to from local to national issues. As county commissioner, I had opportunities to make real change that affected people’s lives. Soon afterwards, one realizes that the next group of elected “potato heads” undo everything you worked and fought for.
So I’m giving all you newcomers a little lesson:
• Start a blue ribbon commission, announce how you are bringing people together to learn what people really want.
• Have an agenda that looks like it covers everything and yet nothing.
• Make sure you have three meetings on what is the vision and mission to effectively kick the can down the road.
• Make sure to spend a couple of months talking about agendas and scheduling follow-up meetings.
In about three months, the only people attending will be those that get paid to attend. If you’re elected, you’ll need to thank everyone a lot for all they do and have done.
The key to success is to accept mediocrity and run out the clock. You’ll need to make it three years so you can tell everyone that you need to be re-elected to finish the business for the people. People will love you if you seem busy at all times.
Try passing some resolutions and meet with other quasi-government and chamber of commerce groups. Tell your staff how much you appreciate their work. Hire consultants and do studies. Studies are another way of kicking the can down the road.
Take more meetings and look for more distractions like transportation and water boards. They’re great because by the time you are 10 years out of office they might start the project.
So whatever you think is important and will help people — don’t do it! It’s 100 percent better if you try but don’t succeed. Trying is the new winning. Good luck, and if you need a platform talk about affordable housing, infrastructure, jobs, parking, summer, energy efficiency, community gardens, working families and, most of all, regional collaboration.
And, remember seniors vote.