Business owners are some of the most overworked people you'll ever meet. While there are a lot of tough jobs out there, the business owner is usually first to arrive and the very last to close the shop and go home. Your average business owner has a special understanding of budgets and balance sheets, Payroll and paying the bills, and balancing a checkbook and exceeding customers expectations.
With all of those important skills, I think we need to encourage more business owners to enter local politics. A quick look at our very own Eureka City Council reveals that of the 5 members, only one owns her own business. We complain when local politicians seem unable to solve problems. Maybe the problem is that we keep electing unqualified people? They might be nice people, but that's not enough to get results.
Looking at our history, I think part of the reason our own country had a successful start in the late 1700's was because the Founders were a mix of businessmen, doctors, lawyers and overall, people of great accomplishment. How do we judge our politicians today? They have to identify with a certain party, they need to tell us what we want to hear, but they have to tell us in a bland way, so that they keep us just happy enough to vote for them on election day. Actual accomplishments and ideas are pushed aside while the candidate uses phrases borrowed from consultants.
Another reason to vote for a businessman is that you will be getting a person that understands the value of setting high goals that require his staff to improve and adapt. We've seen what happens when city staff are not given leadership, it results in meetings that are scattered and seem pointless. Sometimes a better boss is all it takes to change an employee from mediocre to great. Without clear challenging goals and overall high standards, even good employees will wilt in a poor environment.
Eureka needs smart solutions for filling up all our empty storefronts. We need more manufacturing too. As we've talked about, we need strategies for reducing the number of criminal drug addicts on our streets. Electing businesspeople means backing someone that can do multiple things at once.
I'm not saying that we should only elect business owners. There are plenty of different occupations that can produce great candidates, but we seem to have a problem electing people with financial smarts to local government.
November is a long way away, so if you know any business folks that you'd like to see run for office, maybe suggest it the next time you see them.