Monday, 22 August 2011 15:47
Why I am not running for Arnie Fielkow's New Orleans Council Seat
Written by 

Arroyono, thanks, really, you’re too kind, but i really must decline the new orleans interim city council seat. i’m so overbooked already…and then, of course, there’s also the crappy pay…

but, since i am unable to accept the offer, allow me a moment to share some unique insights with prospective nominees for the position.

as a political campaign strategist and consultant over the past two decades i’ve seen what these cats have to deal with up close, and it ain’t pretty. for example:

 there are media types who smile at you one day and skewer you the next. remember, there is no such thing as “off the record”. if you say something enormously stupid or self-destructive, be assured they will find a way to use it. i call this going from hero to goat in one easy step. there is truth in clichés: they build you up, because one day they’re gonna tear you down….unless you get the hell outta dodge before then…like arnie!

then there are the serfdoms, neighborhood associations and their mini-dictators with their personal agendas. not all of them, of course… many are very good actually, but we know who we’re talking about here, don’t we;

face it, some of these association presidents are using their positions as auditions for the job you hold, or one very similar. they know they can do it better, have purer hearts, and they will always answer every single constituent’s phone call personally, because they remember that time they had to actually had to leave a message and wait for your callback, you lazy bum!

then there’s the sleep deprivation, the long thankless hours of meeting after meeting, committee after committee, droning report after droning report…it ain’t all glamour, dawlin’. the only place you can really expect to catch a few winks is at those interminable, endless, mind-numbing council meetings.

and naturally, always lurking are those pesky things called issues. crime. potholes. crime. abandoned houses. crime. taxes. crime. hurricane protection. crime. lack of hospital beds. crime. et cetera. and you’re expected to solve these problems that have plagued us since bienville got off the boat, stuck his foot in the mud and said “hey! a city in a swamp! what a great idea!”

of course, there is some upside to the gig. you get to have your life dissected and investigated. by the press, by the feds, by other people who want your job. there are no secrets that won’t come out. there is no privacy. and that’s actually kind of liberating, right? unless of course, such liberation ends in an indictment or lawsuit….do i really need to cite examples?

yup, it takes a certain mindset to want this job and to do this job right. you need thick skin. you need to love a challenge. you need to care about those around you enough to put their needs first. you need to have a hunger for public service that supersedes all the obstacles. you need to love this city with all your heart and be prepared to sacrifice your time, your talent, and possibly your own personal economic wellbeing. you need to like people. and you need the courage of your convictions and the willingness to do what’s right instead of what’s popular or easy.

come to think of it, for the right person, maybe the job isn’t so bad after all. 

by sidney arroyo


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