The problems of Lancaster and other cities are easy to catalog. The failures to adopt necessary fixes over time are a matter of record. So how do we ever improve our outcomes? Persistence in advocacy and leadership. By attracting more publicly-minded people to the cause. By turning the climate toward problem-solving today, rather than pushing off problems and running up huge debts against tomorrow.I believe in Lancaster, its residents, its workers, its merchants, its schools, its neighborhoods, its diversity, and its prospects. Having spent twenty-five years running a business, I have not forgotten the virtues and principles of free enterprise. But I also have come to better understand the economics of redevelopment projects, and the benefits that spin off the good ones.
The biggest problem is not deficiency of analyses, lack of answers, or a shortage of advocates. Rather, the hurdle we face in our cities is one of attitude. The pitfalls of pessimism and parochialism are numerous and ever-present, but they can be avoided by refusing to retreat when the standard objections are thrown at us. As a businessman and a township supervisor, I have learned that when we all pitch in to improve the prospects for our cities, we improve the prospects of our other communities in the bargain.
My approach has been to empower our local leaders with the tools they need to accomplish these goals. If we can help them summon and harness the energy and determination of the people in their communities, progress and prosperity will follow naturally.