Sunday, May 08, 2005

Robin Eschliman's "Fortress Lincoln"

by Kyle Michaelis
She hasn't even taken the oath of office to join the Lincoln City Council, but already newly-elected Republican Robin Eschliman is demonstrating her simplistic, backwards, and ultimately destructive vision of a city united in its provincialism. The Lincoln Journal-Star quotes her as saying:
"I think a new day has dawned, and it is no longer neighborhood against neighborhood and business against neighborhoods. I think Lincoln is realizing that it's outside forces against Lincoln. Other cities are competing for jobs ... There are much huger forces out there that we have to contend with."
While I appreciate the sentiment that the city must work together to succeed, making an enemy of the world around us is hardly the answer. That Republicans are so eager to play city off of city and state against state in an endless cycle of big business subsidization in the name of development demonstrates the most fundamental element lacking from their party's philosophy: common sense. This is just as true in the state legislature where a huge new corporate tax break seems on the verge of passage.

Democrats and progressives must move beyond this short-sighted tactic and provide real leadership and responsibility, working to create and enforce compacts that prevent this petty and fruitless financial warfare costing our communities jobs and our taxpayers millions. America is always going to be more efficient and better able to compete in the world working together rather than with each illegitimate sub-division at each other's throat. We can do better than that, and some of us are. Just look at the refreshing difference between Eschliman's idea of Lincoln and the far more visionary approach of Omaha City Council candidate Anne Boyle, whose website reads:
Only by becoming partners with surrounding communities and our capitol city will Omaha and Nebraska truly thrive as a major national presence. Anne believes the findings of the Omaha-Lincoln Conference must be addressed and there is no time to lose. It can start by supporting LB 546, legislation introduced by Senator Brown, which would set up a 15-member economic development commission to foster partnership and growth between Lincoln and Omaha. We will be partners in progress. Anne believes an Omaha-Lincoln alliance will be good for the entire state of Nebraska. This is an opportunity and the will to do it is there. Anne will work diligently with all parties to make the partnership proposal between the two cities become a reality and achieve the important goal of reaching the U.S. Census official Metropolitan Statistical Area above 1 million people.
Two very different women from two very different parties with two very different visions for the cities they serve. Personally, I'm proud to associate with the one less dependent on envisioning our neighbors as enemies and more focused on building a stronger community through cooperation rather than corporate-whoring.


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