In Get Real, we talked about the need to curtail boosterism – the compulsive promotion of our city at the expense of real, substantive economic initiatives. Lexington needs to get a lot more realistic about what kinds of civic activity drive true prosperity.
We talked about promoting growth at home as the best way to attract new growth from the outside in Stop Seeking Saviors. Rather than spending huge, speculative amounts to draw in new firms from outside the city, Lexington should target spending on growing its economy from within.
We talked about the multiplier benefits of buying products and services from local providers in Local First. Lexington should prioritize local purchasing, development, and investing in order to supercharge its growth.
In Embrace Openness, we talked about the need for our city to adopt an open approach to serving citizens, including open access to data about our city. Lexington should find new, more transparent ways of serving and communicating with its citizens.
We talked about how to grow, keep, and attract educated talent – talent which is currently bleeding from Lexington – in Leverage Intellectual Capital. We must find ways to keep experienced and specialized workers – who contribute enormously to our economy – in our city.
We talked about taking advantage of Lexington’s uniqueness – including the promise of the Distillery District – in Be Original. We must leverage that uniqueness to make Lexington a city worth visiting and worth living in.
We talked about the need for intermediate-term strategic planning as a way to connect action to vision in Plan Well. Lexington must make thoughtful, strategic investments with its public dollars.
Then, in Demand Accountability, we talked about how good initiatives get derailed and about how we must step up to make our leaders – and ourselves – responsible for keeping such initiatives on track.
While the list covers a lot of ground, it isn’t comprehensive by any means. For instance, we didn’t delve into the importance of the arts in our community. We didn’t talk about becoming more environmentally responsible, and building a sustainable Lexington. We didn’t talk about how to improve conditions for Lexington’s poor.
Our To-Do List for Lexington isn’t complete. We’ll continue to add to it in the months ahead. There’s a lot more to talk about…
But it is time to stop talking. Stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop planning. Stop theorizing. We need to shift from analysis to execution. This is a To-Do List, not a list of discussion items.
Lexington must start to do these things.
We need to ensure that leaders from across the community understand and implement these principles. If they disagree, that’s fine, but they need to articulate why they disagree in open, democratic debate.
And if they don’t, we need to get new leaders.
We need to commit our time, money, and effort to applying these principles for the betterment of our community.
We need to go build a prosperous, beautiful, livable city. We need to go make Lexington better.