Before political correctness:
"It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant." .......(President Calvin Coolidge)
The above two comments will become relevant below.
In my last post, I told the story about how I became involved with Rowlett 2020, why I voted for it, and how pleased I was when it was first launched. Using a consultant instead of a developer for advice prevented the illusion of any "back room deals" with a developer who would have had absolute skills in "making things happen." I liked the "hands on" skills that a developer would have, but a consultant would work, if heavily experienced with real estate marketing skills. Our consultant, HOK, "papered up" that way. For me, in my opinion the long term marketing experience of Ann Richter, from Denver, put HOK a little above other applicants.
Now, I would like to share with you a couple of definitions:
Marketing--the art and science of disposing of an excess of goods and services.
Regulation--the act of regulating; the state of being regulated.
Do you see the similarity of the two definitions? No? Don't worry. I don't see any similarity, either. There is a huge chasm between to two principles. It is freedom to act vs. restrictions to act. There can usually be some interaction between the two disciplines in real estate, but one must be extremely careful when combining these two principals, because one can stifle the other and render it ineffective. In the real estate world, too much regulation will kill the economics of development. On the other hand, too loose the constraints, generally the poorer the development. The desired balance can be manipulated adversely by the untrained or personal influences.
When I voted to hire HOK, I bargained in good faith to receive marketing expertise. Instead, I soon got government regulations. After a few months of Rowlett 2020, there was almost a complete disappearance of the type of marketing data I expected to see. In my opinion, data supporting marketing decisions just went away. The "art and science" of marketing had become "art" only. The "science" had disappeared. After what I thought was a good start of Rowlett 2020, it quickly turned to Form Base Codes and restrictive Zoning regulations. This new direction would absolutely fit the personality of the then city manager. In my opinion, our previous city manager was an obsessive control freak. Strict regulation fit her persona.
I've got a dozen directions that I could go at this point. First, let's reveal my view of the previous city manager. I do not want to take anything from her. She had some good characteristics. I think under some circumstances she could be a lot of fun. She was very smart. She worked hard and put in many hours. She seemed quite experienced in the business of managing a city. These are all very good things in which she should be complimented. She could have been an excellent City Manager. However, she was a control freak, managed from a basis of fear, and was the worst real estate analyst I ever met. These are all very bad things. In my opinion, the bad trumps the good.
Chris Kilgore is a sitting councilman and a person I respect. I respect his intellect. However, often we don't agree. After the resignation of our previous city manager, Chris spent 10-12 minutes speaking from the dais about how great our previous city manger was and her departure was certainly going to be regretted by citizens. Chris seemed to think that the previous city manager was the greatest thing to come along since canned beer. I thought that was a little over the top, particularly when I thought her personality and management style was often most harmful to Rowlett. I guess we can't all be perfect. I have already confessed that I don't know how to buy a fire truck.
In the previous post I mentioned statements that were being made for effect rather than for fact. Our past city manager was very good at it. I would like to cite a couple of examples, however my attorney says that might not be a good idea. Suffice it to say I have several examples in my toolbox. Furthermore, if I am ever sued, I can then depose whoever I want and arm my attorneys with the questions to ask.........to be answered under penalties of perjury. I probably know how to send my legal opponents into "interrogatory never never land." I want to be clear here. I am absolutely not insinuating that contrived illegal activity was happening in City Hall. I have absolutely no evidence of that. However, I am insinuating that "transparency" was being roughed up a bit.
Where was the turning point in Rowlett 2020? Where did marketing become regulation? I think I know how and about when. I think some things outside the control of Rowlett began happening, but those "things" began to influence Rowlett 2020. There's a fairly long story to tell. It will need to be another post.