I once lived in Columbus, Ohio and the effect Ohio State football had on the mood of the city reminds me of the Bills influence on our region. Though weeks two and three might make us forget, the big question after the Bills vs Jets season opener was, “Can Josh Allen do it?”
My sports filter is basketball and Josh Allen looks to me like the high school point guard convinced his own skill and athleticism are spectacular and the outcome of every game depends upon him alone. The other players on the court are just there to support him. I have played with some of those guys and watched as my sons and daughter play with some of those guys too. It rarely ended well.
Josh Allen is big — 6’ 5” and 237 lbs. He once threw a 98 yard pass. He leaps over defenders and stiff arms them too. Yeah, his game is special. But…
All of that can be true and his team may still lose. The other ten players out there are not simply on the field to support Allen. Every player on an NFL roster had that special game and athleticism in high school and college so they are all pretty darn talented. They have to become an orchestra that embraces the piccolo and triangle in sync with the first violin and trumpet. If they don’t, they lose.
Likewise, there are nine members of the Geneva City Council, six representing wards, two elected at-large, and the mayor who is elected at-large as well. The current City Council has not won many games, if any. They do not play well together. They have not had effective leadership able to help them orchestrate. There have been behavior problems that were not managed well. They represent a city with incredible talent that could be winning even more than it is if we had an effective coach to manage the mercurial egos that formed the council.
The assets this city possesses, from the lakefront to the colleges to our neighborhoods and surrounding tourism, are astounding. Anyone and everyone who has an investment in Geneva, whether a small business or small house, wants it to enter into its potential. The city cannot address the hard challenges of lowering taxes, creating more affordable housing, preserving public spaces, and improving educational resources without a leadership team that is willing and able to work together regardless of party. It must be a team that is willing to teach itself how to reach toward consensus-building rather than the brute politics of majority rules. It must be a team that understands we are all in this together and that the only way we succeed is to act like a team and reward team players.
That is where you and I come in. We have a job to do before the general election. You and I need to do our research. We need to figure out which of the people running for City Council and Mayor are capable of playing well with others, and both lead and work effectively. Likewise, we need to figure out which ones are so wounded by politics or poor character that they are unable to work for the greater good. It’s a tall order, I know, but there is a lot riding on us doing it.