The Yoonolution Will Be Voted On

Filed in Politics by on September 29, 2009 0 Comments

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Originally, this post was titled ‘The Yoonolution Will Not Be Voted On’ but due to some groundbreaking news via Universal Hub, I’ve tweaked the title as Michael Flaherty announced Sam Yoon joined his ticket as the Deputy Mayor candidate. The strengths and weaknesses of Flaherty and Yoon complement each other and make for a very solid team to challenge perennial-mayor Tom Menino. Whether it’s enough to knock Menino out of the office won’t be know until November, but on thing is for sure, the Boston mayoral elections just got a lot more interesting.

What follows is a look at Sam Yoon’s governance philosophy and how it can be used to revamp and build a better foundation for our government, before we go off implementing changes.

Not a Revolution, An Evolution

As I tweeted after filling out my ballot, my mayoral choice was Sam Yoon. I’ll admit the talk Yoon held with Boston bloggers [myself included] did sway me, but not because he had the talk or what he said, but rather the philosophy he evoked during the talk and during his campaign.

While Flaherty and Menino don’t advocate changing the strong mayor system of Boston, Yoon pushed for the city to not only take a look at the strong mayor system, but at the whole city charter. What wasn’t clear in media reports, was that Sam wasn’t stating that he’d wipe the strong mayor system, but rather he’d create a commission of experts to review the charter and how we go about governing and see if there’s room for improvement.

The excitement Yoon projected while talking about such this historical review of the city governance was clear to everyone at the table. The willingness to stop and take a look at the how and why of Boston’s government structure, pointed to a great characteristic, a desire to allow for other opinions , one which I wish Yoon’s campaign emphasized more. Anyone following the campaigns will know Yoon was heavily active in social media and genuinely tried to listen to and pull ideas from the crowd.

One Man is Not the Best Man for the Job

Running a city, especially a rather large one like Boston, is no easy task. In my opinion, it’s best handled by a team and not one person. In our current strong mayor system, the mayor has the final say on city matters. Sometimes it works well, when decisions need to be made quickly, but often it’s to the detriment of democracy. A city government should be compelled to not only listen to its citizens, but to also utilize the expertise of residents to improve the city. Yoon’s open-source-esque political philosophy is one I’ve been curious to see in action and one I believe can be a legitimate game changer for modern politics.

Often times during campaigns, the candidates discuss about moving forward. It’s even Menino’s tagline for this year, “moving Boston forward”. But, when a city charter hasn’t been reviewed in a century, it might be best to stop and take a look at the present and why we’re here, rather than trying to take two steps forward and often stumbling en route. There’s many initiatives Menino has pushed for, that simply haven’t delivered. Perhaps it’s not quite his fault, but rather the fault of the system for expecting one man to do so much.

So, my request to the remaining candidates is a simple one. Before we begin to attempt to move forward, let’s stop and look at where we’re at now, why we’re here, and if we can improve the gears of governance. My gut tells me the machinery of Boston’s government us due for thorough inspection. Then, when or if any changes are made, let’s spin up those gears and move Boston forward.

Thanks to Sam Yoon for Mayor for the photo of Sam Yoon at this year’s Bunker Hill Day Parade.

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