Reflections On a Long Night: The Water Deal is Done, and The Real Work Begins

advocacy, economics, justice, politics, spirituality, writing
Eighth Street Bridge (1933) by John E. Berninger.

Eighth Street Bridge (1933) by John E. Berninger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sisters. Brothers. I’m proud and energized. The vote didn’t go how many of us wanted, it’s true. I would have been content had someone seconded Ms. Eichenwald’s motion, which seemed, to me, to be as much about transparency and prudence as anything else. These qualities are too often lacking. Mr. Mayor, if a considerable portion of the public thinks your administration has a transparency problem, you’ve got one. To those of you on Council I had a chance to speak with afterward, thank you for your time and for the conversations.

It strikes me that Michael Donovan‘s campaign is about “going positive,” which is to say that he understands the need for generative collaboration, something that many people on both sides of the water lease (as such) can probably agree that the current administration is not often good at. Indeed, from the Delta Thermo deal to the water lease to the attempts to disenfranchise Kim Danielle Velez, many would argue that the current administration has both privately and publicly been anything but generative or collaborative.

Friends, the rising generation, along with finally ascendent Gen Xers and the pioneers of our parents’ generation understand what’s fundamentally at stake. The people we imagine moving in to the Allentown of 2014 or 2020 are people for whom full access and full participation isn’t simply some sort of meta-American birthright, but a native, visceral practice. Politics as usual is dead. We demand collaboration and a robust, even exhaustive, public discourse. We fact-check in real time. We live tweet the debate. We are the people. This is our City. We’ve lost the water, but we’ve found our soul.

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