Journal Editor Kent Walz’s interview with Mayor Tim Keller reveals at least four major reasons to expect our new mayor to be successful. The mayor’s comments also reveal the reasons many of us supported his campaign.
• First, his openness about his struggle with dyslexia and reading makes him a model for all of us and places him among a long list of CEOs, inventors and leaders. He may not be an Albert Einstein, a Bill Gates or a Steven Spielberg nor as good an actor as Tom Cruise, but he shares their dyslexia disability. Even more, he shares their abilities. Keller’s openness is a kindness to all of us who are hampered by any problems.
• Second, his using listening as a great compensation was evident to those of us who watched him in campaign forums. It seems a rare skill. In one West Side forum he mentioned he would like to set up listening sites in neighborhoods around Albuquerque. We have volunteers in the Ladera Area already who would be happy to be part of “Keller’s Ear Force.”
• Third, his habit of working across party lines is desperately needed. During the campaign he spent little time blaming his predecessor or attacking his opponents. He emphasized taking responsibility himself. It’s easier to follow someone who listens to supporters and opponents.
• Fourth, his commitment to transparency is vital. He enters office at a time when the resources to open information to everyone are ready and available. New tech centers in Albuquerque provide tools and hope for change. Code for America volunteers in Albuquerque already are helping UNM and CNM and attempted to provide assistance to the city of Albuquerque in the past to open budget information.
In Ashville and western North Carolina, efforts are exploding to open data for citizens with a real commitment to government sunshine. In San Francisco, Code for America volunteers drastically improved the food stamp application process with an app that takes 8 minutes to apply for assistance. Service for applicants was much quicker, and taxpayers saved a lot of money. Now that system is spreading throughout California.
Code for America Volunteers across America have designed apps to speed snow removal, track blighted properties, ease permitting for small businesses and model transit routes. In Albuquerque, volunteers are welcoming new code camp graduates to participate and sharpen their new skills.
With Mayor Keller we have an opportunity to utilize these new tech resources and to build a participatory and cooperative leadership and citizenry. Many of us expect that from Tim Keller and are eager to help; even old folks like me.