On my first day of college, my sociology professor began class with the following statement: “Gentlemen, the sexual revolution is over — you missed it.”
Kind of a harsh way for a bunch of 18-year-olds to begin their post-secondary studies, but looking back, a slap in the face that we all needed.
Given the fact that we now know that another of our city’s crown jewels, USA Cycling, is looking for greener pastures, I think it’s time that our so-called city leaders heard a harsh statement and got a slap in the face: “The good ol’ boy system is obsolete. You’re stupid if you think you can build a true community under the cloak of confidentiality and secrecy.”
Just like we learned that “secret” negotiations were taking place to try to find the U.S. Olympic Committee a new local headquarters, we also now know that there have been “confidential” discussions to try to keep USA Cycling in Colorado Springs.
When are the people who are supposed to be looking out for the economic prosperity and growth of Colorado Springs going to figure out that “secrecy,” “confidentiality” and “backroom deals” are asinine ways to build the foundations of a thriving community?
You see, the key word is community — which according to the American Heritage College Dictionary is defined as “a group of people having common interests” and “sharing, participation and fellowship.”
Surely no one involved in either the USOC or USA Cycling process would be bold enough to try to convince me or anyone else that there has been any sharing, participation or fellowship except among “the usual suspects.”
I used that phrase intentionally, because when I read Becky Hurley’s story (see front page) about USA Cycling, that phrase jumped out at me.
Kara Roberts, vice president of business retention and expansion at the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp., used that phrase. She told Becky that “the usual suspects” met with cycling officials to discuss local possibilities for a new headquarters.
When? During the summer.
“The usual suspects” have known about this since summertime, but anyone not “cool” enough to be part of the “in-crowd” has been kept out of the loop.
Heck, several major commercial real estate brokers didn’t even know USA Cycling was looking for space.
Why?
Because even though women are now involved, the good ol’ boy network is alive and well — and its members are so intoxicated by their pseudo-power that they’re afraid if members of the community (little people like you and me) become involved, they’ll lose their exalted status and their places on their perches to which they think they’re entitled.
They don’t think the community is smart enough to come up with a feasible plan, and they’re worried that if we are, we might not include any of “the usual suspects” in the deal. And if they can’t decide how to slice up the pie amongst themselves, then nobody gets any.
I challenge any of the backroom dealers to prove my thesis wrong. Send me a letter to the editor and sign your name. I doubt they will. Why?
Because I grew up as a member of the good ol’ boy system. I know how it works. I’ve experienced it first-hand. I was “fortunate” enough to be born into the “right” family. “Fortunate” enough to have the “right” father. “Fortunate” enough to have the “right” friends and the “right” connections.
And because of it, my permanent record is also fortunate enough to be relatively free of any major blemishes.
But I’m also fortunate enough to have realized that in today’s world, the system doesn’t work. It’s better to bring in the community and build a broad-based coalition than to secretly try to cut deals among a few power-broker wannabes.
It’s time that the “leaders” in Colorado Springs embraced the community and started seeking solutions from more than “the usual suspects.” It’s time that we build this community by embracing all the members of the community.
Hopefully it won’t take the loss of the USOC, USA Cycling and a couple dozen of the city’s other crown jewels to stop the backroom shenanigans — but maybe, that’s the slap in the face the good ol’ boys and “the usual suspects” need.
Mike Boyd is editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Mike.Boyd@csbj.com or 329-5206.