Congratulations to our new Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson and all of the city council members — old and new.

With less than a week under their belts, they are all no doubt putting their plans, visions and ideas together getting ready to focus on the very best ways to serve the residents of our great city. After all, that’s their job and it is the 202,000 city residents they answer to. There are no universal secrets for maintaining a pleasant, peaceful and growing urban community, both economically and culturally. Each city is different and requires a different touch, a different sort of leadership. But ultimately, it is up to our elected leaders to figure out what that touch is, and they need to do it in short order.

In my opinion, these newly elected public servants would get a fast start out of the gate and be best served by tearing down the barriers that serve to separate, segregate and define their particular districts within the city. Think about it.

Fayetteville is one city and we should view it as that. We are not isolated island sanctuaries of purpose and comfort packaged neatly into nine designated territories that serve to separate rather than unite.

Personally, I have never liked this system of governance (wards and ward politics) regardless of the justification and reasons for the implementation. It is a system that is tired and worn and only serves now to breed and nurture apathy, dull enthusiasm, distort responsibilities, misalign priorities and, yes, unfortunately, has the propensity to call one’s integrity and honesty into question. And, why not?

There are very few checks and balances. It is, what it is. However, if our leaders can rise to the occasion and view Fayetteville beyond districts, if they can look beyond the legal boundaries and see Fayetteville as one entity, I think progress and accomplishments would be made in record time.

Fayetteville One. Say it, Fayetteville One. Has a nice sound to it doesn’t it? Fayetteville: One community, one purpose, one mission. With Fayetteville One how could the arts not flourish? How could city hall not be friendly and efficient? How could crime continue to escalate? How could builders and developers not find it conducive to conduct business here? How could Fayetteville not become the epicenter of efficiency and hospitality that embraces Fort Bragg and all of Cumberland County?

This can be achieved. But, it must be done willingly, collectively and in harmony. Our leaders must lead from the front. This style of forward leadership will permeate throughout all the districts exciting the residents, quieting the malcontents and rallying every citizen in support of Fayetteville One.

Monday marked the beginning of a new chapter about to be written into the annals of Fayetteville City governance. The ball is in their court now. How this will read two years from now nobody really knows. However, if I were a betting man (and I am), and knowing the many challenges that lay before this community and new city council, I would bet they can and will be neatly and effectively managed by this new administration if the vision is Fayetteville One.

After all, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this winning community? Let’s all get to work. Thanks for reading the Up & Coming Weekly.

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