What does it mean when someone says one solution or another is “the best solution”? It is usually said to suggest that a particular outcome is what everyone should work toward.
Many people do indeed work toward goals that truly benefit others. But it is sometimes said for the particular outcome that is best for the person informing others of what is best for them. And they would like everyone else to work with them on what is most advantageous for them but not necessarily for others.
I attended a seminar recently where the speaker asked if the audience members listened to WII-FM. Most of us reacted with a puzzled look trying to remember if we ever heard of this radio station. After a sufficient pause, the speaker advised the acronym was not for a radio station but stood for “What’s In It For Me?” That question often comes up when trying to determine what is the best solution for each of us as we consider actions to take.
Those two ideas need to be weighed when actions are being taken or recommendations are being made. Who is making the recommendation must be part of the equation to determine if the outcome is truly “the best outcome.” There are many issues that are considered by City Council and asked for by a wide range of individuals here in Boulder City and often from people outside our town.
Members of the City Council must evaluate the proposals being made for what the actual benefits may be and who will be the beneficiaries. The question of “what is the downside” is also a factor.
The coming year for Boulder City will bring many proposals where these questions need to be evaluated. Our city has many great assets that we enjoy. Well-maintained parks, the lowest crime rate in the state, the lowest property tax rates in Southern Nevada and open spaces with great views are among those assets. As various proposals are made, my goal is to determine if the assets we have will be improved or if the “What’s In It For Me” part of the equation has slanted the outcome toward an undesirable result for the community.
The majority of us in this city have a treasured reason why we reside here. Many people have more than one quality they value and do not believe the qualities would be as readily available elsewhere. We are indeed fortunate for the many qualities we have.
But we also must keep in mind that one person’s treasured quality may be seen by others as an undesired quality.
As an example, many people enjoy driving off-road vehicles in the desert. I know I did in my younger days. A question was placed on the ballot last year to allow a certain type of these vehicles to be driven on Boulder City streets. This would be limited to the type of the vehicles authorized by the state but left up to each community to decide. A majority of residents voted against allowing the vehicles. The vote against allowing the vehicles was about 60%. Some people on both sides of the issue had strong opinions about what was best. People saw the question of what was in it for them differently from one another.
These types of questions are common for local governments to address and the best outcomes are often difficult to determine. In this newspaper last week was a story about some leases at the airport set to expire later this year. The leases have allowed some longtime residents to enjoy their avocation for flying for many years. The leases provided for very low rates with the understanding that hangars would be built at their expense and then given to the city after 30 years.
These types of questions are not easy to answer and often involve deeply held beliefs of what the best outcome will be. The challenge for me and the other members of the City Council is to try to arrive at what is best for the community. I know that is what will be the determining factor for me.
Kiernan McManus is mayor of Boulder City. He is a native of Boulder City first elected to City Council in 2017.