One of the great gifts of council folks is that they are forced to deal with this tension or they are quickly removed from office by their neighbors. Our current Mayor has never had to deal with this tension directly, having served only in the executive branch with little contact with the push and pull of neighborhood life, and thus has tended to lean toward the business community with less passion and concern show toward the needs of neighborhoods. The rhetoric of economic development attempts to suggest that all development is good in the pursuit of “expanding the tax base” (an argument that I question) and attempts to question that rhetoric by neighbors concerned about tradition, quality of life issues, etc. are seen as opponents getting in the way of progress. My preference is for a mayor who is willing to clearly articulate that there are indeed tensions between the business community and neighborhood concerns, and is willing to try to the best of his or her ability to provide balance between the two.
Catherine McTamaney also has suggestions for the Mayor's Office to improve their community development skills.
UPDATE: For her part long-time local blogger Aunt B would like a Mayor who is less awkwardly unctuous and smug.