As the Denver mayor’s race heats up, jobs and the economy are emerging as a major campaign theme. This means that to make an informed decision, Denver voters like myself are going to need to wade through the looming avalanche of “pro-business” and “job creation” rhetoric by candidates to separate empty promises and magical thinking from the rational reality of the mayor’s role in private sector job and wealth creation.
For example, over at the Huffington Post, Denver mayoral candidate James Mejia lays out his “vision for economic development,” writing, among several other things, that:
When I am mayor, Denver will be Open for Business. I will ensure that employers stay and new businesses are brought to Denver. During my administration, I will reduce the bureaucracy that slows the pace of business growth and discourages relocation.
Sounds pretty seductive at a superficial level. But seductive is not the same as substantive. An example is when presidential candidate Barack Obama told us all that, if elected, he was going to “go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less…” At the time, Mr. Obama had already been in the U.S. Senate for several years, presumably then having a strong enough grasp of the federal budget to have actually cited a few examples of programs in need of elimination. Instead, that superficially seductive line is now an example of an empty campaign promise.
Mr Mejia has already been involved in various bureaucracies in Denver city government stretching back to the Wellington Webb administration (1991-2003), and thus presumably has at least a working grasp of Denver’s “bureaucracy.”
So a couple questions for Mr. Mejia:
1. Could you please amend your “vision for economic development” to actually cite some specific examples of existing bureaucracy within the City and County of Denver that stifles growth and keeps away new business, bureaucracy that you are both willing and able to “reduce” if elected mayor? This would help voters like myself to determine if you are indeed serious about Denver being “open for business” under a Mejia administration.
2. A willingness to “reduce the bureaucracy” certainly seems to also imply a willingness to reduce the number of bureaucrats who work within the bureaucracy (unless you are shooting for less bureaucracy, but the same level of bureaucrats, which frankly would seem to defeat the whole purpose). So along with the examples of bureaucracy you would work to reduce as mayor, could you also give an idea of how many fewer bureaucrats would be around under your administration.