Pierre mayoral candidate Steve Robinson said several silly things in a public forum with fellow candidate Steve Harding last Thursday. Among the silliest was that quality of life is a magical feeling that has nothing to do with city amenities:
“I don’t think we need to be spending big on ball fields and water parks and swimming holes and, what do you call that? Quality of life?” he asked, turning to Harding, who affirmed.
Robinson continued: “I think quality of life starts here,” Robinson said pointing at his chest [Stephen Lee, “Pierre Mayoral Candidates Present a Choice, Not an Echo,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2017.05.26].
A sentimental part of me agrees with Robinson: one can be happy in the farthest, loneliest corner of Hughes County (hey, isn’t that close to Nick Nemec’s house?) or unhappy in downtown Pierre during Oahe Days (June 22 through June 25!).
But as past chair of the Pierre Park and Recreation Citizen Advisory Board Anne Lewis notes, such philosophizing is not how cities make the sale:
…[Q]uality of life as strictly a function of what’s in your heart as Mr Robinson believes is a nice warm fuzzy idea, but it’s hard to showcase to potential investors and business developers and has very little impact on property values.
Our parks, on the other hand, along with solid infrastructure, good schools, and strong community organizations are assets which make Pierre a desirable place to live, both for those of us here and those we want to attract [Anne Lewis, public Facebook post, 2017.05.26].
But hey, Robinson told Thursday’s forum that “I don’t even want this job.” So oblige him, Pierre: let Robinson stay home and thrill to the beat of his heart, while Harding works as mayor to maintain the parks, streets, and other practical amenities that make people want to live and work in Pierre.