Get a bunch of people to agree to spend a bunch of money on a big boondoggle. Aim high, the bigger the price tag the more your leadership skills will be praised.
Denver's mayor, John Hickenlooper, knows the drill. He just got named to Governing magazine's "Public Officials of the Year 2005" list:
- His biggest win, by far, was last November's vote on a regional referendum to fund what will be one of the nation's largest mass transit systems â€“ 119 miles of new and extended light-rail and commuter-train lines at an estimated cost of $4.7 billion, paid for by a sales tax increase across a seven-county area.
Hickenlooper's was the most important public face of the successful campaign, but the FasTracks proposal [that's this proposal] boasted heavy financial support from business groups, as well as the endorsement of all 32 mayors in the Denver metro area.
And not too long ago, Hickenlooper also scored a spot on Time's "Best Mayors" list. Why? Same reason:
- And in his biggest score, he won approval for a $4.7 billion mass-transit plan, which involved persuading voters, along with about a dozen mayors in seven regional counties, to back a sales-tax hike.
All those other folks who run other "Best of" lists should pay attention because Hickenlooper's just getting warmed up. He's supervising a "civic building boom" that includes a courthouse ...
- a major expansion of the Denver Art Museum, a new convention center hotel, and the recent opening of a $92 million opera house.
Governing gushes over Hickenlooper here.