This year has been a very tough one for many. Lost jobs. Lost loved ones. Lost moments. The observations below do not mean to shortchange any of this.
Yet, we can’t help but lament for Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane.
His last State of the City was canceled. So were many other opportunities to take a final, enjoyable lap in his 12th year leading the city.
Lane is not the type of guy that entered public service for titles. He did so because he thought a bit of a difference could be made and his perspective on the role of government might be constructive for his community.
He was right. Lane ran for City Council once and Mayor three times. He was never defeated. That’s because the community understood that Lane submitted his name to voters for the right reasons. He wasn’t in the mold of the ebullient Drinkwater. Lane was more like the pilot you like to see when you get on an airplane. Solid, Confident. You knew he was going to get you where you needed to go.
Politics these days is so jaded. So mean. But Lane has never been that way. He disagrees plenty with people and his peers but in a dignified, decent way.
Being Mayor of the “best city in America” as Lane is want to say certainly has its benefits. But also its sacrifices, most especially monetarily.
Lane experienced it all. From Great Recessions to good times. From pandemics to Preserves. Monday night will be his final, real City Council hearing of his twelve-year run in the center of the conversation. There he will preside over important issues, some of which will enrich the city for years to come. And then it will all be over, except for the ceremonial passing of the gavel to Mayor-Elect David Ortega on January 12th.
There will have been very little pomp and circumstance leading up to that moment. That’s another strange and unfortunate thing about 2020. Because Mayor Jim Lane deserves more. Maybe grander recognitions can occur when the pandemic starts to ease a bit after the first of the year. We hope so. Retrospectives like the Scottsdale Progress’ excellent editor Wayne Schutsky is working on are good. But after twelve years of service and sacrifice to Scottsdale we hope there will be something worthy of his commitment to it. To better and properly say thank you Mayor Lane.
He did it with grace and dignity. Humility and higher purpose. He left his footprints in Scottsdale’s desert sand. And she is the better for them.