My wife always calls me “Bob the bridge builder” and I have never really thought much about it. Pursuing a profession or perhaps obsession for city building all my life (including building cities in my back yard as a kid—pity my poor parents) has been one of the most rewarding and enriching gifts one can experience. The opportunity to work with so many people from so many walks of life – people with means or without, the powerful and the unempowered, those of all races, gender and age, those of many faiths or no faith, of widely differing political leanings and divergent opinions on how to get things done – is yes, how things do get done.
Someone said to me many years ago, “there is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up trash.” And everyday I am reminded of this as we plan, design, build, operate and yes, pick up the trash in the thriving heart of our great city. In doing so, I have found that the best ideas come from unsuspecting voices if they are given an opportunity to speak. Or that differing opinions, if channeled towards consensus lead to the best outcomes. We can always find common ground or build the bridge if we agree on a vision. I have found that most people’s visions for our city are stunningly similar. We can overcome differences and build a great community together if we respect each other, listen to each other’s opinions, think collaboratively and work hard together towards that vision. Literally and figuratively, we can build bridges if we work together. Did you ever notice that the word “community” ends in “unity”?