Businessman and Philanthropist


September 16, 2010
Robert F. Sylk’s
"Declaration of Independence" for The City of La Quinta

La Prensa Hispana

One of the emerging messages of 2010 is that the future of our city is becoming increasingly intertwined with the future of all our cities in the valley. Opportunities exist in industry and commerce but it seems like we are not pursuing them. We must change the way we plan and build infrastructure. We have to better investigate the close connections between sustainability and the tourism business. Between our city and our commerce and why our planners need to more ensure the vibrancy and attractiveness of La Quinta. As our city grows, is a task perhaps, beyond the scope of our present leaders. We need a new breed of public-private partnerships to address these challenges. We have to reinvent the city.

It is for these and other reasons that I and others have witnessed over the past two years why I propose a “Declaration of Independence” for the City of La Quinta which is based on a new standing for Ethics and Integrity in City Government.

Challenging economic times have the potential to divide families and communities sometimes creating a greater gap between those who have and those who do not. As many struggle to regain their balance, the question of how best a city can help and how best to restore our resident’s foundation is paramount.

It is my belief that the solution lies in preparing to lead with intelligence, a commitment to action, and the courage to motivate the highest levels of productivity and performance. The act of making things better for ourselves begins with caring for all. “All” represents the importance of a moral code, an insistence on personal reflection that enables more effective collaboration, and a realization that even the voices on the edge can have as much impact on an idea as those in the middle. We are one city, one village, whose interdependence and mutuality is no longer a choice. The viability of our personal and local economic future is direc tly tied to integrating a constant striving for excellence with a demand that we stand for integrity in ourselves and in our leaders. That consequence has not been of greater import or more clear today.

Independence is the source of our city’s wealth. It is the seed of innovation. A sense of independence defines our path and is a critical determinant of our future. Independence implies a willingness to push the barriers of established modes, to possess the foresight and confidence to go against the norm - to arrive at a better place for all. At no other time in La Quinta’s history has our city more needed independent thinking and the leadership it implies. The complexities of today demand that we find wholly new models of engagement, identify new ways to create value, and encourage the studied ca pacity to clearly separate what is essential from what is simply noise, to understand what is right, what is fair, and what constitutes meaningful steps forward.

For a “Declaration of Independence” to yield value, it requires dependence on others. It starts with the lessons learned. It necessitates embracing the myriad of empirical truths established by our Founding Fathers. It demands an understanding of how the city works, who the people are, and what we both need and seek. It requires a melding of the past and present to envision a more profound future. More importantly, a “Declaration of Independence” requires a certain spirit, a confidence and conviction that there is always a way.

Since our city’s beginning, twenty-eight years ago, we have been guided by codes of ethics and morality. Some established by law, some not, these codes have served as our base, the foundation of a fairer, more equitable life for us all. But, the newfound complexities and sheer velocity of today’s world have the capacity to blur in some of our leaders the meaning of what is fair, and to create multiple and false barometers of what is right. We live in a city that cries out for a consistency of honorable intent, and for its leaders and citizens to follow a recognizable and shared moral compass.

In La Quinta, I believe that our task is not simply to declare the importance of ethics, character, and community, but to prove it, and that such proof begins with inculcating everyone with the realities and the responsibilities of being an engaged citizen. We know that only by experiencing inter-connectedness and exploring the emotional and tangible consequences of justice and injustice can we fully embrace the importance of character and moral fortitude. Effective leadership is defined in part by being responsible to the whole, and regardless of the intensity of the demand, or the degree of external pressure, that the right path, the only path, begins and ends with ethics and integrity.

Reinventing the city can be accomplished with these principles coupled with an unwavering focus on excellence, which will ensure that our residents declare their spoken independence as I prepare ahead to lead you, guide you, and serve you, as your Mayor.