By Anthony L. Martinez
Since the end of 2016, I have had the duty and pleasure of serving on the Merced City Council. In that time I can say that I have seen a lot and learned a lot, much more than I could have imagined before being elected. And of all the things I’ve seen regarding political maneuvers in this town, I would like to write to you now about what I have learned regarding leadership and falsehoods.
A leader seeks the light and uses it to light the path of those who follow. A leader wants others to follow in light so that they are safe, capable, and can see the way for themselves.
A false leader walks in darkness and keeps those who follow close in darkness. A false leader wants others in the dark so that they are dependent, attached and loyal.
A leader raises up all those he or she can. A leader does not stop his or her neighbors from growing because it is satisfactory to a leader to witness their success.
A false leader raises others up only to eye level; thereby which the false leader may exalt him or herself upon the shoulders of those he or she has risen.
A leader seeks peace, justice, cooperation and hope because a leader knows people need ideals to strive for and values to live by.
A false leader seeks chaos, deception and division because he or she knows that people are weakest when confused, misinformed and confounded.
A leader knows that success can be based on the peace of the land, but a false leader derives strength from havoc.
A leader assesses and acknowledges all problems with great scope, diligence and wisdom, that they may be solved for the betterment of as many people as possible.
A false leader assesses problems and acknowledges them as an opportunity for exploitation and personal gain, and solves them only when the result provides the greatest return for him or herself.
A leader is the greatest servant who does not need a title, who does not need the glory, who does not need to debase another for his or her own gain.
A false leader is the greatest self-servant who seeks the spotlight and boasts of entitlements, who in the name of good causes debases others to expand his or her own profile.
I tell you all of these things now because I believe that false leaders stir among the city of Merced. But even as false leaders work and try as they might, the people of Merced are discerning, and the leaders of Merced (whether community, elected, or otherwise) lead with conviction, determination and faith. May all of your works and mine speak for themselves, and may the people of Merced judge them all accordingly.