No Man Is an Island (But This Guy’s a Town)

Buford,WyomingUntil he sold it to Vietnamese businessmen in 2012, Don Sammons was mayor of Buford, Wyo., the nation’s smallest town. He was also its sole citizen. But governing is never easy, even when you’re the only constituent. Sammons—whose memoir, Buford One: The Story of How One Man Built a Town and Sold It to the World, is out next month—breaks it down for the mayor-elect of the nation’s largest metropolis.

“Most politicians, especially in bigger cities, are not in touch with average people. Because they’re the elite, they think they know what citizens need more than the citizens themselves. That’s malarkey. 

“In New York City, if the mayor’s not in touch with what’s going on, and if he just listens to the circle of people around him, there’s a problem.  Whether you have 8 million citizens or one, you have to serve the people.

“The other problem with politics—in New York City and the U.S.—is that you’ve got the same people in there for 10, 20, 30 years.  No fresh blood or ideas. Bloomberg may have said he extended term limits for the good of the city, but he did it for himself. That’s where you should let the people of the city speak. And listen to them. 

“Your mayor has to stay aware of things in the rest of the world and react quickly. He has to remember that nothing is too big to fail. Any city can fail. Look at Detroit.”