After more than a year of campaign-trail platitudes, Tom Potter began his mayoral tenure last Monday with a brief inaugural address that, in classic Potter style, failed to give any hint as to what exact policies he will pursue from the mayor's desk.

Beginning with an uneasy comparison between children of today and the canaries used by coalminers of yore to foretell disaster, Potter laid out the groundbreaking theme of his term as mayor: Children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.

"Every child needs nurturing and loving adults," Potter explained. "A roof over their heads, a full stomach, good health, and a quality education to help them achieve their full potential in life. Together, we can ensure our children's future by working with our business community to grow an economy that provides living wage jobs. Together, we will work with our schools to provide a top tier education for every child."

Yet in spite of these lofty goals, Potter didn't exactly detail his plans for achieving them. In fact, these ambitions may be out of his jurisdiction, as early childhood development programs are directed by the county and schools are handled by school boards. (When asked during the Mercury's endorsement interview for a specific idea to improve children's future, Potter explained he would use his bully pulpit to encourage people to read to kids.)

Throughout the campaign, Potter stressed that the solutions to the city's problems (including the poor economy, gang activity, and the increasing prevalence of meth addiction) should originate from a community groundswell--and only then be adopted by government leaders.

If his inaugural speech is any indication, Potter will approach his term in the same manner. Unfortunately, the city he's inheriting faces a laundry list of problems that can't wait for a community groundswell. What the city needs now is strong leadership--not Whitney Houston.