Friday, August 31, 2007
The two pictures above are of the same vacant lot. The one* showing the lot overrun with tall grass an weeds was taken at the end of July. The one showing the lot cleared was taken by me today (8/31/07).
This is a lot on the corner of Broadway and Hope. I drive by this very lot over a dozen times a week and if the address sounds familiar to you it's because it's been mentioned a lot by the media lately.
On August 2nd Eric Poulin, candidate for Mayor, and Mike Miozza, candidate for City Council stood in front of this lot, in front of the tall grass and weeds and held a press conference, (that would become part of a taped expose) to bring attention to, and to discuss their positions on, the city's litter problem.
The result was that in a matter of days the lot was completely cleaned up. I'm not sure if the lot was cleaned by the property owner or by the city, but it's clean! I thought to myself how impressive it was that two candidates for office were able to bring attention to an issue that needed to be addressed and got some results. Why hadn't any of our elected officials done that? Now certainly no one thinks that we can solve problems simply by holding press conferences and taping a focused expose on them but is does kind of point out that they don't get solved when they're ignored.
My original intent in blogging about this was to simply bring attention to something that I was happy to see and to some efforts that I appreciate. However, some people feel that these two men were simply performing a cheap publicity stunt, capitalizing on the chance to get their names in the paper, and perhaps to a degree that's true. What they did was to take an issue that had come to the forefront and seize the chance to inform the people of this city about the solutions they are proposing as candidates for office. That may be capitalizing on the moment but it's not capitalizing on the issue because the solutions they offered were the same ones they had put out months before. The difference was now the rest of the city was opening up its eyes to a problem that these men had already identified and was ready to listen.
Again these two guys are running for office and I've taken the time to watch the expose, to read their platforms on their respective websites and overall educate myself on who they are and to the quality of their candidacy, (as I've been attempting to with all the candidates), Many of their ideas are good, good enough to give them your vote? That's for you to decide. However they are both serious candidates with intelligent positions and what they achieved that day was not a cheap publicity stunt. A cheap publicity stunt would have been to organize a cleanup, to offer to the voting public a tangible result instead of a long-term solution.
* I found this picture on the campaign website for Eric Poulin and have 'borrowed' for use here. It is my hope that Mr. Poulin does not mind.