Newspapers are different from blogs for a number of reasons, among them the nasty reality of the deadline. Accordingly, my hunch from the beginning was that last evening's neighborhood forum would be little different from previous meetings, and so I wrote my Tribune column last weekend with a larger picture in mind.
BAYLOR: Stand united, fall divided
While listening to the proceedings, I found myself thinking about the gaping chasm between the ability to think, which prefaces every achievement in human history on planet Earth, and the default sensory mechanism whereby a rubber mallet striking the knee causes the lower leg to stand at attention.
So much has been discussed in this and other venues. Co-editor Bluegill has observed on numerous occasions that neighborhood revitalization must proceed with desired outcomes in mind. Earlier in the week, reader Brandon Smith offered much the same outline, suggesting that support be rallied for certain desired outcomes irrespective of ideology on the part of those advocating for it.
My column today argues that without the messy work of grassroots organization in neighborhoods throughout the city, and a shared sense of purpose, little of substance will be accomplished in reaching these desired outcomes. As was the case last night, concerned residents are capable of articulating matters that are symptoms of the problem, but for so long as we settle for temporary solutions, we'll all be back at the same place in another year saying the same thing again, and hoping that somehow in the end, there will be a difference.
Isn't that the clinical definition of insanity?
Look, I'm not trying to be difficult here, and I'm not criticizing anyone except those deserving of it, like our perennially clueless 3rd district councilman Steve Price, who can sit through two hours of earnest discussion about neighborhood revitalization and conclude that if we only had a licensed garbage transfer station, all would be well. This is a staggering feat of willful non-comprehension, but give him his due: He does have a desired outcome in mind, albeit one where a dumpster would be positioned for him to accept a decrepit patio chair when the people next door complain about it.
Yes, that's all the vision mustered by the typical houseplant, although it does qualify as vision. It should serve to illustrate the virulence of the obstructionism that we're up against, and it should suggest very strongly that the time to plan, to organize and to raise money is now.
That's enough of my tilting. If you were there, please post a comment and give readers your impressions.