Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Throw Stones to Break More Windows

We live in communities in which there are problems perceived and actual.  How we respond to those problems reflect on us as citizens.  We have choices.

All communities have positive characteristics as well negative. We can choose to do nothing, we can choose to exacerbate the negative, we can work to accentuate the positive, we can work to improve upon the negative, or we can do some combination of any of these.

Recently a fiend of mine wrote a blog commenting on the public relations problem on the community in which both of us live.  Repeating others’ disparaging remarks does not add to the conversation. And repeating remarks that are untrue does not build respect and trust and actually damages those virtues. People strike out in response to anger, strikes which are often misdirected.  Paint the trim, pick up the trash, work with others, or go elsewhere; but don’t throw stones to break more windows.

The community which was being written about was Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I do not feel unsafe in Cleveland Heights. However, I would not go into a bar off the main strip which seems to tolerate misbehavior. The Cedar-Lee neighborhood has not been taken over by thugs. Cleveland Heights is not the most deteriorated suburb.  The Coventry neighborhood survived the removal of the liquor license of Irv’s when that establishment refused to work with the community and allowed serious misbehavior by its clientele. Maybe that is an option to examine here.

Yes, it is frustrating to get a parking ticket but you might as well go to any parking garage and try to sneak out without paying and see what happens. The benefits of going to Nighttown restaurant or the Cedar Lee movie theater and participating in the excitement of a vibrant community are worth paying the meal tab, the price of admission, and a few coins for parking.  Not everybody gets a speeding ticket or a parking ticket, only those people who get caught disobeying the law. There are reasons for speed laws and, if you don’t want a speeding ticket, don’t speed. There are certain intersections where it is unsafe to make a left turn during rush hour and often disruptive.  There are work arounds to those intersections but it might take add extra 15 seconds to your drive.

Any negative publicity is a public relations problem.  Not all public relation problems of a city need to be responded to vociferously but rather by keep doing well those things that one does well, supporting a caring and vibrant community of residents, businesses and visitors.

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