Thursday, December 10, 2009

City Leadership

Watching the budget hearings/debates of the Cincinnati City Council and reading reports about such in the Enquirer, I am finding something missing.
At the last public hearing, some hot soccer mom chick was pointing out that by cutting a few jobs in the parks & recreation department, the city would lose many more volunteers (70?) who impact approximately 40,000 young residents a year. On the same issue, an old bat pointed out that volunteers are created from the people who engaged in the programs in their youth.
Kevin Flynn, who ran for council this past November, challenged people on council, city employees and citizens to not just argue for programs but to suggest ways to pay for them. He's right. But there's more.
The Fishwrap reported that the Police Department spent about $90,000 on replacing patches on police uniforms to make them look more professional (that price did not pay for the patches). I always thought they looked pretty professional, anyway.
Here's the thing, money is in a crunch. We can't just expect things to be normal when we are in the midst of a global economic downturn. Contrary o the belief of many commenters, this recession is not the fault of Cincinnati City Council or the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.
Look around and you will find any number of fund raisers for this and that. Several neighborhoods have Citizens on Patrol groups. Seems like a sewing bee of volunteers could have replaced the police officers patches for free. Did anybody from the Cinti Police administration or the City Council try to organize such a thing? Could the park board try to organize more volunteers to administer their nature education programs or will they just dump the programs because they can't afford the administrators?
I am not asking citizens to spearhead these efforts. I sure don't lead the way in this regard, but how about the people we elect and appoint as leaders try cooking up ways for people to volunteer time and talent? The economy has resulted in people being out of jobs. They have time to volunteer. They don't have cash to pay for increased fees. It's not business as usual People are getting divided over their civic wishlists. Our "leaders" need to pick up the ball & bring us together in a community effort to move the city forward. A better connection between city government and the citizenry will really pay off when the economy gets better.

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