Saturday, December 21, 2013

Is the First City Wide Benefit of the Streetcar Greater Civic Engagement ?

Invest in Neighborhoods hopes so.
From their latest newsletter:
Let's Continue the Drive
The past couple of weeks have seen an exercise of citizen engagement unlike anything Cincinnati has experienced in recent memory. Historically at the neighborhood level, we tend to see a significant increase in participation when issues that touch self interest are being debated.
To be sure, the streetcar debate did for some involve self interest, but for many, many more (on both sides of the issue), it was a matter of what they felt was best for the future of our city. Many of those had not ever before spoken or acted publicly on an issue of such importance.
It's apparent to us there's a whole lot of passion about Cincinnati throughout the city. This passion, if pointed in the right directions, can benefit every neighborhood in the city.
Talk about swords to ploughshares…
Cincinnati can really benefit from friendly neighborhood rivalry but it can also result in bitter Balkanization. Our new mayor deftly used division to his favour in the last election.
Besides the outpouring of activism on both sides of the issue, the scrutiny applied to the streetcar project has also been pretty educating as to the processes of government, public infrastructure projects, government accounting, and such.
Taking this experience, we should be able to move forward promoting our communities & the city at large more efficiently & effectively.
Or we can waste it and just fall apart & squabble & threaten secession & bask in victimhood I guess...

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