Sunday, June 28, 2009

Remembering What's Important

Kerry Hayes, always a wise observer of the Memphis scene, wrote some sound advice on his Facebook page about the post-Herenton era:

Remember: Mayor Herenton's departure is an opportunity, not a solution.

Remember: the leadership that comes next is vastly more important than the leader who's leaving.

Remember: the Mayor should not blamed for every bad thing that happens in the city no more than he (or she) should accept credit for every good thing that happens.

Remember: leadership starts in tiny, almost imperceptible ways. It starts by keeping your lawn cut and your sidewalk swept. It starts by arguing with people who say hurtful, misleading, untrue things about our community. It starts by not being afraid of certain neighborhoods. Or certain people.

Remember: we are a beautiful, fascinating, terrific city filled with beautiful, fascinating, terrific people doing all kinds of wonderful things. We deserve nothing but the absolute best at all levels of government. In order to get, we must expect the best.

Remember: July 10 is a beginning, not an end.

9 comments:

Zippy the giver said...

"Remember: leadership starts in tiny, almost imperceptible ways. It starts by keeping your lawn cut and your sidewalk swept. It starts by arguing with people who say hurtful, misleading, untrue things about our community. It starts by not being afraid of certain neighborhoods. Or certain people."

What about people who lie about how good it is when it is clearly a multiple of the national average for misery?
How do we hold them culpable?

"Remember: we are a beautiful, fascinating, terrific city filled with beautiful, fascinating, terrific people doing all kinds of wonderful things. We deserve nothing but the absolute best at all levels of government. In order to get, we must expect the best."

In order to get the best, we have to give the best, I've not met many Memphians that are playing their ace card, people are always holding back, as if this life was nothing but a practice run.

Kerry said...

Zippy - I'm not sure how to respond to your first point, as I'm not clear on what the "multiple of the national average for misery" is. My only point was that anytime you hear somebody say in your presence that a specific neighborhood, business district, school, or race of people are OBVIOUSLY unsafe or dangerous, you are complicit in that lie unless you offer a different, more enlightened perspective.

On your second point, yes, greater involvement and participation by all citizens in all facets of public life would be great. It's a two-way vicious circle: people don't know to be involved, so they refuse to get involved.

At least I think that's what you were trying to say.

Zippy the giver said...

Sorry, but, it means the stats as compiled by the FBI and other agencies. A multiple of the national average for violent crimes, and thats with Memphis hiding or just not reporting it's stats for aggravated assault (an umbrella charge here).
As far as I know from my experience, I've never heard anybody lie about a neighborhood being bad when it isn't. I have had experience with a real estate agent lying about how good a neighborhood was when it was actually an abysmal, drug trafficking area, gang infested, murder zone, full of racists. But what does personal experience have to do with anything right? As long as we only say nice things.
People are extremely involved here! Poor people run a marathon trying to get their neighborhoods straightened out from a corrupt police precinct or department pretending to care or work with them as crime escalates and moves without recourse or funds to overpower the graft. They lose their businesses and swaths of ex-viable real estate while everyone else looks the other way. They lose quality education and safe neighborhoods to thugs, gangs and drug dealers. "Urban renewal"? I think not.
Poor people try to get involved and do everything they can to do an effective job but the city bullies them, MLGW bullies them, the mayors bully them (though often veiled), the police bully them (lightly veiled if at all), MTA bullies them, and our wonderful department of rehabilitation, the people who make millions off not doing anything effectively for the re-entering criminals who are untrained and unprepared to enter legal society who will go back to crime until inner city neighborhoods have 75% criminal population census while the city scratches it's stupid head wondering why there is so much crime. Stupid sentencing and stupid rehab and retraining are the reason that neighborhoods are indeed very bad and dangerous in Memphis in reality.

Kerry said...

Zippy - I think we're going to have disagree agreeably here. To say that "neighborhoods are indeed very bad and dangerous in Memphis in reality" is a generalization that I find absurd. I agree wholeheartedly that there are many, many individuals and activists in our city's less-affluent sections that are doing everything they can, against unbelievable odds, to improve their communities. But you and I seem to have had opposite experiences when it comes to anecdotal commentary about various neighborhoods within the city. I have never encountered a real estate agent or anybody else try to tell me that a neighborhood is really better than it is--which is not to say that it doesn't happen. I frequently hear people from East Memphis and the suburbs inform me that my own neighborhood is dangerous, violent, overwhelmed with blight, "under siege" by criminals, and all sort of other insipid, ill-informed nonsense. Perhaps that reality is that neighborhoods across the city are neither as completely good or bad as the people who don't live in them would have you believe.

Smart City Consulting said...

Thanks, Kerry, for being right on the money and for being able to deal candidly but hopefully with the facts. Most of all, thanks for fighting the tendency by many Memphians to trash their own hometown and to generalize its problems.

Zippy the giver said...

I didn't smell any "facts" in his post.
Maybe his neighborhood really isn't as bad as some people say it is, but, I think both of you should deal a bit more with the statistics than your personal feelings or propaganda you may try to spread.
Don't build a house on sand, don't try to tell me poop is peanut butter.
I'm talking about the inner city, the part where I did do research, the part where 75% of the population showed up with "past criminal offenses. My neighborhood was bad. My real estate agent Lied.
I'm sure most neighborhoods aren't as completely good as people would have anyone believe in Memphis, I'm sure that some neighborhoods that are bad are much worse than your post makes them sound and so much so I'm willing to put you in a van and drive you around them, with a set of pages describing the outstanding warrants and the corresponding addresses so you can see EXACTLY how bad some are. It will be the dominant landscape of Memphis, it can be seen from the air as you fly in, or from space via satellite.
If you want to save yourself the time and wile away hours on the net, just type in your street name, no numbers, on the Shelby County Warrants website and read the addresses and crimes. Sign up for Cyberwatch on the MPD website, put in any cross street address you like and wait for your report in your email inbox, OR, you can go to CrimeMapper on the MPD page for an instant 30 day total, mind you, Crime Mapper's total "empties out" after thirty days and takes thirty more to total, which sucks. It needs to be a rolling total, if your bank treated your balance hat way you could sue them for misrepresentation.

Zippy the giver said...

Here's some stts for ya to compare with cities Memphians routinely critisize in their predictable knee-jerk to their irresponsibility.:
http://memphis.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm?c1=Memphis&s1=TN&c2=New+York&s2=NY

http://memphis.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm?c1=Memphis&s1=TN&c2=Los+Angeles&s2=CA

http://memphis.areaconnect.com/crime/compare.htm?c1=Memphis&s1=TN&c2=Chicago&s2=IL

https://kiosk.memphispolice.org/realtime/

https://kiosk.memphispolice.org/cyberwatch/mpdblogs.html

Take a look, subverting the truth betrays the system and the citizens.

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