Mostly coss-posted from the campaign blog, with addtions made for Bleeding Heartland.
The calendar says September 19 was only 45 days ago. It has been 45 of the longest days of my life. Not is a bad way but in literally long hours of hectic, interesting and stressful days. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Here are some things I’ve learned in the last 45 days:
Some of the side streets of Clinton are among the worst streets in the developed world. Seriously. I've been to some pretty run-down places in Europe and certain streets in Clinton put the side roads of Slovakia, Poland and Croatia to shame. To wit: Parts of Cleveland Avenue, 14th Street by the Arboretum – one of our finer City institutions no less – blocks long stretches of Roosevelt and McKinley, so say nothing of 18th Avenue N. by my own home. This situation is the product of decades of neglect. It is going to take at least a decade to fix.
People sense that times are changing; that with great changes come opportunities. The citizens of Clinton know that we are well positioned to take advantage of those opportunities. They also know that it will take a change in mindset and a change in the way of doing things if we are going to be a leading city in the Midwest instead of a laggard.
The citizens of Clinton are weary of the same old way of doing things. They want a city government that is more transparent and more engaged with the voters. Far too many people feel –rightly or wrongly — that important decisions are back-room deals and the results presented to the voters as fait accomplis. Improving this situation is mainly the responsibility of the city staff and city officials. But a big part of fixing this also means getting our local media more involved. It is not good enough just to report literally what is said every two weeks. The job of the media is to provide all-important background, analysis and context for voters. We have to demand more of both the city and the media.
Finally, the people of Clinton are tremendously optimistic, honest, engaged, informed and open-hearted people. Through all the hard work, it has been a great pleasure to get to know Clinton better. It has been an honor to have many place a great burden of trust in me. It is no wonder that Iowa has become the place where the process of picking our next president begins. Also, thank-you to fellow progressives throughout the state for your support. Big, big thanks to Ed Fallon and Lynn Heuss.
That same burden of trust has been placed on all of us by our founding fathers. I urge all of you to pick up that burden for the half-hour or so it will take to vote on Tuesday. Not just in Clinton. I'm distressed at all the presidential navel-gazing going on here. Don't we get enough presidential spin on the national blogs and in the media? De we really need another place for this crap? Where has the coverage of local progressive candidates and issues been on Bleeding Heartland?
I'll have more on that post-election however.
In these troubled times, where so little is being asked of us in support of such vital causes it is one thing we can do that matters the most.
Whatever the result on Tuesday night, I look forward to continuing to work and serve in this wonderful city on the Mississippi. I hope that this election can be a new beginning of community involvement. Because I truly beleive that together, we really can make Clinton a great place to be.