Monday, August 31, 2009

Why The Garden Club Could Destroy Youngstown

I Will Shout Youngstown points to a troubling rebuttle to the letter from Regional Chamber CEO Tom Humphries. Humphries should be commended for his leadership and his public rejection of the cronyism that is responsible for the protracted economic slump that devastated the region. Silence on the return of James Traficant is tacit approval of his criminal activity. I wouldn't invest money in a community celebrating a convicted felon. Most of the world shares my caution. Ever wonder why Russia struggles to attract foreign dollars?

I haven’t forgotten that we’re still in the midst of a recession that has hit low-income neighborhoods particularly hard. But new models of community development based on collaborations that go beyond “public-private partnerships” seem to be gaining traction — especially when they mobilize a broad constituency for change. ...

... Youngstown, Ohio, another “dying city,” nonetheless offers some important examples of social entrepreneurship. The New Deal for Communities program developed in Britain explicitly seeks to improve community cohesion.

The world of Traficant and those who would quietly ignore his return are unable to "mobilize a broad constituency for change." This is the crux of Sean Safford's critique in "Why the Garden Club Couldn't Save Youngstown". On the other hand, Humphries represents those who would move the community forward. The door is open to anyone who wants to take part in the economic revitalization of the region. It isn't a club or a list of Who's Who Youngstown. That this movement has upset the established the order of things has ruffled more than a few feathers.

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