Category Archives: democracy

Oh Yes We Did!

I loved the headline!

This is an update on my recent post Democracy Is Alive. Looks like a small group of committed citizens certainly can make a difference…Oh yes we did! 

After we gathered the troops to battle the politicians, we utilized our freedom of speech via the press and the good old social media. Fact: Facebook & YouTube scare the crap out of old politicians.

We went old school to pound pavements for signatures and also included an online petition for our cyber supporters as well. No one said it would be easy.

I was fortunate enough to be part of a team composed of like-minded individuals in order to make this a success. We all have talents that enabled us to move this forward quickly. This “project” was in the works for 7 years and we changed those plans in a little over 40 days.

For instance, my neighbor Joe created the video that tugged at heart-strings of his audience … hey now, nothing wrong with jumping on the sympathy wagon … which just happened to spread like wildfire, dubbing him the “Michael Moore” of our project.

Our neighbor Ray was our communicator/informant. He made calls to all parties involved daily to gather our ammunition pertinent information, dubbing him “Deep Throat.”

Deep Throat, Michael Moore & Erin Brockovich

As for me, well I was the digger. I searched until my eyes were burning and my fingers sore. Thank you Google and Public Records search engines thank you very much. This dubbed me “Erin Brockovich.”

The story made an appearance in our local paper The Northeast Times, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Radio Station 106.9 here in Philadelphia. Not bad for a few concerned neighbors. 

Our initial goal was to stop the madness completely, however according to our City Councilman, it was already a “done deal” and although he admitted “I should have notified the community, I take full responsibility.” Let me finish this sentence: However, it was an election year and a lot of you already didn’t like me, so I decided winning for my 8th term was way more important than all of you. 

Therefore, without a long drawn out legal battle we wouldn’t have a chance in reversing this deal. The other “done deal” will be this councilman loosing his next run for office. He has been in office for 32 years…so tootles! 

After numerous negotiations we made the decision to compromise with the business owner and I am happy to report that we made some significant progress in saving a large portion of this land from the asphalt. It’s amazing what a collective effort can accomplish. Hmm, I wonder where this would come in handy *cough* DC. 

The company we were up against has been at its current location for 11 years, with organic growth during that time, however he is getting cramped and does need additional space to expand. The fact that he is able to expand in this economy is a very good sign for our community. 

We were extremely fortunate because just like us, this businessman was also duped by the politician involved. He was promised that “everything was taken care of” and he had nothing to worry about. Poor thing thought the politician was doing the right thing by him. 

We have been given the opportunity to assist in the design of the area that will be surrounding the parking lot. It will now be bordered by natural berms, lined with mature trees to block our view and absorb sound. We blocked the idea of a chain-linked fence and agreed on something that would be safe, but esthetically easy on the eyes. 

There is also going to be a “meadow” constructed using trees and grasses that are historic to the area. The business owner as agreed to maintain this portion of the property for (5) years to ensure this land resumes to its natural state. We were all especially elated about this piece of the plan. 

All in all our efforts were not wasted. We not only gained a voice in the construction of his property, we gained a stronger sense of community, which was long overdue.

This small sliver of the pie opened our eyes to some significant changes that need to be made in order have a successful voice in the decisions that are being made on behalf of “our best interest,” at all levels of  our local government.

Now get out there and make a difference one act at a time….Enjoy the Ride!

Got Truth?

I’ve been pondering about writing on this subject, but I decided it was necessary.

On September 11th this year I had the pleasure of being in NYC one of my most favorite places to attend the taping of a very popular TV show.

My feeling was the ticket availability was due to the lack of enthusiasm for venturing into NYC on 9/11, but I don’t think that was the case. It seemed to be business as usual 11 years later.

As we headed out in the wee hours of the morning, I couldn’t help but notice how this day seemed to mirror 11 years ago, as far as the weather was concerned anyway. It was absolutely perfect with clear blue skies, cool air and bright sunshine. No one expected the darkness we all experienced later that morning and I certainly didn’t anticipate what I experienced 11 years later, which was absolutely nothing. No extra kindness, smiles, eye intact  or a word spoken the entire 2-hour ride for that matter.

The Faces of Vulnerability. LIFE

My Facebook, however, was exploding with images reflecting the towers draped in flags, flickering candles with prayers and, of course, the famous shot of the fireman planting the flag on the rubble. It was borderline annoying considering what I was experiencing in the real world.

All of these powerful images were met with the words “Never Forget.” News Flash….we’ve  forgotten something very important. Not the event, that will be embedded in us forever, but the lessons seem to be MIA. What happened to our vulnerability? 

As we were sitting on this bus, without an empty seat, I couldn’t help but notice the silence. It was deafening for god sakes, not a word was spoken.

I couldn’t help but think “If this bus blew up could I depend on this crew of statues to lend a helping hand?” Hey, I don’t walk around in fear of the sky falling, however, I don’t dismiss the possibility to the point of disconnect with the people around me.

Have we forgotten that the target that dreadful day 11 years ago was not the physical structures of these massive buildings, it was the strength they represented?

The real targets were our freedom, tolerance and decency. What happened to a sense of humanity? 

As I sat outside of a cafe waiting for my nephew to eat his 100th meal of the day, I watched a homeless man being passed by an endless sea of people. Did I mention he was an Army veteran, oh and that it was 9/11?

I understand people get tired of  giving up their dough to strangers that might be complete frauds…I get that whole thing. What bothered me was no one even made eye contact, he was invisible. 

Well, call me what you will I had to give him something before I left. He stood up, shook our hands, thanked us, complimented my nephew’s bow tie and explained his recent homelessness. He was legit, alive and very visible and long as you’re willing to open your eyes! 

Have we forgotten that we witnessed the worst of an ideology of fear and hatred, and the best of the American people? What happened to our unity? 

I was the last to enter the bus to return to Philly, only to find there were no seats..or so I thought. Apparently there was a seat being occupied by Louis Vuitton. Simmer down folks, not the man the travel tote! Seems like the designer travel tote, who was not a paying customer, suddenly had more value than me. After numerous requests, the bitch woman reluctantly moved Louis to the side without an ounce of acknowledgement to my existence…I was invisible. 

It could have been worse, it could have been a cheap knock-off! I had to justify it somehow people! 

All of this, along with the negative climate that seems to be clouding over us daily, really has me questioning my own Truth to Power. Why is it so hard for us to exercise these simple tasks? 

We speak to power in three senses:

  • To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
  • To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
  • To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.

Our truth is ancient: 

  • that love endures and overcomes.
  • that hatred destroys.
  • that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden.

You can check out more on this powerful statement right here….sttp.html

Honestly, if we want things to be different, we as individuals need to take serious action to recommit to communicating rather than acting rashly, focus more on building rather than destroying and observe wisely rather than acting without thought.

These small changes can make a huge difference, not just in our daily lives, but as a nation and a world.

We can do this folks….Truth to Power…one day at a time. Enjoy The Ride!

 

Caps Lock Crazy

I’ve noticed a trend recently that has really taken off like wildfire. No, you won’t find  in on the pages of Vogue or on the runways in Paris, but you can certainly find it everywhere else.

Divide & Conquer are hitting the streets hard and the Social Media even harder as we get closer to November 6th. Can you say Caps Lock and Crazy? 

On Monday I made a comment on a conservative friends Facebook wall. I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. She posted a photo, paid for by the Romney campaign, regarding high gas prices. I simply stated “Who holds the largest vested interest in Oil in this country? Hint: He doesn’t live on Pennsylvania Avenue.”  Nothing mean-spirited, just a fact.

Well, hot diggity I never saw this response coming … “Good Grief! What does that have to do with anything Lisa? It is supply and demand, simple economics. Guess you weren’t home-schooled or you know how an economy works. Sorry, but I have had it with people who didn’t bother to learn anything about how things work.”

My parents were not Economists, but they certainly knew how to rob Peter to pay Paul and survive. Hey, looks like I might have been home-schooled after all…so there! 

I must say I was a little taken back by this attack. Isn’t that exactly what I just said without the hate & judgement. Needless to say this certainly had me wondering…What the hell just happened?  Are we really that far removed that we can’t even recognize that we might actually agree on a point?  Maybe she was blinded by my peace sign icon…I don’t know. 

The down right hatred I’ve witnessed over differences in opinions on political views, religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation and the reproductive system of a woman are downright mind-boggling.

News Flash: Conflict and Tension are tearing We The People to shreds at the speed of light. If you want to regain the will of the people, you must recognize the wisdom of Parker Palmer.

“Political civility is not about being polite to each other. It’s about reclaiming the power of “We the People” to come together, debate the common good and call American democracy back to its highest values amid our differences. The civility we need will come not from watching our tongues, but from valuing our differences and the creativity that can come when we hold them well.” Parker Palmer

As for me, well I vow to try not to give into temptation, unless of course it’s necessary. I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I will do my best to be kind when I do it. 

The words you choose have a profound effect on the people they reach, please choose them wisely and Enjoy The Ride! 

Democracy Is Alive

Since August 1st I’ve been working, along with a few neighbors, to stop the destruction of a beautiful piece of land near my home.  As residents, we learned of this project the day the bulldozers rolled in to flatten the area. According to the Buck at my back gate, no members of the animal kingdom got the memo either and now they are scurrying to relocate.

It appears that a local tour bus company is expanding their parking lot to include 66 additional parking spaces to fill this once Open Space. Asphalt and diesel fumes will soon be our new neighbors, without so much as a peep on their arrival. The welcome wagon will remain in the garage for this addition. 

Collectively we have been hounding our elected officials Whew, now that’s really been a freaking joy, utilizing the social media, pounding the pavement with petitions, exercising our freedom of speech in the press and now my blog.

It’s incredible how many people are up in arms, but disappointing to know that only a handful are truly committed to do the work. Personally, I believe in the beautiful words of Margaret Mead and I will continue to do so. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Please watch the video and be inspired to sign our online Petition at parkwood-manor-preserve-our-open-space-stop-construction-of-tour-bus-parking-lot-2

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