Hello Readers in Print and Online,
I hope your 2021 is off to a great beginning. Wishing you the best of good health and success this coming year.
President Biden is installed in the Oval Office, the new congress is seated, the business of government continues as usual. We are all hopeful Infrastructure legislation makes its long absent way to the first 100 day priority to-do list. Bi-partisan support is promised, so let’s get something significant and meaningful on the books. By some measures there are over 160,000 shovel ready public works projects on the sidelines, approved and just waiting for funding. Imagine the job security and positive impact green lighting some of these delayed projects would provide for our country? The federal government has taken a back seat to states and local councils for too long on infrastructure funding. The time is now, the country is ready, let’s get this done.
Civic pride is a funny thing. I grew up in Ireland in the 70’s and 80’s. The place was filthy. Garbage everywhere, trash on the streets, the sidewalks, in the fields, rivers and lakes. Illegal dumping everywhere. For a country that goes by the slogan “fáilte roimh chéad míle,” a hundred thousand welcomes, a country very reliant on tourist business, this was a disaster. Your average Irishman was proving to be a lazy slob. So what’s to be done? Then one day along came the tidy town’s competition. This was a game changer. The stubborn nature of Irish men and women refused to concede that their own particular hamlet, be it ever so humble, or ever so grand, wasn’t the best looking, best kept, shiniest place in all the land. Out came the volunteer clean up crews on the weekends, out came the landscapers, the paint brushes, the street sweepers, the sign writers, the public furnishings on the streets, the street signs makers, the fountain builders, the statue makers, the graffiti removal specialists. Every town wanted to be known as the tidies town in Ireland. What a stroke of genius. Backed up by huge fines for littering, it didn’t take very long for the Irish public to have a complete change of heart when it came to civic pride. almost 50 years later and the place is still a thousand times better than the dirty old town I grew up in. Perhaps there is something in this we can adopt here in the states?