The USA Today informs us that the top 50 best selling books today consist of 48 fiction and only 2 non-fiction. More interesting to me is that in the top ten, 9 of the authors are women, 1 a man and, E.L. James has four of the best selling 10 while Suzanne Collins trails closely with three.
Perhaps girls do just wanna have fun, but the message is surely somewhat more than titillation. If you see what pops up most frequently on U Tube, top music downloads and Google searches, something begins to suggest a more prominent theme. Even searching the Talk of the Sound results you will see that sex, violence, crime and misdemeanors are going to do a hell of a lot better than the other reads.
Yet, it has always been this way to some degree and it suggests to me that escapism is more closely connected to avoidance and perhaps even apathy than we might have thought before.
Recently, right here, I see people discussing the Larchmont ownership of a spit of land near or on Sheldrake and a very spirited debate among some readers about shopping malls versus retail stores. Of course there is much more to both stories, but I have to wonder just how committed the community is to stepping away from the margins and cross the Rubicon into the substance of just what is happening here in New Rochelle and elsewhere.
Tuesday night showed the best of our community and I urge you to tune into Channel 75 or pick up the July 10 City Council meeting on your computer or wherever it can be found.
The topics were largely relating to Iona with some important additional words on the Hudson Park Beach Bar. We have a hell of a lot of bright concerned citizens here... the Iona group was eloquent and one wonders why it has taken as long as it had for those with the most direct legal and regulatory knowledge, for example, to step up. But step up they did and I don't recall all of the names but I recall Cassidy, Bloom, Varian, Ippolito and McCaffrey. You need to hear this and ask yourself one question and that is..... "does it have to impact you directly as a citizen before you exercise your role as a member of the community to help cure what ails the community? The Iona issue is crucial, and truly on the margin of those who stepped forward.
I was even more engaged with the force majeste, the eloquence and sheer passion of the Beach Bar speakers. There were only a few, but the arguments were fresh and very direct. This was one that all of you out there can see clearly..... what would you do if a similar venue was placed around Pinebrook or Wards Acre and some area that would play against your "quiet enjoyment?"
I love the Beach Bar.... in some ways it is my James and Collins. But, they are right and I see no reason to disqualify them from a quality of life they struggled for and if and when you see these people, you will see that a summer's revenue from the Beach Bar is not worth the loss to New Rochelle of one of these families; not by a long shot.
But, the City Administration has most always been on the margins of the key business functiions of the management process. After the heart-wrenching narrative, poor Strome was caught cold and asked to respond.... "call the police if it is too noisy" or contact me when I return Monday from the weekend.
There is your margin call. Do you ever wonder why the most elemental and basic approaches to problem identification and solutiion are not met here. Here is a simple test. We are very highly taxed as a community, we resort to Certiorari almost as a property assessment process, we are not generating enough commercial revenue to support our budget, we have no money thus spake City Hall..... so lets go after our first providers and further expose the citizen to risk and harm.
Did you pass the surprise quiz in terms of what has to be done. Probably not, because if you are not directly impacted, you are on the margin. But, build a Pinebrook Beach Bar, increase the crime rate in the Wykakgyl Shopping Center, and watch student performance deteriorate in Ward School, as examples, that could well cause you to drift away from the margins.
Follow up with this question..... how many of you plan to make your home in New Rochelle for the predictable future? Ok, if there is anything approaching some longevity, I now pronounce you citizen of New Rochelle so get off the margin.
Do not think your City is being run by monsters or nincompoops. It is NOT! They are people faced with extraordinary challenges and deserve support, but like many of their brothers and sisters in Albany or Washington, they are living in a time they haven't quite digested fully and cannot see the forest for the trees. We do need a new paradigm of governing throughout the nation. There is not a hell of a lot of difference between a Barack Obama and Noam Bramson or Barry Fertel. Nor is there a large variatiion between Mitt Romney and Louis Trangucci and Al Tarantino.
As a matter of fact our hometown team is better from the simple point of view that they talk and get along.
But what about you. Are you so apathetic, ideologically tongue tied, indifferent to the neediest of voices in our community, that you avoid citizenship? Yuo don't have to do much; simply show up for example at the next School Board meeting and demand an explanation concerning district performance or the incredulous removal of Jeffrey Hastie from his official position. Our children deserve that much out of you!
Contact your Council Member and support him or her but demand simple and focused responses to our problems and if something sounds like bullshit, nicely say, try again, I don't understand you.
We are a nation of laws and there should be no difference in applying this rule of law between a have and have not. Insist that Iona and the house down the street putting in an extension are treated precisely the same way. Don't worry about hurting their feelings or angering God. They ain't going nowhere and neither is God.
If you care about more than simply the margins, welcome to the world of good citizens and you will help restore and rebuild this community.
As for the rest, we can wait a while so go back to E.L. James, Suzanne Collins, and those stories that speak to the dark voices we all hear when times get tough.