Friday, August 10, 2012

Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem

In today's edition of the Daily Item, there was an editorial written in support of Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy's decision to spend nearly $20,000 on a TV promo for the city. While some news reports have questioned the Mayor's decision (see here and here), the writer of this editorial believes that there are plenty of good things to showcase about Lynn and that the funding allocated for the ad will be money well spent.

Though the decision to spend that amount of money on an ad is debatable, there is one statement in the editorial I agree with:

It’s 2012 — high time for critics within city limits to become part of the solution, to tell or show someone who is not aware about Lynn what’s great about it. It’s time for all to work to shed the unflattering ditty that has been attached to the city for too long.

It seems that some of Lynn's biggest detractors live within the city's boundaries and too often resort to complaining (most notably under anonymous names on online forums) without ever taking any sort of positive action. At last week's school department budget hearing, there were just 6 speakers (a record high compared to previous years) and approximately 20 people in the room. Other types of public hearings as well as school committee and city council meetings in the city tend to see the same kind of turnout. Voter participation in the 2011 local election was just 23% overall and as low as 12% in a few ward precincts. In the face of all of the negative criticism about the schools or the crime or the untidy streets from a sizeable proportion of Lynn residents, where are all the people speaking out about issues that concern them in the appropriate venues? It is important imperative that more residents become involved in whatever manner they choose - whether it be through a community organization, with the school system, voter participation, city cleanliness, mentoring or some other Lynn-related cause in order to affect the kind of tangible change Lynners are seeking. While it is the city officials' jobs to manage the city, it is all of our responsibility to make Lynn the city that it could and should be.


  1. But Cleo, of course you know that it's easier to hide behind a screen name and complain without actually doing anything. Taking action actually requires effort. Imagine that.

    If I had a dollar for every nasty, racist or ignorant comment I read in the Item's comment section, my wallet would be quite padded. Maybe you should do a monthly feature in which you take a comment out of the Item and respond to it with actual facts. You're really good at that!

    - Joanna Sese

    1. Excellent suggestion, Joanna! I would have to stomach reading the comment sections but it would be interesting to highlight how off base some of the commentary can be.

      Thanks :)

  2. I agree: just complaining on the comments section of Lynn Item, or anywhere for that matter, doesn't help. I used to find myself making a lot of cheeky comments there under an assumed name. I've seen those screen names come and go. Now I only post under tmsheehan.

    At its worst, the internet is one big echo chamber, where those with the same views can easily find a place to reinforce their own beliefs and not be open to others.

    Tom Sheehan

    1. I would also add that the type of activism that some people in Lynn engage in can also not be that productive. For example, constantly going on about "failing schools" or being the "best of the worst" even to the appropriate people (school committee, mayor, Dept of Ed) is not constructive unless there is going to be some other sort of positive action to go along with it. What are some solutions? How can parents and community members help to tackle this problem now? There has to be a point where you stop talking about an issue and start doing something that results in a tangible change.

  3. Nicee...