In search of better ways to communicate, I plan to have lunch with the Mayor of Burbank, Marsha Ramos. Marsha has apparently implemented a lot of innovative ways of communicating with residents, including a Walk with the Mayor. So get out your hiking boots, who knows what crazy ideas I'll come back with!
Oftentimes Mayors who find themselves facing a political headwind feel they have become isolated atop their mighty perch and long for a way to "get down" with the residents and have a good heart to heart. And since most people find sitting and talking with a Mayor to be something not worth getting out of their kitchens for, the notion arose that walking with one might be better. As it turned out this didn't work very well for Ms. Joffe. But given all what was going on back then, even Hang Gliding with the Mayor wouldn't have helped.
Today we have another Mayor who is apparently aware that the political climate has chilled for him lately. The uncomfortable notion that his inability to be more forthcoming about the reasons for the water rate hike has become a drag on the ship of state has perhaps settled upon him, and Mayor Mosca now realizes that he needs to get out and mingle with the lokes. And like Mayor Joffe, Joe feels his side of the story just isn't getting heard.
An e-mail blasted press release went out from City Hall recently, and almost all the other news venues in town printed it verbatim. Which is pretty much what they do. However, one fine journalist did wax reflectively a bit upon what was served to him on that small platter. Here is how Terry Miller of the Beacon Media family of publications shared the news:
The walk with the Mayor will begin on Saturday, March 5, 2011. Each Walk with the Mayor will be held the first Saturday of every month in 2011. Please meet at Sierra Vista Park at 9:00 am for a stroll with Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca for the March activity. There is no need to register for the activity, just show up with your walking shoes and plenty of questions for Mayor Mosca to answer!
Now my first observation is that if these Walks with the Mayor are to be held every month throughout the year of 2011, then the current Mayor will not be on very many of them. Two to be exact. My question being - has the next Mayor signed on for some vigorous hoofing with the people as well?
But if anyone here is going for the walk (and I will find any number of ways to be otherwise occupied), please ask the Mayor why he tried to sell the people of Sierra Madre a water rate increase based on the need for pipe repairs when it was actually bond debt that was driving the hike.
Seeing how this matter is going to a Court of Law, it will give him some much needed practice.
In Sierra Madre, when Mayors get into trouble, the rule seems to be that they just start walking.
Not all the messages sent my way are sunny
Much of the criticism this blog receives is sent here by way of reader comments. Unfortunately, many of my critics' posts employ the inappropriately salty language that is unfortunately so typical of their ilk, and can't be posted. But occasionally I do get some that can be used, and I let them through.
Yesterday I received the following note. And rather than just pass it through to comments I thought I'd save it for today's column. This is what someone calling him/herself "the rest of Sierra Madre" had to say:
Thank God I don't have to spend money to read this rubbish, are you proud to call this your blog Crawford?
There are five news venues in town, and none of them charge money to share their wisdom. So I think it is pretty safe to say that when it comes to news, Sierra Madre is a Free Rubbish Zone. Bring your shovel.
But am I proud of The Tattler? Indeed I am. We've come a long ways with this blog, and I think we have accomplished quite a bit. It is by far the most read news source in town, and I credit that to two things; the fact that we do not say the same dubious things the other 4 venues parrot in perfect harmony week after week, and the quality of our readers' comments.
This site has attracted what I believe are Sierra Madre's best and brightest. The passion they feel for this town, along with an incredible depth of knowledge coupled with the ability to communicate their thoughts clearly and at times with eloquence, is a gift. I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the people who are willing to share their opinions on my site. Even when I don't particularly agree with them.
A "silent majority" (if such a thing even exists, which I doubt) is just that, silent. There is no wisdom or virtue in having nothing to say. Ideals and beliefs are the product of hard work and reflection. Those things don't just happen, they take time and effort.
No matter what "the rest of Sierra Madre" might think.