Latest in a series of posts on the Community Engagement Initiative
The Community Engagement Initiative is . . . is about . . . looking at the ways that we as a community can end systemic racism and create an equitable city.
Councilman Willie Reynolds, August 11, 2020
America is ready . . . to do the hard work of rooting out our systemic racism.
Prez candidate Joe Biden, August 20, 2020
I would ask Dr. Van Wirt, are you for defunding the Police Department?
Councilman Bryan Callahan, August 18, 2020
Gadfly has called the Reynolds/Crampsie Smith Community Engagement Initiative “audaciously ambitious.”
And he was thinking about it last night during the Biden speech.
Councilman Reynolds has framed the work (“so eloquently,” admired Councilwoman Van Wirt) with our country’s highest ideals.
It’s a program to get excited about.
End systemic racism, create an equitable city.
Gadfly keeps hearing Anna Smith’s “We have an opportunity to do something truly momentous.” (T-shirts coming)
What disappointed Gadfly so much watching the video of the August 18 City Council meeting (Gadfly has had some business to take care of at home so he could not be “present”) was the lack of detail about the program, the missed opportunity to generate enthusiasm and propel momentum.
A few posts back Gadfly invited you to listen to Councilman Reynolds’ words and “catch the wave.”
There wasn’t any.
Gadfly was surprised.
Gadfly can’t help but feeling that something’s wrong with the process. He still can’t understand the misalignment between the words of the Reynolds/Crampsie Smith resolution that puts the CEI in the Mayor’s hands and the way it is unfolding in Council’s hands, what to him seemed the long delay in getting the Public Safety meeting, the lack of a clearly visible plan (Tuesday Public Safety Committee chair Colon simply said vaguely that “Council will continue to discuss next steps and make sure anything coming forward in the future will be communicated to the public”), and the virtual silence about the 6-hour August 11 meeting marked by vigorous comment from 25 members of the public.
Gadfly senses lack of urgency. Maybe it’s Gadfly’s fault, though. When you make a 9-1-1 call like he did last Friday, your mind re-prioritizes. The trivial tumbles to the bottom. Maybe he’s asking too much.
But Gadfly was surprised at the virtual silence at Tuesday’s meeting about the issues raised by the resolution and discussed August 11. He remembered Councilman Reynolds at the earlier July 7 Council meeting justly defending the CEI from charges it was a band-aid, citing his own record of getting things done, a defense President Waldron justly seconded. Gadfly agrees. When he first started “paying attention” almost 3 years ago, he looked for a City agenda, a list of things to do, and he found Councilman Reynolds’ “Bethlehem 2017” documents, and since that time has watched those proposals come gradually into being. My sense is that Councilman Reynolds gets things done.
But, of course, maybe things are getting done in the background. Gadflies don’t really know anything. They only can see what they can see. He just wishes he could see more about so important a project.
He also wishes there were things he could unsee.
Gadfly has said above a couple times that Tuesday night there was “virtual silence” about the Public Safety Committee meeting and issues related to the resolution.
Carefully chosen words.
For there wasn’t complete silence.
There was this.
With Prez Waldron’s adjournment gavel in the air, there was this.
Felt like a grenade with “Council disengagement” stamped on it.
Put this in your file of clips for the highlight reel when election time comes around again.