Below I have the letter I sent to Councilmembers Mann, Murray, Flynn, and Winburn. I did not send it to Councilmember Smitherman for a whole host of reasons. If you would like to cut and paste this message, share it with others, or send a similar one before the vote, I encourage you to do it.
I am a teacher at Withrow University High School, and I confess it is extremely hard to focus on my work with this upcoming vote.
I can’t imagine the business and civic fallout, first, of threatening to back out of contracts, and second, to actually do it…several years into public and private partnerships where others have stuck their neck out for us.
I have to fight tooth and nail to convince my urban core U.S. History students that they indeed do have a future, that they can participate in our country’s decisions, that their voices will be heard, and that they can be future leaders.
How can I make this case for them when city leaders are turning their backs on public and private partnerships built over years with legal contracts signed and so much work already completed? Leaders need to know when to grasp tightly to an issue, and when to let go. Consideration of the context surrounding an issue should lead to more sound decisions with issues.
What do you suggest I say to my students? How are you going to lead by example?
I eagerly anticipate at least one of you making the sound choice to continue the streetcar project. Your four-year term will give you the political safety and cover you need to go back on a campaign promise. After all, what’s more important, your promises or legal contracts and all this nexus of relationships we depend on to move our city forward?
A concerned and hopeful citizen,