IN RESPONSE to my column last week calling for readers to submit their quick-take analysis of what's wrong in Savannah and what needs to be done, I got the following good-natured jab from someone I respect:
"So will you take the 'fair and balanced' approach of listing and asking for success stories as well? Seems you can still convey your message by offering both sides."
My response was: That's what we do each week in the rest of Connect Savannah.
Probably 90 percent of our total content is an ongoing, loving celebration of local arts, culture, entertainment, and community.
So honestly I don't feel too bad about spending some time this vital election season focusing on the negative. That too, is what people are talking about.
Response to the column frankly exceeded my expectations. In today's media climate, where Facebook comments have largely replaced good ol' fashioned Letters to the Editor, we rarely get this kind of thoughtful feedback anymore.
In my mind that's an indication of the pent-up concern that's out there, and the ongoing importance of providing a credible, independent venue in which to voice that frustration and air those concerns.
So here are some words to ponder, straight from some of our readers. You'll find some real gems in here, and these opinions will help inform our coverage of this election season....
WE LACK leaders with vision: Men and women who possess a sense of how to balance past, present, and future, black and white, resident and tourist, dollars and sense. It’s long past time to dismantle the machine. — Hartford Gongaware
I USED to consider Savannah city government charmingly dysfunctional. You could get things done, but nothing was efficient. It meant you could carry out your business, but also have some fun around the edges. That dysfunction has turned from charming to dangerous to the point that it feels impossible to get anything at all accomplished. It feels like real corruption instead of just incompetence. — Kevin Lawver
THERE’s a systemic disconnect between city government and residents. The city consistently fails to prioritize the immediate needs and long-term success of citizens and the community. We need big-picture economic growth. Poverty is at the root of many of the issues we struggle with locally. I’d love to see the city be more proactive rather than selectively enforcing reactionary ordinances. — Alys Spillman
MISSING VOLVO is the last straw, and there was not a whit of outrage in this city. We need a committee of area citizens to understand why this city/region continues to lose prime employers to Charleston and elsewhere. Neither City Council, County Commission nor SEDA should sit on it or select members. The findings and recommended solutions need to be written and made public. Make this a public issue candidates MUST address. — Russ Wigh
THE JOB MARKET needs to be improved. It’s sad when a new Walmart gets built and the mayor boasts about the 95 new low-wage jobs that were created. — Scott Woodward
I CAN do this in one word: Corruption. Clean up the payoffs, kickbacks and development scams between city /county employees and connected contractors, A/E firms and property owners and the whole house of cards collapses. The list of what’s wrong is mostly eliminated. The city is run by the establishment good ol’ boys and the administrative hacks they put in office to disperse taxpayer money as they see fit. Corruption. — Steve Bowman