Sunday, June 17, 2012

Maybe it’s time to hold a Fayetteville “Town Hall Meeting” about voting or citizen political participation?

Posted By on Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Sometimes you hold onto a news article for a few weeks, or even months, before writing something. The Northwest Arkansas Times piece of June 5, “Mayor Holds Second Town Hall Meeting: Officials discuss construction, “no-kill” policy,” is one of those.

Lioneld Jordan is a fascinating and attractive figure, as far as Fayetteville politics is concerned. In 2008, he was very popular among people who had never held strong opinions about the leadership of their own city before. Jordan, who comes from a strong working-class background, was an inspiration to many working class voters across the city.

All you had to do was talk to folks who worked in factories, or mini-mart type stores or any other business where folks punched a time clock; Lioneld Jordan was one of them. Somehow, he was seen as someone who would stand up for the working class in Fayetteville, for those whose lives were stuck in a sort of permanent rut.

After all, there are a lot of folks who have crappy jobs, and lots of folks who get evicted so that “sustainable” apartment developments can be put up in the places they used to call home. While Jordan couldn’t literally stand in front of bulldozers, or make employers do the right thing, the general feeling among many - especially many who had either never voted before or not voted in a long time- was that he would be a moral force for good in the mayor’s office.

Yeah, that’s kind of an unfair burden. And, his administration has been good for city employees. It also isn’t fair that so many have such a pitiful lack of even the most basic knowledge of how government works. And yet . . .

Lioneld Jordan may have trouble reaching out to (not that opponent and former mayor Dan Coody would find it any easier) those particular voters this year, especially anyone who might have been tossed out of their home so that an “eco-friendly, sustainable” project will take the place of the spot they once called home.

Then again, I’m not sure that any alderman who literally couldn’t be bothered to at least go through the motions of speaking up for anyone who gets shunted aside in favor of developers should get any votes, either.

Votes against corporate personhood are nice (and I truly appreciate them) but let’s speak up for the folks who suddenly have to move so the Pretty People will have a place to live.

The election of 2012 may be about parking issues in the heart of downtown - and just perhaps about the English Gothic Folly that Block Street has become - but I’m not sure that will capture the hearts and imaginations of many of those who were so happy (and happy is not too strong a word to use) to see someone like Lioneld Jordan run for mayor and win.

I’d sort of like to see a Town Hall Meeting concerned with voting, perhaps - and just why it is that so many don’t take part in the life of their own community. If we can have a Town Hall meeting about aesthetics, we could certainly have one about something as basic as this. Or, if not a Town Hall, maybe the Roundtables on the Fayetteville Government Channel (which were popular for a long time) could be revived, so that folks could discuss the issue.

People are feeling left out again, and when they feel left out, they don’t vote. Jordan still has his working class roots, but this is 2012, and how do you reach out to the folks on the bus, the folks on the poultry line, and the folks on a limited budget who have been given notice they have to get the hell out so that “Eco-Warrior Estates” can be built on the site of their trailer park?

******

That Lioneld Jordan . . . He Just Ain’t One Of Us Department

Now, as then, the stupid whispers that Jordan may not be “sophisticated” enough to be mayor are raising their ugly heads, even making their way into telephone polls (which no one seems to know who is responsible for) asking folks their opinion about the November mayoral race.

There are lots of words to describe this sort of thing, starting with the cliched “outraged” to “generally disgusted.” It just sort of reminds me of the folks who who were upset about a pretty good restaurant on the square in Fayetteville - Hog City Diner - because the name wasn’t precious enough for their sensibilities.

Better to have a big empty building.

*****

The Ozark Natural Foods board minutes

Here is a link to the board meetings of Ozark Natural Natural Foods, which you can find under the Board of Directors’ link. Thanks to the reader to sent this in.

www.ozarknaturalfoods.com

You may to have an account to access it.

****

Quote of the Day

Slang is . . . vigorous and apt. Probably most of our vital words were once slang; one by one timidly made sacrosanct in spite of ecclesiastical and other wraths. - John Galsworthy

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