On February 14, 2008, GLUE issued a press release calling for the creation of an urban agenda by each of the presidential frontrunners.
If you agree that it’s been way too long since our nation had a plan for fixing our cities’ problems, you could make your voice heard, by either: (1) writing to the presidential frontrunner of your choice, or (2) writing to the editor of your local paper. Below are some samples that you could follow (See full list of Great Lakes papers with links to editorial/letters pages below). Just some ideas to get you going.
Sample Letter to a Candidate:
As a voter, a post-boomer, and a Great Lakes urban dweller, I am closely watching our primary process unfold in this exciting Presidential election.
But before we’ve settled on a nominee for either party, I am personally asking you to build an urban agenda for cities like mine.
You have pledged support for the Great Lakes compact, which would ban diversions a and establish fair, consistent, and binding rules for Great Lakes water use. Thank you. But that’s not enough.
The health of this region is not going to be determined solely by the health of its water. It is my region’s cities that are our greatest concentrations of both brilliance and creativity – and poverty and decay.
Cities in America’s Great Lakes region need your involvement and your vision. Cities like mine can not wait another election cycle to talk about the infrastructure decline, racial segregation, paltry public transit, economic maladjustment and poor planning than have stifled growth for far too long.
Let’s work together to build cities that fulfill the potential, and match the majesty of the natural resources by which our cities are surrounded.
I look forward to hearing your plans for our Great Lakes cities.
Sample Letter to the Editor:
I would like to thanks the Detroit Free Press and The New York Times for asking Presidential candidates to support and discuss America’s cities this year. [Local Paper] should make a similar call for [GLUE city]. As an older industrial city, [GLUE city] faces a unique set of problems requiring federal attention.
We cannot afford to wait another election cycle to confront the infrastructure decline, racial segregation, paltry public transit, economic maladjustment and poor planning than have stifled growth for far too long. We cannot spend another four years blaming municipal governments alone. Local, state, and federal policy have all played a role in making this bed.
Let’s not treat rustbelt cities like passive witnesses to industrial decline. They abut one fifth of the world’s fresh water, and should transform in tandem with our rapidly evolving economy to maximize that proximity.
Executive Branch hopefuls must protect the Great Lakes, plan smartly along their shores, and avoid the provincial thinking that has stymied progress in the past. They should start off by pledging support for the Revitalizing Older Cities Congressional Task Force and reaching out to networks that are trying to bring dedicated urbanists in these similarly challenged cities together. GLUE is certainly a good place to start.
[organization] and participant, Great Lakes Urban Exchange
** Note to writers: The New York Times offers some potentially helpful advice about getting your letter published. The gray lady may boast plenty of idiosyncrasies, but I think this probably applies to our editorial outreach efforts across the country.
Great Lakes Newspapers Links to Letters to the Editor Pages
Akron Beacon Journal
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Dayton Daily News
Des Moines Register
Detroit Free Press
Duluth News Tribune
Erie Times News
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Lansing State Journal
The Courier Journal (Louisville)
Milwaukee Sentinel Journal
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester)
St. Louis Post Dispatch