Archive for April, 2010


Waving Goodbye

Why, when we say goodbye
at the end of an evening, do we deny
we are saying it at all, as in We’ll
be seeing you, or I’ll call, or Stop in,
somebody’s always at home? Meanwhile, our friends,
telling us the same things, go on disappearing
beyond the porch light into the space
which except for a moment here or there
is always between us, no matter what we do.
Waving goodbye, of course, is what happens
when the space gets too large
for words ˆ a gesture so innocent
and lonely, it could make a person weep
for days. Think of the hundreds of unknown
voyagers in the old, fluttering newsreel
patting and stroking the growing distance
between their nameless ship and the port
they are leaving, as if to promise I’ll always
remember, and just as urgently, Always
remember me. It is loneliness, too,
that makes the neighbor down the road lift
two fingers up from his steering wheel as he passes
day after day on his way to work in the hello
that turns into goodbye? What can our own raised
fingers to for him, locked in his masculine
purposes and speeding away inside the glass?
How can our waving wipe away the reflex
so deep in the woman next door to smile
and wave on her way into her house with the mail,
we’ll never know if she is happy
or sad or lost? It can’t. Yet in that moment
before she and all the others and we ourselves
turn back to our disparate lives, how
extraordinary it is that we make this small flag
with our hands to show the closeness we wish for
in spite of what pulls us apart again
and again: the porch light snapping off,
the car picking its way down the road through the dark.

– Wesley McNair from Lovers of the Lost: New & Selected Poems.
© David R. Godine, 2010.

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Last Saturday’s Citywide Clean-up scored 2.31 TONS of litter and debris. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that helped clean up our city.

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Marketing a municipality. This is quite a compelling read (those of you of a “certain age” may want to click the full-screen option as I did).) I hope this is informative for critics of this basic concept.

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Thank you to everyone that made yesterday’s clean up another stellar success. We’re thinking we met last year’s numbers in participation and amount of litter gathered. The following images are limited in number because my camera went dead early on. To bypass this problem, take a drive around. The city looks great.

PS… kudos to the girl scouts for coordinating their bottle drive with our clean up. Talk about synergy! We’re all saving this marble of a planet we are planted on.

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“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I’m frightened of the old ones.”
– John Cage

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Do you think I am going to help anybody? No! Oh, no, no, no, no, no! Don’t expect me to be of help to anyone. Nor do I expect to damage anyone. If you are damaged, you did it; and if you are helped, you did it. You really did! You think people help you? They don’t. You think people support you? They don’t.

There was a woman in a therapy group I was conducting once. She was a religious sister. She said to me, “I don’t feel supported by my superior.” So I said, “What do you mean by that?” And she said, “Well, my superior, the provincial superior, never shows up at the novitiate where I am in charge, never. She never says a word of appreciation.” I said to her, “All right let’s do a little role playing. Pretend I know your provincial superior. In fact, pretend I know exactly what she thinks about you. So I say to you (acting the part of the provincial superior), ‘You know, Mary, the reason I don’t come to that place you’re in is because it is the one place in the province that is trouble-free, no problems. I know you’re in charge, so all is well.’ How do you feel now?” She said, “I feel great.” Then I said to her, “All right, would you mind leaving the room for a minute or two? This is part of the exercise.” So she did. While she was away, I said to the others in the therapy group, “I am still the provincial superior, O.K.? Mary out there is the worst novice director I have ever had in the whole history of the province. In fact, the reason I don’t go to the novitiate is because I can’t bear to see what she is up to. It’s simply awful. But if I tell her the truth, it’s only going to make those novices suffer all the more. We are getting somebody to take her place in a year or two; we are training someone. In the meantime I thought I would say those nice things to her to keep her going. What do you think of that?” They answered, “Well, it was really the only thing you could do under the circumstances.” Then I brought Mary back into the group and asked her if she still felt great. “Oh yes,” she said. Poor Mary! She thought she was being supported when she wasn’t. The point is that most of what we feel and think we conjure up for ourselves in our heads, including this business of being helped by people.

Do you think you help people because you are in love with them? Well, I’ve got news for you. You are never in love with anyone. You’re only in love with your prejudiced and hopeful idea of that person. Take a minute to think about that: You are never in love with anyone, you’re in love with your prejudiced idea of that person. Isn’t that how you fall out of love? Your idea changes, doesn’t it? “How could you let me down when I trusted you so much?” you say to someone. Did you really trust them? You never trusted anyone. Come off it! That’s part of society’s brainwashing. You never trust anyone. You only trust your judgment about that person. So what are you complaining about? The fact is that you don’t like to say, “My judgment was lousy.” That’s not very flattering to you, is it? So you prefer to say, “How could you have let me down?”

So there it is: People don’t really want to grow up, people don’t really want to change, people don’t really want to be happy. As someone so wisely said to me, “Don’t try to make them happy, you’ll only get in trouble. Don’t try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it irritates the pig.” Like the businessman who goes into a bar, sits down, and sees this fellow with a banana in his ear – a banana in his ear! And he thinks, “I wonder if I should mention that to him. No, it’s none of my business.” But the thought nags at him. So after having a drink or two, he says to the fellow, “Excuse me, ah, you’ve got a banana in your ear.” The fellow says, “What?” The businessman repeats, “You’ve got a banana in your ear. ” Again the fellow says, “What was that?” “You’ve got a banana in your ear!” the businessman shouts. “Talk louder,” the fellow says, “I’ve got a banana in my ear!”

So it’s useless. “Give up, give up, give up,” I say to myself. Say your thing and get out of here. And if they profit, that’s fine, and if they don’t, too bad!

– Anthony De Mello, SJ, 1931-1987

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Confidential Aide to the Mayor

Job Description:
• Performs confidential and complex administrative functions
• Assists the mayor in evaluating plans or proposals by performing extensive research and analysis of materials
• Working with departments, committees and volunteers, assists in the coordination of economic development efforts
• Specializes in developing and implementing all facets of the marketing program
• Assists the mayor in maintaining the highest level of government services

Measurable goals:
• Conduct research to determine marketing needs
• Develop a marketing objective and plan
• Implement marketing plan utilizing a multi-phased approach
• Obtain a city web based domain
• Establish a two-way communication system between city hall and city residents, thereby creating an avenue of accountability on the part of city government
• Create an online data base for widespread communication
• Perform any other duties as assigned by the Mayor

Current Projects:
o Press releases
o Official statements
o Draft official correspondence
o Proclamations
o Social networking
o Coordinate website updates with Engines of Creation
o Provide updates to Waterfront messaging board for Waterfront Foundation
o Respond to constituent submissions to website contact form
o Research/investigation

o Currently preparing Legislative Gazette feature
o Drafted marketing strategy
o Securing voice talent, scripting, casting for radio commercials
o Devised downtown marketing strategy presented to Downtown Development committee
o Working to secure $20,000.00 marketing reimbursement from National Grid Branding Grant

Economic Development
o Compiled comprehensive listing of Downtown properties for interested property/business developers
o Assisting AIDA director in comprehensive property listing of ancillary business listings (property template and photos)
o Initiated business outreach efforts to potential developers/business in efforts to attract downtown business prospects
o Developing incubator program for Graduate Business students with area business schools to provide office space for new businesses opened by recently graduated MBA students.
o Provide aide to mayor in outreach efforts to secure OFT data center.
o Directing Year-Up proposal with NYS CIO/OFT for Amsterdam satellite office

Neighborhood Initiatives
o Direct efforts of Amsterdam Neighborhood Association
o Liaison with APD director of Neighborhood Watch
o Coordinate community events, volunteer activities.
o Liaison between community organizers and Office of the Mayor.
o Design/print marketing for publicity

Advisor to mayor
o Provide budgetary analysis
o General research and opinion issuance
o Coordinating w/ AHS in creation of Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.
o Stand in for mayor at minor occasions in absence

Inter-Department assistance
o Provide intermittent I.T. support within various departments
o Assisted Clerk’s office in devising new proposed FOIL form and policy
o Wrote grant application for record’s management
o Assisted Transit dept. with compiling reporting

Future projects:
o Fair Housing/Rehabilitation program
o Green energy initiative/Municipal utility district

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