Monday, December 21, 2009

For true reform, we need merely look in the mirror.

"It is, of course, an unrealistic dream. Politics, image-making and sloganeering are easy. Governing - especially the nitty-gritty of state and local government - is hard. It has a way of tarnishing the veneer of idealism. And political idealism raises expectations that are almost impossible to fulfill, leading to disillusionment. Once the original idealism fades, as it did for Lindsay and Schundler and appears to have done for Suozzi, it is difficult to recapture.

The old Tammany Hall politician George Washington Plunkitt put it best over a hundred years ago: "A reformer can't last in politics. He can make a show for a while, but he always comes down like a rocket."

Of course a "single" reformer will ultimately fail if his or her reform is based upon personal charisma.

Where there is no structural reform, failure is almost always certain.

Where there is no participation by the governed, reform will almost always fail.

This is a story as old as recorded history, yet somehow we cling to the concept of being "saved" by an individual.

If someone wishes to show true reform, create a system where collaboration and the free exchange of ideas and methods is made dynamic and simple. "One Long Island" is an attempt at "creating" this type of system.

True reform will break the "cycle of stagnation" we currently find ourselves mired in, on Long Island and in the country in general. True reform will assist the public in creating a fair, just and efficient society in a way that no top down dictate can.

We are the "reformers."

For true reform, we need merely look in the mirror.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unchain Long Island ...

"The media’s mistake with posting reader comments is in failing to uphold its old standard. Before online postings, there were letters to the editor. The traditional standard held that letter writers were identified and verified. But now that the media has taken a beating for elitism and liberalism and a whole host of other -isms, it wants to appear as if it suddenly cares what the reader has to say. So it’s thrown the standard out the window and wants to “engage the reader in the conversation.”

Reality check: For a conversation to take place, you need to show up for it. Once the media reports what it has to say, it walks away. A look at the online postings shows there’s no conversation between the public and media, or even among the public. It’s a cyber back alley strewn with negativity and needs to be cleaned up.

What should be dominating the public consciousness is what’s wrong with the local media infrastructure that allowed the major contender for ________ seat to bear a name unknown to 80 percent of the populace. Not enough coverage, that’s what wrong. What coverage appeared in Newsday was outweighed by the aforementioned commentary and suffered from probable bias, as reported by the Long Island Press."

Part of the problem on Long Island is that we tend to analyze the different "elements" that comprise Long Island separate and apart from one another. This is not unusual in that all of us have different areas of expertise in which we feel comfortable.

Part of the "One Long Island" series of ideas is way to "bridge" the different disciplines and to find common ground and common elements between them.

We all need to think in a "meta" sort of way. This is not an easy thing to do immediately, it is a skill to be learned and to be taught and passed on until it becomes the "norm."

Any of the "One Long Island" ideas may operate alone or in connection with one or more of the other elements of the concept. True, certain elements of the concept are necessary to do first (such as the "common language") but many of these are easily started because the technology is readily available. It just requires a little organization.

Once you have the framework in place true conversation may occur. And conversation not just based on visceral opinion but on real information and analysis and informed opinion.

The anarchy we see in today's media is most likely caused by the unknown. What is the role of media today and going forward? Where can we get our news unfiltered through the lens of opinion? Can we trust the media?

We've written before of the need for Long Islanders to form "collaborative constituencies" and in essence, inform themselves and their neighbors. The current anonymous postings may be cathartic and sometimes entertaining, but they do not substitute for real dialogue based upon a common "Long Island Philosophy."

The question then becomes, can we handle the truth? Can we work collaboratively? Do we want to be successful or do we enjoy and sometimes profit from the chaos?

I believe out of the current confusion, we will find a way to work collaboratively. I believe that certainly some of what we've proposed in "One Long Island" is essential to the "turnaround."

I know that there are more "intelligent" folks per square inch on Long Island than almost anywhere else on this planet.

Perhaps its time to open up the process and see how intelligent Long Islanders truly are.




Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tools ... progress ...

"Long Islanders are gloomy and how they feel about their future is sobering. Clearly without active participation by Long Islanders, the regional economy can’t be expected to grow."

... and without a dynamic system which allows the participation of Long Islanders, from all walks of life, we can not expect the region to grow ....

This is the main thrust of the "One Long Island" series of concepts.

We can't expect a "spontaneous organizational" event to occur. We must give our citizens the tools and a framework within which to utilize these tools.

Then we will see progress.