Wednesday, August 22, 2007

All Geniuses Please Sound Off

The Center City Commission doesn't read my blog, but they do read my emails...

Surfing the interweb today, I came across a post by FearlessVK regarding the Center City Commission’s new Sound Off! feature in which people are asked to share their ideas for improving downtown.

You know I couldn’t help sharing my recent Brain Children with them. (Especially considering the fact that they are most certainly interested in panhandling, according to the latest post by “downtown stakeholder” Paul Ryburn.)

Much to my delight, I received a return email almost immediately from Leslie Gower, the CCC’s Director of Communications. She gave me her permission to share the email online in the hopes of getting others to submit their ideas.

How interesting! Thanks so much for sounding off and sharing this fantastic concept. I couldn't agree with you more that Downtown is in dire need of scrubbing up, and I love the idea of involving our panhandlers in the process. Genius. I'll definitely share your good thoughts with our staff and board.

All the best,
Leslie Gower
Director of Communications
Center City Commission
114 North Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
direct: 901.575.0561
main: 901.575.0540

Let me know if she thinks you are a genius too!

FYI: The Sound Off! link simply directs you to an email form with Ms. Gowers’ email address. Since it is listed here, you can save yourself a click or two.


RJA said...

As a downtown stakeholder myself, I'm afraid your brain child makes two assumptions that are fatal flaws to your idea. First, you assume that the bums downtown want, or would be willing, to work for their money, even if the work entails merely picking up garbage. They don't want to work, panhandling is far too lucrative for them to care about earning money.

Second, if they did want to work, and if it was the recyclable market they were after, they wouldn't be picking it up off the street. They would dig through the Dumpsters of local businesses and residences, and the street corner garbage cans for their bounty, discarding what isn't recyclable to litter the streets.

What we need is for the vagrants to go away. Unfortunately, we need that more than we need things recycled and that is where all resources by the institutions that be should be focused. I own a business downtown and every time one of these people detours a tourist from my block or gets money from them that they might have otherwise spent in my store, then they've taken food out of my family's mouth.

In a perfect world everyone would recycle. In a semi-perfect world the downtown bums would have enough initiative to earn money in the way you suggest. However, as hard as Leslie (and I've known her for years) and the rest of the crew works at the CCC, downtown Memphis is far from perfect.

Warren for Mayor said...

Solution 1:
Mandatory recycling for EVERYONE--then the Bums would not be digging through the trash to find recyclables. Oh and mandatory padlocks on dumpsters too.

Solution 2:
Force each bum to wear a smile, white pith helmet, whistle, and one of those over the shoulder banner things that beauty contestants wear, that would say "Memphis Welcoming Committee." Now the tourists won't be scairt, but will gladly fork over $$$. They will be the ones doing the approaching....

Solution 3:
Sponsor a bum--buy him/her a dustpan and broom and pay them a small fee (say 10$ a week) for keeping your part of the street clean of litter, butts, vomit, used condoms, etc... it worked at my office on Broad Ave, until Michael got mixed up with the crack-addled former owner of the Beer Joint, two doors down and broke into the office yard and stole a ladder and battery charger to sell for more crack--but i digress.

Solution 4;
Give them some change. In fact that's all they want, just a lil change to catch the bus to somewhere else (at least that's what every bum has ever told me). That way you solve 3 problems for the price of one...1) bum gone, 2) you the charity are somewhat satisfied and your soul is one step closer to Nirvana, and 3) some other town's problem now. We can send them on the first MATA bus to Collierville. It would take them a few days to find their way back downtown.

fearlessvk said...

leslie gower thinks i'm a genius too... who knew there were so many geniuses in m-town? :)

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