"The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off."

Gloria Steinem

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recommended Reading: Community Blogs

It’s time I followed up on my blog’s description, and try to link together the many people in the Schuylkill Valley striving to help their local communities improve the quality of life.  I begin by recommending four websites in the text that follows. This is only a start; I hope to discover more such sites and would appreciate hearing of any you know.  We need to spread the word about the eternal truth I quote at the conclusion of this post.

First, not just a specific site, but a specific post.  Katie Bambi Kohler, who blogs as “cheesesteak princess,” posted an entry that everyone interested in the future of Norristown should read.  It is entitled “Hard Look at My Hometown.”  Its goal is to stimulate a conversation about Norristown, and I fully endorse the sentiment behind it.  I wanted to republish the entire post, but her editor at the Times Herald webpage asked that I only publish a link.  This is odd, as this blog also appears in the Times Herald, but I will comply.  Here it is:

Three locally oriented websites have also caught my eye, at least so far.  Each focuses solely on its own community, but even a casual search of their articles produces familiar terms and concerns.  Their concerns should be more widely understood, because they issues they address are shared across the Delaware Valley, each in relation to the status of the community under scrutiny.  Thus I recommend that local community activists, regardless of their specific location, peruse these sites regularly, and use them to learn more about the nature and complexity of our shared issues.

Two sites focus on Pottstown.  Even a brief glance at either will make a Norristown resident feel right at home, if uncomfortably so.  Consider:

Save Pottstown!! (http://savepottstown.com/)  has a mission statement that reads as follows:

We abhor injustice and Pottstown has, unfortunately, more than its fair share.  The goal of the site is to expose the corruption that has overtaken our fair town.  Whether that corruption be from elected officials, paid Borough employees, or business owners [sic].”

Consider a question the site wishes to pose to the County Commissioners:  “Why does Pottstown have so much subsidized housing and what is proactively being done to distribute subsidized housing more uniformly throughout the county?” (2/7/2013).  If more evidence is needed, almost every article on the site’s home page contains the word “crime.”

If you are searching for local cause-oriented websites, one entitled “goldencockroach” might not immediately catch your attention, at least not as a possibility.  I know I initially overlooked it.  The site (http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/), has an equally specific Pottstown focus, as its mission statement explains:

We are citizens of Pottstown, Pa working together to achieve accountability for the Future of Pottstown by holding slumlords responsible for the blight, crime and destruction they contribute to our community.  We encourage our Elected Officials, Municipal Employees, Montgomery County and the State of Pennsylvania to embrace an expansive, borough-wide approach to planning and regulation through education, communication and transparency.

In considerable contrast is a site devoted to Conshohocken, entitled Conshy.org (http://www.conshy.org/).  It mission statement is much more general, and its attitude more optimistic: 

I wanted to talk about Conshohocken. I wanted a place to express my observations, my complaints and my thoughts.

My immediate impression was that the tone of the three sites listed above is directly related to how each borough is currently faring in today’s economic climate.  I would like to explore that thought further, and hope to.  I recommend you all add all these sites to your periodic reading list, although I neither endorse nor echo any specific statement they might contain.  We simply need more voices added to the conversation, and for residents of the Schuylkill Valley, these should be included.

So, until next time, let me echo the words of Red Green, that wise man of the Canadian north woods:  Remember, we’re all in this together.”

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this article and for the link to the Times Herald piece. (Editor only wanted a link published, I suppose, to force us to look at his slimy ads about get-rich-quick schemes and testosterone.) All my life, Norristown Council's answer to our problems has always been to try to get outsiders to fix things. Why build a big apartment building no one wants to "attract artists" when we've got local talent no one is supporting, and not much of an arts infrastructure? Why build more retail space when we got lots of empty stores? Why not start with what we've got and make it work first?