Sunday, November 30, 2008

Go r-e-a-d a b-o-o-kay!!

Michael Pollan came,
and he said (something like)
"Is a building a piece of art,
or is a building a reaction and adaptation to its surroundings?"
(apparently the theme of his book A Place of My Own)
Although I don't agree with his woodchuck management methods, Dependent Study is having a Pollan intensive period; it would be fabulous to have you along.

There are Multiple "I"s in Teamwork

I just finished Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty for a class. It's very informative in the history of the specific area and the program the author focused on (Westside Las Vegas), but the meat of it is the personal growth of the women leading the change in the impoverished community. It made me feel better about a lot of things because it documents people that don't have specific training or education in terms of getting political, financial, and social support for starting community-based antipoverty programs. Similar things are going on in St. Louis, with Urban Studio and a lot of other new things that I come in contact being initiated by motivated people that manage around different obstacles in getting to their goal.
It relates to the idea that companies and firms are beginning to be less homogeneous, that engineers, social workers, architects, businessmen, and whoever else would be working on a same project to bring their expertise into the same goal. I find that really really exciting, but as of now, a lot of grassroots movements lack the variety of resources, so individuals end up doing multiple of those tasks by themselves. Maybe after this generation (which I think is focused and very specialized) grows up, the grassroots movement can have a more dynamic, cohesive momentum behind it.
Maybe maybe?
love, Hitomi

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Apple Break 11/11

We're having an Apple Break tonight!!
It's and rainy out, so we might have it indoors.

We just got these nifty new posters from our friend Kevin McCall.
He's got talent; We've got apples.

So, wherever you are in the world, take 15 minutes tonight, find some friends, have an apple, and relax.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Some Yummy Quotes

"I do not put my faith in institutions, but in individuals all over the world who think clearly, feel nobly and act rightly. They are the channels of moral truth." -Rabindranath Tagore

"Beauty will not come at the call of a legislature, nor will it repeat in England or America its history in Greece. It will come, as always, unannounced, and spring up between the feet of brave and earnest men." -Ralph Waldo Emerson (on the cover of Louis Sullivan's copy of Henry Hobson Richardson and His Works)

Knowledge is Power

Sadly, Proposition M did not pass. It was a really close margin (52% for no, 48% for yes with the difference being under 20,000 votes), and I can see glimpses of hope in that. The only thing we Metro supporters can do is to try to come up with better ways to fund and support it in the near future.

Things I noticed from the comments on the Post-Dispatch article online were that people were unaware that the city had already passed a similar tax measure in support of Metro years ago, the leaders that misused funds in the past have been replaced, and that revenue from fares do not run the Metro or any public transportation system anywhere. It's a failure on our part to properly educate the public, but Metro also could not advocate for themselves at their stations. I think it makes a huge difference if people truly understand the issues and consequences at play, which is very difficult to do from a short proposition on a ballot. It's frustrating that hope was such a large part of this election, and many propositions (M, 8 in California, etc.) failed due to voter's unwillingness to give these issues a chance for whatever reason.

Thanks for voting. We'll keep fighting/loving.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Proposition M and St. Louis

The only serious political advocacy I have ever participated in is for Proposition M on tomorrow's ballot. This issue seems entirely dire to me; if it fails, I know St. Louis itself will not be able to recover. The idea that punishing poor management by removing funding is preposterous. If the Metro system doesn't get enough funding, they will be forced to cut services, thus decreasing reliability for the riders, and in the end (which won't be so far away if it is to come) the entire system will have to shut down due to lack of ridership. Of course I want the Metro to be managed better so that it can run more trains, buses, and Call-a-Rides more frequently and more cheaply, but the current situation trumps this concern. Prop M is not a heart-attack prevention plan; it's a defibrillation, and it's the last try.

Public transit has allowed St. Louis businesses to hire more employees who had no way to commute to their jobs before it existed. Public transit made St. Louis more conscious about the effects of traffic on both people and the environment. Public transit funneled tons of Cardinals fans together into the Stadium station every summer. It lets me go places that makes me feel like I live in a city that's worth saving. Unfortunately I cannot vote (in the U.S.), so I'm hoping that the joy I feel of riding public transportation has reached enough people in time for tomorrow.

Please please vote,
p.s. Let's go on a Metro adventure when Prop M passes, yeah?

Sample ballot can be found here. Prop M is the second from last measure on the ballot tomorrow.
Video testimonials about the importance of Metro (including one from Miz Metrolink herself!) here.
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