Weve all heard from politicians, especially at election time, referring to Lawrence as a beautiful city, but have done little to maintain our streets free from litter.
To a certain extent, I agree that Lawrence is a beautiful city with amazing architecture and beautiful neighborhoods. But if you walk down the lower Tower Hill area, most of the Arlington neighborhood, and all along Broadway - a vast majority will undoubtedly agree that we are still far from becoming a truly litter-free, beautiful city.
Our local government leaders have not done enough to raise consciousness among our citizens about the huge problems that littering does to the economy, the environment, quality of life and to our health.
Thanks to many local agencies and their tireless volunteers such as: the Lawrence Methuen Community Coalition, the Arlington Neighborhood Trabajando, community and neighborhood associations, the city does look cleaner today than it did twenty years ago.
These non-profit organizations are making a marvelous effort to clean up our streets through their neighborhood clean-up programs, but that is not sufficient.
Just think about it for a minute. If some-one, or some group, comes a few times a year to sweep the front of your home, will you care as much to do it yourself? Hell, no! Unfortunately, many of our uneducated Lawrence residents tend to think like that.
What Lawrence needs, and has been missing for too long, is a serious, MAJOR education campaign throughout the local media (radio, TV, newspapers, Internet and the School Department) to educate our residents about the importance of keeping Lawrence immaculate.
Other cities across the country are doing this quite successfully. From New York to Washington, from the Carolinas to Texas and as far away as California, these cities have implemented government-based or govern-ment assisted "clean city programs" that have made a great impact on the environment, the local economy and the health of the residents.
A dirty, litter-filled city will slow progress. We cannot expect to properly and efficiently sell Lawrence to potential investors to create more jobs and generate revenue if the city is not hygienically attractive.
It's the job of our government leaders to clean our streets, but the responsibility of keeping them clean falls directly on the shoulders of every citizen in Lawrence. Thats why a massive education is the key.
Without a doubt, a two year minimum investment in an advertisement campaign (in English and Spanish) to keep the city clean will have a tremendously positive impact on the environment, and our quality of life.
This is nothing new. Keep America Beautiful (http://www.kab.org) is the nation largest community improvement network that encourages individuals to take responsibility for improving their community environments, and public service announcements are a very important part of their agenda.
Here is a quote taken from the Keep America Beautiful Website:
Almost three decades ago, Keep America Beautiful created a powerful visual image to dramatize how litter and other forms of environmental pollution were hurting America, and how litter was every individuals responsibility. Keep America Beautifuls landmark public service ad, which featured the now-famous face and tear of the actor Iron Eyes Cody, first aired on Earth Day 1971. It was titled People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It, and it went on to become one of the most successful and memorable campaigns in advertising history. This public service adwhich became widely known as the Crying Indianand the several versions that followed are credited with helping to fuel the fledgling environmental movement in this country.
Keep America Beautifuls newest PSA, titled Back By Popular Neglect, first aired on April 21/Earth Day 1998. It recalls the famous face and tear of Iron Eyes Cody, and delivers a strong message about litter prevention and individual responsibility. It was adapted to include information about the 1999 Great American Cleanup™.
As a candidate for City Councilor At-Large, keeping the streets and neigh-borhoods of Lawrence clean is my number one goal. I know this is possible because it has been done successfully in other parts of the country and in cities ten times bigger than Lawrence.
All we need is the willingness of our elected officials to approve the funds for investing in a clean city public awareness campaign along with the support of our residents.
*Send your questions
comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com