Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Property owners should be present
A Feb. 13 meeting intended to kick off the latest round of planning for a renewed and lively downtown Dallas was notable for several things including a glaring absence.
It was notable because it marks the continuation of an effort that began long ago and has gone through several cycles resulting in little meaningful change. A lot of small, almost unrelated changes, over the past 20 years or so but nothing as dramatic and robust as might be expected.
It was notable because it appears that this effort is built on a solid foundation of knowledge, understanding of the community and experience. The knowledge and understanding come from the people and a 2001 community survey. The experience is coming from people brought to the community through the Oregon Downtown Development Association.
Examples of that organization's work and success can be seen in McMinnville, Silverton, Baker City and other communities throughout the state.
Bringing all the elements of downtown development together is a major attribute of the process underway.
Long-time Dallas resident, property owner and business person, Gordon English Jr., made his presence known and felt at the Thursday meeting. What he had to say was on the mark when he asked, "Where are the property owners?"
The meeting was attended by representatives of a few downtown businesses, city staff, city council, the Chamber of Commerce but he was right. For the most part, the people most directly affected and instrumental to the success of any plan were absent.
The city continues to make a special effort to involve those property owners in the process but it is largely outside the public meeting arena.
The property owners and the community will benefit a great deal more if all the concerned properties can meet together, share ideas, concerns, and matters of timing and regulation at the same time and place.
The meetings for the process are scheduled. A turnout of people with a real stake in the future of Dallas as a viable commercial district is needed. Choose an area of interest and be there if you are a resident, consumer, business operator or property owner. Every one has a role to play and a voice to be heard.
War needs better marketing concept
It seems a little amazing that the world sees the United States (and probably Great Britain) as being strong largely Christian countries picking on a much smaller, much weaker Muslim nation, Iraq.
If the president and his minions really want to sell the world on the need to eliminate Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, a lot more emphasis should be placed on the fact that Saddam Hussein has been waging war for many years on the world's Muslim nations.
It was Iraq and Saddam Hussein that took Iran to war.
Certainly the United States had some cause for going after the Iranian revolutionaries who held the embassy and its staff hostage. But it was Hussein and his Iraqi troops who fought and killed thousands of Iranians in a battle between Shiite and Sunni sects as well as nations.
It was Iraq and Saddam Hussein that spread poison gas over Kurds living in northern Iraq. Decimating families and tribes and making an already miserable life much more miserable for tribal people whom have called the area "home" for centuries.
It was Iraq and Saddam Hussein that crossed the invisible line in the sand separating Kuwait from Iraq. It was the United States (and other Western nations) that provided the force that drove Saddam and the boys back to Baghdad.
In short, President Bush and the United States should be telling and re-telling the history of this Saladin wanna-be. Explaining that the real threat he poses is more to his Muslim brethren in the neighborhood than anyone else.
Hussein has been very adept at his marketing techniques and very quick to adopt the "common enemy" approach to unifying the very people who should be cheering loudest at prospects of his departure.
It's time for the United States to become as adept in its marketing of a war on Saddam Hussein and Iraq.