I am proud to be known as a community supporter. Our jobs as magazine publishers mean we get to be out in the community in a big way. Shows at local entertainment venues, theater, public meetings to discuss changes in our community, news conferences, town hall meetings on various topics, educational conferences, Chamber of Commerce strategy sessions, downtown activities and any other activity that we feel we can support by a generous portion of our time, talent and the pages of our magazines. Because of the exposure our jobs bring, Jill and I are fortunate to almost always get a seat at the table.
What saddens me as we move through our lives is the shocking lack of depth among the numbers and types of people who show up when there is a job to be done. Because we go to so many things during the year, we have a well-educated perspective on the others in those rooms.
Let’s start with voting. With political unrest at unprecedented levels, one would think that folks would come in droves to the ONLY place where they have a real voice — the polls. Not so. I spoke a few days ago with Muscogee County Election Director Nancy Boren and asked her to send me some Muscogee County voter turnout data. With General Elections bringing out less than 50% of registered voters and Primary Elections turning out less than 20% of registered voters, these are sad commentaries on just how much residents of Muscogee County really care about who gets into office.
Even though this is the most telling symptom of public apathy, it goes much further. Recently Jill and I attended a public meeting put on by the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley and the PATH Foundation, an Atlanta consulting group that designs and implements green space/cycling/skating/running/walking solutions for cities.
A major effort was expended to get people there and the size of the crowd was disappointing. In a recent issue of the Ledger-Enquirer it was announced that city council had unanimously voted to accept the PATH Foundation’s designs for 25+ miles of trails that will tie into the RiverWalk and other existing trails in our city. PLEASE TAKE SOME TIME AND LOOK OVER THIS 40+ PAGE DESIGN PLAN. If this doesn’t excite you, it is highly likely you can’t fog a mirror.
Find something about Columbus that you love and get plugged in. If you don’t know how to make contact with the right person, send me an email and I’ll help. Use social media to put yourself out there. There is a cause out there that just might match your philanthropic interest. Or there might be a need that you have the passion and resources to fill. If everyone will use their time and talent we’ll be way further down the road to perfection than we are today. Pitch in, people! Here’s a great way to start: Like the Friends of Columbus River Link Facebook community page!