"•Residents should stay positive and focus on what they as citizens can do.
•Worries that young people living in poverty will miss out on opportunities available to their more affluent peers may be alleviated with scholarships to allow them to join.
•Owners of small retail stores who are concerned they'll be driven out of business by national chains may consider staying open later.
•School officials could foster understanding of other cultures by seeking public funds to offer more foreign language programs."
The article also quotes the region's drawbacks as: "high taxes, a shrinking population and intolerance of differences." There is some substance here, even though quoting "a shrinking population" as a reason for shrinking populations is a bit strange. In particular, I am pleased to see a discussion of intolerance, an issue mentioned in our previous post, being aired. Also the fact that the concerns of poor youths (or heavily indebted ones) and small business owners are considered is a positive sign.
However, the one great Achilles' Heel of this type of conference is its reliance upon the current institutions for change. School officials changing classes, elected officials instituting policy adaptations and business leaders staying open later; the only thing for residents to do is "stay positive." What help is staying positive by itself? Prayer alone does not build a house. The conference, like so many others, simply tells us to sit back and trust our leaders... the same leaders who have done little or nothing for years to drag us out of the pits in which we have fallen. I think it is time that we, the people, start to figure out solutions for our own problems. I've personally had enough of sitting back and being positive.
-Posted by Jesse