Friday, April 30, 2010

If “Appearance Isn’t An Overarching Strategy – Tell Me What Is?

I’ve been unfairly tagged as little picture, tactical and myopic, so I’m not about to do that to others.

But how sad when I overheard someone the other day commenting on the guffaws and rolled eyes among City administrators when “appearance” was offered as an overarching strategy.

Read this blog which touches on a fraction of the ways and departments and divisions in City and County government that touch on “appearance.”

What is overarching then if appearance isn’t.    Gallup polling just revealed it as one of the top three elements that people respect most about their communities.

If the day to day leadership for Durham’s largest property owner can roll its eyes at “appearance,” where does that leave those of us who are just trying to keep up our house and yard or apartment????

Yes, I’ll bet when you add up public spaces, parks, city buildings, school buildings (really county but most are in the city,) right of ways, medians, streets, water reservoirs and street trees….that the City of Durham is the largest single land owner in Durham.

Burns me when people dismiss how crucial it is for the City to integrate “appearance” as a vehicle to achieve crime reduction, public health, assessed valuation, tourism economic and cultural development, business recruitment and retention, and community image and pride and improving property values  etc. to name just a handful.

If the City wants residents, neighborhoods and businesses to feel accountable for appearance, the people who run Durham’s largest property owner on a day to day better make appearance a priority as an example.

And all but a small percentage of residents are “stockholders” in the City as taxpayers.  So yes, we have a reason to be concerned that those running day operations throughout the City, including operational areas like budget, finance etc. don’t “get it” that polls show that more than 90% of residents view appearance as a community priority.

But again, I wasn’t there so let me give these the people in that room, who are charged with caring for our community the benefit of the doubt and I’m sure they were laughing and eye-rolling because the strategic importance of “appearance” is so obvious.

Come on people…if this doesn't make the case for appearance being an overarching strategy…then please make the case for anything that touches more areas?

But again, 3 out of every 5 people working in Durham, doesn’t live in Durham, maybe higher in local government.  So maybe this is reflective of that condition.

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