All-AmericaWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
Congratulations to the 10 cities — Phoenix, Ariz.; Inglewood, Calif.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Richmond, Ind.; Wichita, Kan.; Sommerville, Mass.; Albany, N.Y.; Kinston, N.C.; Statesville, N.C.; and Caroline County, Va. — that were named 2009’s All-America cities by the National Civic League. While Toledo did not make the cut this year, the competition brought out some interesting elements of our city’s personality.
On one hand, money was raised so nearly 40 people could travel to Tampa to make a presentation to the judging committee. Citizens young and old came together to cheer about Toledo and try to bring home some glory. These people put aside politics and tried to spread some goodwill.
On the other hand, some used the competition as an opportunity to scorn and mock those who tried to do something positive. There is a persistent, yet unproven, rumor that one local organization spent time and energy contacting the awards committee in Tampa to make a case against Toledo being an All-America city; the National Civic League assures us such efforts do not impact the process, and we have to take them at their word.
By the way, Toledo Free Press is pursuing that rumor, and we will get to the bottom of it.
Would an All-America designation immediately create jobs, fill local pockets with money or put police back on the street? Of course not. But this is an area that could use some good news and national recognition — for the right reasons — and a thank you is due to the companies and citizens that gave it their best shot.
Such designations are clearly not a life-or-death pursuit, but be wary of those who describe awards such as All-America City as “lipstick on a pig” — they may want to convey the award as shallow window dressing, but think about their base comparison of Toledo to a pig. If that is how they feel, they should lift their own snouts out of the trough and take a more informed look around, past the tempest-in-a-teapot controversies and into the lives of the people who live and work here because they love and respect their city.
It may not be in vogue to be proud of our city, but remember: politicians and media people come and go; the city stands long after those factions disappear, and the city stands as an eternal All-America candidate, whether the actual award comes home or not.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.