From Wednesday’s Tallahassee Democrat, by Arek Sarkissian II.
About 150 people gathered on Tuesday night to better understand what’s at stake in the ongoing immigration debate on Capitol Hill.
“I think we needed to get the information out and I think we needed to understand what the issues at stake are,” said Temple Israel Rabbi Jack Romberg, who moderated the panel. “I think that you will find very few people who are truly anti-immigrant — I think more do not understand the depth of the issue.”
The panel and its audience were gathered by The Village Square at St. John’s Episcopal Church for “Immigration & the American Melting Pot.”
Read the entire story online at Tallahassee.com. Find information about the program and listen to an audio recording online here.
From USA Today, by TaMaryn Waters
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It wasn’t really a dating scene.
But a non-profit here borrowed the concept of speed dating to allow a dozen officials and leaders to get some face time with about five dozen constituents Thursday.
Some participants quizzed leaders on water and air quality, budget issues, the homeless, development in rural areas, educational programs and police officers in schools. Others said little and allowed the leaders to share unknown facts about themselves or their stance on issues. Read the rest of the article at USA Today.
Watch the Video: HERE
By TaMaryn Waters
It wasn’t really a dating scene.
Although, every seven minutes, a bell sounded to alert a dozen featured officials and leaders that it was time to switch tables at The Village Square’s “Speed Date Your Local Leaders” event Thursday night. The inaugural event attracted more than 60 people, all eager to pose questions and get face time with some of Tallahassee’s most influential people.
Read the entire article at Tallahassee.com
From today’s Tallahassee Democrat, by TaMaryn Waters (page 1, above the fold; photos Mike Ewen, Democrat): “For a second consecutive year, residents saw a glimpse of how local leaders feel on issues that matter most to them during the OUR TOWN: Local Leadership Forum, sponsored by Village Square.
“City and county commissioners fielded random questions Thursday evening as nearly 200 attendees listened with keen interest. Residents, many watching the event live on Tallahassee.com, asked officials how they plan to foster more tolerance, preserve Tallahassee’s precious trees as development grows and address the community’s most dire needs beyond jobs and economic development.” Read the entire article online at Tallahassee.com.
From the Tallahassee Democrat, April 3rd 2013, by Liz Joyner:
In “Democracy in America”, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of the uniquely American habit of “forever forming associations.”
There’s good reason for that. In a new country without a king, someone was going to have to make a few decisions.
Our first and strongest associations in America were with the people who shared a common geography and, amid many threats, likely a common fate: our neighbors. The town hall meeting was born early in our republic, and in one form or the other they’ve been happening ever since.
As metaphor, the town hall perfectly captures the very essence of the freedom we won from European monarchs – it’s the triumph of the common man over the sovereign. And, as a practical matter, it’s been how the business of American community has gotten done for hundreds of years now. Read all »
Thursday’s Tallahassee community conversation about firearms did its job in opening the dialogue on how student safety and the Second Amendment play off each other on a local level.
The panel, made up of local community leaders in school safety, law enforcement, faith, education and law addressed an American culture that hinges on violence.
“Being an American community, we are addicted to violence, especially gun violence,” said panel member Rev. Brant Copeland. “We have invited violence into our culture. Why should we be surprised that we can’t protect our children from violence?” Read the whole article in the Tallahassee Democrat here.
In case you didn’t see it yesterday, read the Tallahassee Democrat’s Bob Gabordi on our upcoming forum on guns, sponsored by the Democrat and the Village Square.
“Living in America, I have long believed, is about the art of defending the rights of those with whom we most strongly disagree. Now, I would add, it is also the art of sitting down with and engaging in conversation with those same opinion holders.
We hope that is what we will do as a community Feb. 28 as the Tallahassee Democrat and Tallahassee.com join with The Village Square to present a public forum and discussion on “Students, Safety and the Second Amendment.”
Read the entire post at Tallahassee.com and register for the forum here.
“In 2011, Newsweek published an article naming America’s 10 most dying cities. Most cities on that list responded typically: they amped up their PR campaigns and put out enticing tourism ads. But Grand Rapids, Mich. responded differently, thanks to one 22-year-old named Rob Bliss with an entrepreneurial spirit and a heartwarming love for his city. He staged a citywide lip dub to Don Mclean’s “American Pie,” and thus the dying city showed America that it was rising again. This sort of inspiring behavior was the topic of Peter Kageyama’s lecture at the downtown Challenger Center on Thursday evening, a lecture entitled “For the Love of Cities,” named for his book.” Read the entire article at the FSView website.
During the 2012 presidential election cycle, candidates fell all over themselves to earn the women’s vote. There was talk about “The War on Women” and “binders of women” as we jumped back headlong into a national debate about abortion rights, equal pay for women and even birth control.
For many women, it seemed like re-litigating the last 50 years.
But author Suzanne Venker answered all the campaign talk about the “War on Women” with an op-ed titled “The War on Men.” She immediately found herself swept up in a firestorm like nothing she’d experienced. Americans clearly don’t see eye-to-eye on this topic. Read all »
From WFSU: “The subject is religion in politics and public policy and three members of the Village Square’s “God Squad” bring their unique views to the subject. On the program, Reverend Betsy Oullette of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, Reverend Dave Killeen from St. John’s Episcopal Church, Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel and Liz Joyner, executive director of the Village Square.” Listen to the full program online here. Find more information about our “Faith, Food, Friday” series by clicking here.
When The Village Square embarked on our hyper-local community engagement project called “Get Local” – funded by Knight Foundation through the Community Foundation of North Florida – we wanted to appeal to people who weren’t the usual ones who show up for local civic events. With deepening national partisanship increasingly playing out in local politics, hometown civic discussions have become angrier and therefore less attractive to the average nonpartisan citizen. And we think Tallahassee can hardly afford to lose what they have to offer. Read the whole article on the Knight Foundation blog.
We’re excited that WFSU will be running a fun story today about The Village Square’s TallahasseeWiki project. TallahasseeWiki is a website that is fully user-editable about Tallahassee – add coffee shops and restaurants you like, parks, services, really anything about where we live. You can add pages about whatever matters to you in our hometown – easily and quickly. No special skills required.
What is most fun about this story, though, is that it features Judy Westbrook – the person who has written the most pages on the wiki to date. Judy has written about 50 pages of our 450 total! One of my favorite of Judy’s pages is her Daycations page, that offers great ideas about what to do for a day of sightseeing going different directions out of the city.
Be sure to check out the WFSU story online here. You’ll end up loving Judy as much as we do and you might just become a TallahasseeWiki writer, just like her!
If you’re interested in joining us for coming “Wine and Wiki” writing parties, be sure to put your name on our contact list here.
We’re looking forward to hosting Peter Kageyama in a free public forum on January 24th. For early information about registration, give us your contact info here, you’ll be the first to know!
By TaMaryn Waters: Fun and function aren’t always a package deal when local governments begin priority lists and projects.
It could and should be, says Peter Kageyama, a community and economic-development consultant who wrote “For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places.”
Kageama met with top city of Tallahassee and Leon County officials and staffers Monday afternoon at Mission San Luis to help get them thinking: How can Tallahassee be more of a place people love?
Kageyama said there’s something about places that bond people. At a time when city and county budgets continue to be cut, he said more emotional ties to places and ideas from unlikely sources should not be dismissed. Read the article at Tallahassee.com here.