What would you do if you were the alderman of your ward? Since I'm currently in the 12th ward, I'll let you know some of the things I'd do.
First, I'd run as an independent. Fred Heitert is a Republican. I don't think a Democrat would work in this pocket of the city. There are many older Catholics, police and firemen in this ward. I think the anti-abortion thing is pretty serious in this neck of the woods. I think people are very socially conservative. However, in the long run, party affiliation doesn't mean that much.
Actually, this presents an opportunity if you wanted to unseat the incumbent. One could run against Heitert in the GOP primary, and one could run against him in the general election. Can you do both if you are independent? Not sure. Anyhow, a team effort may be a good thing in this case.
Anyhow, here are some things I'd do if I were alderman:
Construct and advertise a personal aldermanic website during the campaign. If elected, I'd promise to have a simple poll allowing constituents of the 12th ward to vote and have their opinion be heard on agenda items that the alderman will vote on. I'd have an open forum for discussion on citywide and 12th ward topics. I'd pound the pavement to meet people and understand the concerns. I'd log and track the responses and post them as actions items. There would be goals around improvement. There would be citizen involvement and complete transparency on voting, funding and bills.
I'd have power point presentations at all neighborhood meetings, campaign events, public meetings, etc. Slides showing what our strength are and what is important to me in the neighborhood, what has improved in my years here and what needs work within the ward. I believe this would go a long way when trying to persuade voters. Pictures are worth a thousand words, no?
I'd start with pictures of the shuttered gas stations at Gravois/Loughborough and Gravois/Germania. The empty store fronts along Gravois from Holly Hills, south to Germania present an opportunity. With a little advertisement and marketing, couldn't we have a thriving little business and/or shopping area?
I'd be a staunch proponent for the Great Rivers Greenway as it relates to the 12th ward.
I'd be a staunch proponent for sidewalks in the Boulevard Heights neighborhood around Robert Ave., east of Morgan Ford. This is one of the only pockets of the city that I'm aware of that doesn't have sidewalks.
I'd commit to attending the Holly Hills Neighborhood Association meetings. The 12th ward covers parts of Holly Hills, but currently only Aldermen Wessels and Villa attend/give updates at that meeting.
I'd promise returns on calls and emails within 48 hours.
That's just a start. What would you do if you were alderman? What would you do if you part of city govt?