The Advantages of a Better Community: Forward-Thinking Planning

Advantages Explored!

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, On Self-Reliance

I’ve always found comfort in those words.  Hasn’t each of us realized that we probably have more in common with each other than we first thought? I’m not saying that our likes and tastes are all the same (that would be boring), but that our basic hopes and desires look – in the end – very similar.  

Over the next few months, I want to explore in more detail the Advantages of a Better Community, one at a time, in no specific order. These are, to me, the “common denominators” of good community. In some ways, they are reflective of the foundations that already exist here in Coraopolis; in other ways, they are aspirational. Some will resonate with you more than others, but I think you’ll agree they all are advantages we seek. They are the advantages I am working for each day.   I look forward to your own thoughtful comments!



What does it mean when you’re the only name on the ballot?  Well, now I can tell you.

I entered this race for one reason: to gather as many people as possible around the idea of making Coraopolis a truly great place to live, and then do just that with their help.  This was never about gaining power, never about ego, and never about backing down.  When I received in the mail this week the official list of candidates from the Allegheny County Board of Elections, I was surprised to see that my name was the only one for Mayor.  For some, that may seem like good news, but for me, the good news started months (and even years) ago when I, and so many of you, committed ourselves fully to the growth and success of the town we love.  The better news is that our campaign is just getting started.

Forward-thinking planning is essential for the healthy management of any group of people, as much as it is for the healthy management of yourself.  What you put into your body sometimes has immediate impact, but always has an eventual impact.  Many believe that what we have been putting into the body of Coraopolis leadership over the years has been a mixed diet, and so we have seen mixed results.  Today, things are changing and we can see it.  We have good, smart, caring people who are working for the good of this town, and they are putting in the hours.  We are now bearing the fruit of that labor in many ways.

Signs of forward-thinking planning are visible, from an updated borough headquarters to recreational areas to building renovations. These will serve us very soon, but will also serve future generations. Technology, greenspaces, infrastructure, clean water, business-friendly management, strength in public safety and education, and community networking – these are the hallmarks of cities and towns who are thinking ahead. And while we acknowledge that we’re not getting top marks in each and every area yet, I am convinced we will.  There are so many of you committed to seeing this through.  Keep your eyes out for more signs of forward-thinking in the months to come – I’m committed to them!

People: our fight should not be against each other – it should be against the roadblocks we find getting between us and our future. In this campaign, I’ve said from the beginning that I’m not running against anyone; I’m running for the town I love.  But at the same time, I’m not naïve enough to think conflicts aren’t going to happen.  What matters is how we are managing through conflict. The best way to do that successfully is from a position of respect, grace, and common goals. The Advantages of a Better Community were written on an airplane a few months ago when I had to articulate (to myself first, then to you) just what my agenda would be. In the past month, I’ve attempted to articulate further the meaning of each of those advantages, and to invite your feedback.  We are halfway there – six more Advantages to explore and one month left before the primary on May 16.  But our campaign is just starting!

Let’s name names.

Who are the people in your life who have demonstrated forward-thinking?

  • Did your grandfather build your house that is still standing?
  • Do you find daily inspiration in the writings of an author or poet?
  • Did someone teach you a skill that you you’ve used all of your life?

Gracious and respectful feedback is invited!

I’ll start this off by paying homage to one of our great neighbors on Montour Street, the late Angelo Mariani, whom we met when we first moved here over twenty-five years ago.  Angelo had an amazing garden, and we were lucky enough to experience the bounty each summer and fall. We would find tomatoes, peppers and zucchini on our side porch several times a week in harvest time, and were always grateful for both his agricultural skills and caring, cheerful spirit. But we’re most grateful for the fig tree he gave us, which continues to grow and bear fruit each year. He’d be proud of our bocce court, and pleased that we raise a glass in his honor with the first-fruits of every crop.

Shawn P. Reed
The Candidate for Mayor