Mayor Peterson, City Manager Norris, and other City of Salem officials just can't seem to please anybody these days.
When they tried to take over part of public Riverfront Park for a private access road, they were slammed by park lovers. When they tried to foist parking meters on the Historic District without asking citizens how they felt about this, 9,000 Salemians signed a "No Way!" petition that halted this plan. When they had a notion of turning the library into a police facility and relocating it to a parking garage, library lovers showered them with "Are you crazy?" messages -- which ended that particular insanity.
But now our wacky gang of Keystone Cops at City Hall have really put their feet in some deep doo-doo.
They've ticked off the Downtown Dog Protection League by holding a Dog Days of Summer event in the afternoon of freaking August, the hottest time of the year. Yikes! Hot dogs! Hot paws! Current forecast is for 89 degrees. Could be hotter a week from now.
In an email Roger Yost, owner of several downtown buildings (including the Reed Opera House), has taken the City of Salem Urban Development folks and other public officials to task for messing up the previously well-run Dog Days event.
So sorry you're taking the popular "Dog Days Downtown" and renaming it "Dog Days of Summer," back into August, for the mistaken term that included the word "dog."When I was president of Go Downtown, we moved the popular event to June when weather was more predictably tolerable for our best four-legged friends. It easily created more traffic downtown, by those experiencing the traffic, than any previous "Dog Days." And did so for three straight years.For the record, here's one of the historic reasons that precipitated the term "Dog Days.":Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.Had my Berner, Leila, still been alive, I would not be taking her into 90 degree heat on hot sidewalks to celebrate an ill-timed promotion by a City Manager's steering committee, which should have been disbanded, along with its programs, June 30, 2014.I will have our managers put out big bowls of water, but you do no favors for our downtown merchants or our beloved animals, by encouraging inhumane activities in the name of a humane cause and presumed commerce. You are demeaning, not revitalizing, our Downtown.
Accurately put: You are demeaning, not revitalizing, our Downtown.
The "you" notably includes City Manager Linda Norris, who I like to call Exalted Emperor Norris (using that title in an ironic sense).
She personally took over the downtown organization for decidedly lousy reasons, then proceeded to mismanage it so badly business owners voted to do away with the Economic Improvement District rather than watch Norris squander their funds by screwing up previously effective promotional activities like First Wednesday.
As Yost pointed out, the steering committee Norris appointed to rubberstamp her actions (she became a one-person "board of directors," accountable to no one other than herself) is still stumbling onwards to nowhere even though the Economic Improvement District doesn't exist any more.
One would think that Norris and other City officials would have gotten the message by now: Stop screwing up downtown. Your incompetence is hurting, not helping, efforts to revitalize the Historic District.
Now that the Dog Lobby has weighed in, maybe this loud Woof! Woof! will finally wake up City Hall.
Among other things that need to be done to improve downtown is moving the Dog Days event back to June. In 2009 I documented that year's Salem Dog Days in a non-award-winning but still charming video.