Dear Council for the City of London,
Gerry LaHay passed away suddenly this week and the City heard a momentous lament go up. We heard the grief of those so often not heard. It is common to see outpourings for famous people, our long established leaders and such. It is rarer in my opinion and should be noted when someone truly amongst those they fought for is mourned by so many and so loudly.
Gerry’s impact on me was profound. He embodied so much of what we truly need to make this a better place. Forgiveness, humility, empathy and most importantly the will to change. Gerry proved that it is possible to change, if we can find the will. It does not matter when or where we find it, it matters that we act on it the moment we do. Once he knew what he was doing was the right thing, he never let go, he wrote everyone, often. Gerry brought people together and found us the stuck levers that need to be pulled loose. Gerry bared all to us, opened his life, his struggle, and his heart. Gerry truly became part of his community by giving his whole self to it. He belongs to those he fought so hard for now, he will live on in them and the struggle. I do not think he’ll rest until the job is done, even in death. His cause is ours, mine, all those he touched. I am asking for Gerry, that we now in this moment find the will and make the change required.
“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” — Hubert H. Humphrey
Show me your budget and I will show you your values. We know exactly what we need at this point. You will not convince me this is not the land of milk and honey that we live in. Our homes have an average value of half a million dollars. We are spending 12 million dollars to extend ONE road, so those already safe and warm and dry inside a car can be further accommodated. But if we talk about clearing sidewalks to bare pavement or even building sidewalks, we hear nothing but sunk cost fallacies and austerity arguments.
What do we want? A city that accommodates the movement of all its citizens equally. Every road and street requires a sidewalk. They should be clear year-round. We should plow sidewalks, bus routes and then anything else in that order. Sidewalks cannot be closed without meaningful accommodation. Punishment for obstructing sidewalks should equal the pain and indignity it causes those affected. I am asking the City of London to show me its values by showing me a better budget and a better path forward for all of us. These are policies that you can pass and affect meaningful change if you can find the will.