A quick talk with Mayor John Fetterman

Category:  BloggERy
Thursday, August 15th, 2013 at 4:33 PM
A quick talk with Mayor John Fetterman by Ryan Smith
Shepard Fairey

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman -- nationally-recognized for his part in ongoing efforts to rethink, reclaim, reshape and revitalize the Pittsburgh region's poorest town -- is speaking tonight at 7 p.m. at the Jefferson Educational Society of Erie, 3207 State St.

Give a damn about the future of Erie? Fetterman made it clear in a brief interview this afternoon that he's no have-all-the-answers kind of guy -- "I don't want anyone to mistakenly conclude that," he said -- but what he has to share is definitely worth hearing for anyone who does.

That said, don't miss tonight's free lecture, hosted by Destination Erie: A Regional Vision. Again, it's at 7 p.m. at J.E.S., 3207 State St.

Here's some more of what came out of our brief talk with Mayor Fetterman, which came not long after he arrived in Erie today:

Ryan Smith: Have you been to Erie before?

John Fetterman: "I love Erie. My family and I vacation here regularly ... several times a year, [going] sight-seeing, and we love Presque Isle. It's just beautiful - I'm a big fan of the city and the area."

RS: And what brings you to Erie today?

JF: I got a nice invitation to give a talk this evening, and [I said] 'Why not?'

I have a chance to share a story. I want to emphasize I'm not here to teach - I'm here just to share [Braddock's] story. I don't ever want to give the impression I'm coming in to tell [people] what to do with [their] city.

The challenge in Braddock was wholesale, mass abandonment. [Between the middle and end of the 20th Century], we lost 90 percent of our businesses, which meant we lost 90 percent of our population. The question, [then] is what can you do -- and what do you do -- moving on.

These are pressing, important questions for [cities across] the country, these incredible, important cities that have given so much to the country, [but] have been cast off and discarded."

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 9
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