From The Editors
Critical times lie ahead for the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Erie: A look at the governor-elect, Destination Erie, community voices, and waking up local leadership.
Critical times lie ahead for the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Erie. On the cover, we're featuring the Keystone State's governor-elect Tom Wolf, because if we're left with any question after the 2014 midterm elections, it's: What does his election mean to Erie — and to the state?
The Corbett administration barely had a fighting chance of taking a second term — something every governor of Pa. had done before. His probability of winning seemed so slim that he resorted to ads featuring zombies and horror-film-inspired murderers. But what was more telling was the fact that major media outlets announced Wolf the winner at 8:01 — just sixty seconds after polls closed — with zero percent reporting.
But did we elect Wolf because we believe strongly in him, or had we just lost so much faith in Corbett? That's something time — the next four years to be exact — will tell.
In this issue, Contributing Editor Jim Wertz breaks down key issues Wolf ran on and talks to local political leaders to get a sense of what January 2015 will look like. If anything, we've seen two good omens thus far: Wolf announced he won't be collecting a salary, as a means of budget tightening a la Bloomberg, and Vice President of The Brookings Institution Bruce Katz said during the Jefferson Educational Society's Global Summit that "he's the kind of governor Pennsylvania needs" and went on to emphasize Wolf's strong background in manufacturing.
Also in this issue are several pieces that articulate the importance of community voice. First, we look at tree trimming — or in some cases, manicuring versus chopping. It's a simple question: Why do some neighborhoods see pin oaks treated like bonsai trees while others feature gapping Vs? It's a rather simple answer: Communities with strong, unified voices send loud and clear messages. In this case, that message is that the aesthetics of a community matter.
Dan Schank writes about the recent Destination Erie community meets held throughout the county. As the two-year, $1.8 million plan nears its completion, the question of What's next is on everyone's mind. The outcomes of these meetings in this community-driven process will help to begin answering that. At very least, it's a reminder that we should all be paying close attention in the months to come, as they'll influence the decades to follow.
Rick Filippi turns his attention in this issue's Exile on State Street to local leadership in light of the midterm elections. He sounds the bell to wake Erie's leadership from what he calls a "comfortable slumber" and questions the age of "anti" ideas and "anti" anything and how that may impede progress.
If there's anything to take away from these pieces, it's that collaboration — whether it's a Democratic governor working with a Republican-controlled state congress, communities uniting, citizens working together, or leadership taking action rather than idly sitting by managing decline — will win the day, because if we don't work together, we'll be asking the same questions and addressing the same problems year after year.