The Stevenson Place bait and switch



Two words exist in the English language that are never found together: “government” and “quick.” 

Yes, when it comes to (non-existence) of speed in service, government is too easy of a target. And sometimes it’s really unfair as budget cuts have many  collecting government paychecks working in offices that are both understaffed and underfunded.

So getting something done is indeed going to take time. Nat Solomon and Stanley Auster knew this. Potholes and cracks plagued Stevenson Place near Sedgwick Avenue, making streets and walkable areas dangerous to traverse. 

They did everything they were supposed to do. They let the people in charge of streets and sidewalks know, and the response was simple: Wait.

Not for a few days. Not a couple weeks. Not even several months.

Wait. For two years.

But wait is exactly what they did, expecting when the 24 months were up, the government they spent decades pouring tax money into would follow through as promised and fix this street they depend on each day.

It was time for the government to pony up. But at least they didn’t insult Solomon and Auster with another delay. No, they took a different approach — they denied they were ever going to fix Stevenson Place at all. 

The street, they said, “does not warrant resurfacing at this time.” There was no visit, no inspection. Just rejection — two years after thinking this longstanding neighborhood problem would finally be solved.

It took a phone call from a reporter to get the transportation department to take a closer look at Stevenson Place. And to their credit, something is now being done.

While no reporter should be afraid to use the power of the press to take action, it shouldn’t take the fear of a story calling someone out to get something done.

Because government should never move just because the media says jump. Instead, they should listen to good people like Nat Solomon, like Stanley Auster. They should think about Marilyn Newman, who climbs the hill at Stevenson Place on a regular basis despite being 81.

Just a couple years ago, not long after her neighbors tried to get something done, Newman said she fell. What if that was our mother? Our grandmother? Our sister? Our friend?

 Reporters learned long ago that power really isn’t in a barrel of ink. Instead, it’s in the people who enjoy our streets, who give to their community far more than they take, and who are willing to stand up and ensure the government — you know, the one of the people —follows through on its responsibility to serve.