Do a Google “Images” search for “most walkable cities”.  Note smooth sidewalks broad enough to accommodate sidewalk cafés and wide, zebra-striped pedestrian crossings.  See how city leaders embrace the use of greenery planters and green space.   Observe how the emphasis by planners is on keeping space scaled to humans on foot with people-sized lampposts and dark-sky lighting.  Notice the thought these planners have put into public transportation.  Check out how engineers put pedestrian convenience and safety first when sidewalk foot traffic is diverted for construction projects.  Catch glimpses of police officers on foot, rather than in squad cars or on Segways, who are engaging with citizens or directing traffic to keep people safe.  Walkable cites are designed to be people- rather than car-centric.  Then, marvel at the number of people in these images of walkable cities. 

Throwing up more sign pollution on roadways, as recommended by a local self-described leadership team and reported by the South Bend Tribune’s Heidi Prescott, might inform some folks about independently-owned dining options in downtown South Bend.  Yet, even if sign-weary drivers notice, why drive to South Bend for another park, eat and drive-away experience?  The real solution to encouraging visitors to seek and explore our city’s treasures is to incorporate smart, walkable city design that looks and feels safe and welcoming.


St Joe Valley Greens sent two delegates and two alternates to the  National Green Party Convention in Chicago.  Several other members of the St Joe Valley Greens were able to attend the Convention allowing delegates the opportunity to caucus with their local before casting their votes. 

On Saturday, the Green Party voted on a platform and elected Cynthia McKinney for their Presidential candidate and Rosa Clemente as her running mate.  This represents the first time a Black woman and a Puerto Rican woman head the ticket for the two highest offices in the Executive branch of the U.S. government!

In addition to electing candidates for the national ticket, Greens from across the country had an opportunity to meet Greens currently holding offices and running for offices in many other states, network with other Greens and attend workshops on building the party.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. McKinney addressed all the key values of the Green Party of social justice, grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom and non-violence.   She spoke of her 12 years of work as a maverick in Congress including her vote against the war in Iraq as well as her efforts to protect the environment, investigate election fraud and voter disenfranchisement, investigate the attacks of September 11th and introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice.  To those who would suggest a vote for a Green Party candidate is a “wasted” vote, McKinney responded with this:

 “the only ‘wasted’ vote is a vote against your conscience.”


“If There Were Windows on the River, I Would See…”

How’s this for an idea to garner support for the hydro generator and viewing chamber on the dam at Century Center: enlist the South Bend Tribune to co-sponsor an art contest for kids titled “If There Were Windows on the River, I Would See…” Kids could submit any type of media with an entry fee of 25 cents (this could be waived on request). The entry fee could go towards a fund to help build the project and members of the South Bend Common Council and Mayor Luecke could be the judges for the contest. Prizes for different age groups could be donated by local businesses.

I spoke with Jim Rider, from the South Bend Tribune who thought this was a great idea and gave me a couple of contacts at the Tribune for this project.

In the meantime, I am going to contact Jim Mazurek, Notre Dame’s new Director of Sustainability to determine if he would be interested in meeting with myself and other individuals including members of the Sierra Club, to try to help build community support and search for funding sources for this project.

The South Bend Tribune recently published a letter from a voter expressing her disappointment over Senator Clinton’s decision to exit the race for the Democratic party’s Presidential nomination. I feel the writer’s pain; I was unable to vote for Congressman Dennis Kucinich in May as he, too, had withdrawn from the Democratic primary. The letter-writer declared she intended to write-in Hillary Clinton’s name on her ballot in November.

Indiana’s election rules stipulate the only write-in votes that may be counted on Election Day are for those for persons registered as “write-in” candidates; write-in votes cast for Clinton or other persons not registered as a write-in with the Indiana State Election Board will not be counted.

Voters considering discarding their vote by staying home on November 4th, writing-in an ineligible person or casting a vote for “not-the-other-guy” should consider voting for this year’s Green Party Presidential candidate.

The Green Party’s National Presidential Convention will be held July 10th-13th in Chicago. Currently Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is leading the delegate count, although the race is far from over. In Indiana, the Green Party candidate will be a legitimate write-in name whose votes must be counted according to State and Federal election law.

To hear the four Green Party candidates debate live tonight, Saturday June 21st from 8-9:30 p.m. (ET) go to

For more information about the Green Party, go to