What can the city do for families?
What can the city do for families? Do you know? This mama is still sort of in the dark about how the city can embrace and work on the family-friendly agenda. As I sat mostly absorbing and trying to process the information from the informal chats with a couple of city councilor candidates, it dawned on me that obviously the issues close and dear to me, don’t necessarily resonate with local politics. Yes, politicians grapple with many special interest groups, but I wonder if any of them understand (or want to understand) the issues from the perspective of families? As I sat listening, I did formulate a few gripes in my head:
- Why does the city support this wonderful and vast network of recreation facilities, but at the same time offers “junk food” (candy bars, sodas, ice cream sandwiches) as the only snack options at these facilities? After swimming class at 11:30 am last Saturday, I found myself in the predicament of having two hungry kids (their snacks left on our kitchen table) and the less than desirable options in front of me. I settled on getting them a Power Bar.
- And while Portland is looking to install new restrooms in the Downtown area (fantastic idea), I wonder why they are considering NW Glisan between NW 5th and 6th Avenues? I bet if they asked parents where they think a new restroom should be installed how many of us would say “Jamison Square”?
- “Safe routes” to schools is a great start, but is school the only place kids walk to these days? Why not safe routes to parks, libraries, and church?
- Yes, affordable childcare, a huge issue working parents grapple with, but does it even make a dent in citywide agendas? Probably not. Some would maybe argue that it's not a role for the city. At the same time, I do wonder how many of the current or future councilors even know what that cost is, and its financial impact on families? Would they be shocked to learn that the average cost of full-time daycare downtown is tens of thousands of dollars annually (that is if you can even get your child in)?
Now I know that families make up only a small percentage of the voting public, but I also know that retaining families and keeping them in the city is healthy for ensuring vibrant and livable communities in the future. This is only one mama’s four point rant, but I’m curious if you have others? We matter, right?