Editor’s note: The following letters are in response to a bunch of whining for letters in last issue’s letterless letters page.
THIS IS A LETTER ABOUT LETTERS
It’s pretty darn unbelievable that we don’t take the time to opine by way of a meaningful letter anymore. Information overload has become so commonplace in most people’s brains, that we rarely offer our feelings on a certain topic for fear that we may miss keeping up with the latest tweet.
I do have a suggestion on how we could get more people to write letters.
As we read, we need to feel challenged in a very realistic way, where the urgency of taking action is far greater than the urge to be indifferent or even worse, to despair and conform.
I have always appreciated independent, thought-provoking journalism, and while I sometimes feel that it’s a struggling art, I do feel that follow-ups are needed. I for one, commend the great work prairie dog has done on the Saskatchewan Employment Film Tax Credit coverage. And not to negate the incredible importance that the SEFTC plays on our economy, out art community and in our city as a whole, but there are other topics that could have the same type of follow up. Extend the same level of follow-up coverage to other topics and local current events.
And finally, add a little controversy. Write about uncomfortable topics, the things we don't want to discuss that emerge daily, but everyone wants to read; the topics that will stir strong emotions to the point where people feel compelled to write.
I, of course, offer this advice as a reader and not an expert of the magazine publishing business, which as I take a quick scan, has nearly been saturated in this city.
That said, it’s summer — people would rather be out on the deck or at the beach, perhaps reading, but not writing.
THIS IS A LETTER ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN
Since you're calling for letters, and I’m in the mood to write one, let’s see if we have a match. This letter responds, indirectly, to your piece on the downtown square.
Here’s a wish list of 10 steps to a better downtown:
1.) Finish the damn construction so people can freely enter the plaza from all directions.
2.) Get 11th Ave. between Lorne and Scarth out of its old rut: right now it’s nothing but a place to get out of as fast as you can.
3.) Shuck any notion — held, let’s say, by a developer — of “controlling” the Scarth street mall.
4.) Widen the patios.
5.) Look after those trees. Heed warnings about “compacted roots”.
6.) Think downtown all day, not just getting to work, noon, and after work.
7.) Because some people are more likely than others to find their own focus in a public space, offer a wider array of programming possibilities beyond the obvious Canada Day, Farmer’s Market days, etc.
8.) Imagine animating 12th between Lorne and Scarth; imagine a Super-Novia with stacks of chairs that could spill onto the square.
9.) Create more than one (or two or three) corridors. Let people move different ways.
10.) Get beyond the notion that “They’re re-doing downtown to make it pretty” (as I heard one person say). They’re re-doing downtown, let us hope, for the life, not the appearance, of the city.
NUMBER 11: GET MORE PEOPLE LIVING DOWNTOWN Send letters by e-mail to email@example.com or snail mail to #201-1836 Scarth St., Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 2G3. Letters will be edited for grammar, spelling, style and length (300 words maximum). This page isn’t an open forum — we only print letters about prairie dog stories. Please include your full name, city of residence and a daytime phone number. Letters sent to prairie dog may also be printed in Planet S, our sister publication in Saskatoon. Next letters deadline is Wednesday, July 18, so send ’em in, because I will be a whiny baby if I don’t get any.