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Friday, November 19, 2010

It Doesn’t Pay to be an Ostrich

When someone seems timid about taking action, one might say, like an ostrich, that he is hiding his head in the sand.

Dr. Karl of “Dr. Karl’s Great Moments in Science” informs us that the ostrich may do many things “but hiding its head in the sand is not one of them.” Instead, when an ostrich is frightened, one of its reactions is to try to lie flat on the ground  and make itself inconspicuous.  A bird that weighs 155 kg or approximately 341.41 pounds is not easily hidden, so even lying flat, its large belly rises visible to all.

However, like an ostrich, many of us do try to avoid conflict with others because it makes us uncomfortable.   Assertively addressing authority figures when something is wrong is very often worth the effort and energy it takes.

My son-in-law is not happy about the road in front of his office building in Atlanta.  When Shirley Franklin was mayor of Atlanta, she promised to fill the potholes.  The mess in front of my son-in-law’s building was never addressed.

Now Kasim Reed, Atlanta’s new mayor, has appointed a public works commissioner, Mr. Richard Mendoza, formerly public works commissioner in San Antonio.  On Mr. Mendoza’s first day on the job, he was reminded that potholes are among the biggest public works problems in Atlanta. 

In Atlanta, 10th street has a section where the center two lanes of the four lane street are impassable.  The road is in waves of tarmac, rough riding at best and possibly damaging to any car that chooses those lanes.  If you drive on 10th near the Hemphill intersection, you can see drivers move over to avoid the center lanes.  

If you’d like to know the location, here is where the stretch of bad road is.  I use the word “stretch” because the area encompasses at least three to four car lengths of bad pavement.

My son-in-law, is going to make sure that Mendoza knows about the street problem near his office.  Kevin has driven over this section of road for a number of years now and he’s not willing to sit quietly about it any longer.

Unlike the ostrich, Kevin is taking action.  He has written the mayor, the head of the city council, his representative on the city council and Mr. Mendoza, the public works commissioner.  Once he hears or fails to hear from them, he will launch phase two of his approach, which I believe will be either a second letter or a phone call to the office of each of the recipients of his letters.  I don’t believe he will stop until he gets results.

He has already heard from Mendoza who responded with a work order number for the project.  As he said, “Score one for Kevin!”

He has a plan; he’s following it; and if his assertiveness pays off, 10th street will be a smoother ride for drivers in Atlanta.

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