Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, October 08, 2007

Candidate blog series: Ward 2 candidate Steve Thornbury

Steve Thornbury
Candidate for Norwood City Council, Ward 2

For the last twenty-one years, my wife and I have owned a home on Floral Avenue where we have raised our two children and enjoyed the many benefits of living is this remarkable community. Both of our children were fortunate enough to have gone K-12 in the outstanding Norwood City School District where they were taught by some of the area's finest teachers.

Today I am employed as senior copywriter at HSR Business to Business, a nationally recognized leader in traditional and interactive marketing communications to business audiences.

Since settling in Norwood twenty years ago, I have been involved in numerous civic organizations and initiatives.
1. Two terms as a member of the Norwood Community Television Access Board (NCTAB) where we helped raise awareness of the opportunity every Norwood resident has to create their own public access programming to air on local Time Warner Cable Channel 23
2. The Norwood Historical Society where I am currently serving as secretary and treasurer
3. The Norwood Fireworks Committee, as a founding member of a group of private individuals who have revived the great tradition of a Fourth of July celebration of our Country's founding and freedoms
4. The Norwood Service League where I currently serve on the NSL Executive Committee
5. Current Chair of the Norwood Republican Party and secretary of the Norwood Republican Club

Political Philosophy
The relationship between the average citizen and their government and elected officials has never been worse. Both sides have been poisoned by decades of mistrust, poor communication, and confusion over the proper role of government.
The result is an atmosphere where, on one hand, elected officials have become reluctant to speak honestly, plainly, and directly to the citizens they serve. While on the other side of the divide, a broad cross-section of citizens have lost-touch with their local government.
My goal as an elected official is to take what I've learned from thirty years of observing and participating in local political and volunteer activities and use it to bring government and the people it serves closer together.

For government, that means improving communications by reaching out to individuals and groups that have a stake in the decisions we make on Council. Efforts must be made, for example, to help people understand the important role of Council committees. It is in committee where the individual citizen can learn the most and have the greatest impact. Yet few among us understand how to best utilize this opportunity.

On the citizen's side, it means making a commitment to step forward and participate, even in small ways, in the process of government. It can be something as simple as a the occasional phone call to their representative or as involved as participation in a local political campaign. It could mean volunteering with groups such as the Norwood Tree Board, the Service League, the Health Department, or the Norwood City School District. Experience has shown that even the briefest exposure to the everyday workings of our local government and local organizations gives the participant a much greater appreciation for how much work it takes to run a large city such as Norwood.

If elected, some of the key areas where I will focus my efforts will be:

Protect the strong property values in Ward 2.
Work with the Law Department, the Building Department, and law enforcement to give our city sharper legal teeth to more effectively enforce codes, hold irresponsible property owners liable for their actions, and prevent student housing from destroying our historic neighborhood atmosphere.

Support strong public services from all departments.
Assure proper funding for every department by providing critical oversight of spending so that funds are fairly assigned and critical needs are met.

Focus Council's attention on consistent infrastructure improvements.
Advocate for moving beyond the mentality of "crisis management" of the aging systems under our streets to a coherent program of carefully considered, planned infrastructure improvements.

I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 6 and I look forward to serving the people of Ward 2 in the years ahead.