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City Manager's Blog

Learn about the City of Roanoke from the City Manager's point of view.

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Jun 02

A Path Forward?

Posted on June 2, 2020 at 10:41 AM by Melinda Mayo

Every Monday for the past three years I have posted on this blog, nearly without exception.  Typically, the weekend prior to each post, I sit down and compose the outline of the post, filling it in when I arrive at work early Monday morning.  That didn’t happen this week.  I was at a bit of a loss as to how best process all that has been going on.

Almost Too Much

Never in more than 25 years of working in local government, have I experienced anything like what 2020 has been thus far.  I have been in communities that have faced natural disasters, struggled with economic downturns, and wrestled with long-standing societal ills, but never all of the above, essentially at the same time.

Yet, here we are.  A pandemic continues to rage across our globe—more than 100,000 dead in the United States alone.  The national and local economies teeter on depression, with more than 40 million currently unemployed.  One of the largest floods we have seen in years occurred just a couple of weeks ago closing roads, flooding structures, and forcing evacuations.  Peaceful demonstrations and violent outbreaks are occurring across the Country as I prepare this post—actions prompted by the heinous acts of a few individuals who disgrace a profession intended to serve and protect, and a reality that too often who succeeds, who prospers, and even who lives is based upon the color of one’s skin.  

Three declarations of a local State of Emergency in the span of just a few weeks, unprecedented and nearly overwhelming.  I believe we are all trying our best to deal thoughtfully and constructively with each of these challenges—our public health officials, our health care workers, our Fire-EMS personnel, our Police officers, our news reporters, our state officials, our local elected officials, our local businesses, and our residents.  I know I am trying to do all I can to help this City make its way through these increasingly challenging times, to not only survive but hopefully be a better place, offering better lives for everyone.

We can and must figure out a way to address all of these challenges in a way befitting our great City.  One that is true and authentic to us as a community.  It will not be easy and I am not sure I even know what that path looks like, but nonetheless we must figure it out.

--Bob Cowell


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