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Posted on: September 3, 2019

Mayor's Message - September

Syracuse City Est 1935

When my daughters were little girls, I was introduced the concept of Daddy-Daughter date night.  Recently I invited my girls and granddaughter to the final performance of Beauty and Beast produced by the Syracuse Arts Council.  It was a wonderful experience.  The quality of production this year was outstanding.  I’d heartily recommend all Arts Council events to you and your families.  Thank you, Arts Council!

Since the performance, however, I’ve become a little troubled. I’ve found myself pondering emotions since.  One night in the wee hours of the morning I began to probe my emotional-memory concerning that performance.  Was the storyline a love story?  My knee-jerk answer was, yes.  Any good plot has a hero or heroine.  Those roles were owned by Belle and the Beast, eventually.  Yet I am troubled by a counter line in the script that haunts me. There was a competing, one-way infatuation subplot between Gastan and Belle.  Was his infatuation misplaced?  Does that make him the villain?  My first answer is yes, of course!  But, after more pondering I’m not sure.

The braggart, now refused by the maiden, internalizes the rejection; perhaps you know that feeling.  We all know the pain.  Later, in the public square through exaggeration, half-truths and downright lies, Gastan sways public opinion.  We’re led to believe that the entire village reacts and follows him.

As villagers leave town to kill the monster in their minds, the Disney Studios have the mob sing this lyric: 

“… We don’t like what we don’t understand and in fact it scares us,

 And this monster is mysterious at least.

Bring your guns, bring your knives …

Save children and your wives,

We’ll save our village and our lives!

WE’LL KILL THE BEAST!”

This lyric I found troubling.  Gastan used the public square to ignite controversy.  A village public square is probably anachronistic!    Today we’d call that square, “social media”.  In my opinion, social media is generally a good thing.  When coupled with vetted facts it can be very good; helping to increase the general understanding of all.  Note the lyric; those things not understood or misunderstood, scare us all.  It is a fact!

Please, let’s not follow national trends in the use of social media.  It can be so destructive.  As your mayor, may I invite you to look for facts before making any judgment concerning something you hear that seems odd, unfair, or just plain stupid!  Look to the City’s webpage and the Syracuse Connection Magazine.  The City maintains a Facebook page.   I promise we’ll do our very best to keep you informed and updated on issues that may be of concern to you.

In your vetting of facts, I speak for both the City Council and staff that we are all more than willing to answer questions that may surface.  If we don’t know the answer immediately, we will research the issue and get back with you in a timely manner.  I promise.

Differences of opinion are welcomed.  Unvetted rumor, represented as fact, is not!  The City is not the beast.

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