Become an Advocate
One of the most effective tools we have in improving the image and appearance of our city is through advocacy. Below are some tips to help your voice be heard.
Whether sent through snail mail or e-mail, letters carry a lot of weight in the mind of an elected official. They also create a paper trail. Make sure to include a name and address.
A telephone call to your councilperson and mayor is great to get immediate feedback from the official. Plus, it shows that you care enough to spend time discussing the issue.
Don't be afraid to speak your mind at public meetings! The OKC City Council and Mayor Cornett meet in the city council chambers at 200 N. Walker every Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. to discuss and vote on important issues affecting our city. When beautification initiatives are discussed your support is greatly appreciated.
Here are important tips to remember:
1. If speaking, arrive early to sign up to speak, pick up an agenda and find a seat.
2. When the issue comes up on the agenda, the mayor will call on people from a list to speak. You must wait until he calls your name.
3. When called to the podium, remember to speak into the microphone and give your name and address before pleading your case.
4. Each speaker is allotted three minutes to speak, so be brief and concise. You may take a few notes with you to refresh your memory.
Writing a Letter to the Editor
The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Gazette, the Midcity Advocate and other local newspapers are all valuable tools in spreading your voice, but each have guidelines for writing an opinion piece or letter to the editor.
Tips for a powerful opinion piece:
1. The goal is to convince people that a certain action should be taken, therefore, write in a compelling and memorable manner, which comes easy when passion is the driving force.
2. Include a real-life experience to get people's attention.
For example, if billboard blight is your topic, relay how you feel when you take out-of-town guests to the Canal in Bricktown and the view is hidden behind billboards. Newspapers vary on the preferred length of opinion pieces, so call first and ask about deadlines and guidelines. This will give it a much better chance of being printed.
Tips for a great letter to the editor:
1. The best letters are clear and concise beginning with one or two points and ending with a call to action.
2. If you plan to mention OKC Beautiful in your letter, we ask that you e-mail us a copy before sending it to the newspaper to make sure we all agree.
3. Last but not least, remember to keep the word count below 200, in fact 100 words is best. This gives it the best chance of being published.