« AnteriorContinuar »
Revival week began with discouragement. Rain poured down and the attendance at the meetings was small. But day by day the attendance increased and at last hundreds had to be turned away. On Saturday eighty of the representative business men attended a conference luncheon and voted that money should be provided for a city plan report. That evening and on Sunday petition cards were circulated at the revival meetings. On Monday the council granted the appropriation.
This was the first great triumph. It lay not so much in having secured the money for a report, as in having made the people take a living interest in their city's future.
Almost a year elapsed before the report appeared, but it was a well-spent year. The commission held frequent meetings
which were fully reported in the newspapers. The City Plan When Messrs. Carrere and Brunner, our expert Report
advisers, came to Grand Rapids their doings were Published
fully chronicled. They were taken before the common council, before the Board of Trade, public meetings were held at which they addressed the people. So, when at last the report appeared the people had come to have some understanding of what it meant.
Since its appearance last May the report has been growing steadily in popular favor. Still we did not feel confident enough of its hold upon the people to demand immediate compliance with its recommendations. So this month we held our second civic revival. Again we engaged Mr. Zueblin, but instead of holding all our meetings in one place, we sent him about the city, in the endeavor to reach audiences who would not come down town. The last meetings were on Sunday in our largest theater, which was filled. Again we made the effects of the revival de
finite by holding a conference luncheon attended Second Civic Revival
by more than one hundred business men and
city officials. There we adopted a program endorsing the city plan report and recommending that we take up one great improvement at a time, but meanwhile, as opportunity offers, do what we can to further those whose turn comes later. In consonance with this program we decided to concentrate our efforts this winter upon a campaign for pure water. At the same
time, however, we demanded that a new fire-engine house, which it was proposed to place in the way of the extension of our chief business street as recommended by the report should be moved back, additional property being bought for the purpose, so that when the turn of this improvement comes we may find it easier, not more difficult of accomplishment.
But again I wish to point out to you that what we are aiming at is not a series of public improvements. These are only inci
dental. What we desire is the creation of a new A New Sense of
sense of citizenship, a new and vital interest in Citizenship
the city as our common heritage. If we can secure that the improvements will follow inevitably. And in order that we may secure that we are going about our improvements slowly, giving the people time to think and understand. We have our plan which will enable us to do our work wisely, more wisely we believe than if we had carried on a whirlwind campaign for a big bond issue which would have made possible all the work at once. For such a campaign, we fear, would be followed by reaction. The great object having been attained, there would have followed lethargy and indifference. What we hope for is steady improvement as a result of steady interest, improvement not only in the physical appearance of the city, but in its government and in the lives of its people.
By M. N. BAKER, C, E,
New York City.
The survey of the work of municipal boards of health presented at the last two conventions of the National Municipal League showed clearly the need for a greater and more intelligent interest in health-protective work on the part of the general public. Our most progressive local boards of health can progress but little further along many lines without more co-operation by the people whom they are serving. Our less progressive boards of health need the force of intelligent public opinion brought upon them to make them more progressive. At the same time, an enlightened public opinion needs to be brought to bear on the appointing and appropriating powers, so that more efficient men will be selected for health boards and more money given to such boards for their ever-widening work in the suppression of disease, the upbuilding of health and the prolongation of life.
How greater and more intelligent interest in health-protective work can best be aroused and maintained is the question before us this morning.
My subject may be approached from without or from within: that is, from the viewpoint of the intelligent citizen or from that of the responsible health official. I shall consider it first and chiefly from the health-board viewpoint.
The board of health that desires to enlist and maintain public interest in its work should first get a clear conception of its func
tions, then achieve results in its determined Health Board View Point
field, and then make those results known to and
appreciated by the public. It must also do a large amount of educational work in order to show the public what its own part in health conservation is and to induce the public to do that part. Strange to say, one of the most difficult
and most necessary tasks confronting a board of health is to get the public to avail itself of the health protection which the health board provides.
I lay particular stress upon the importance of a clear conception of health-board functions on the part of both the health officials and the citizens because it is through failure to get this that so much of our health-board work is misdirected and ineffective, thus failing to beget public interest and support
Let us assume that an intelligent and efficient board of health is in existence in a given community; that it has such laboratory and other equipment as will enable it to achieve noteworthy results in one or a few lines of work; but that it feels the need of greater public interest and co-operation in its work. Under such conditions, the board should take the public into its confidence by setting forth in clear and concise form what it is trying to accomplish, what it has achieved, how it has fallen short of its aim, and how the public can assist it by general and individual co-operation. This means well-planned publicity and educational work, carried on by means of the local newspapers, board of health circulars, bulletins and annual reports, the local municipal journal which is now coming into existence in many cities, and various civic, medical, and other local organizations which can readily be enlisted in the cause.
By way of specific illustration let us take a line of work which only a comparatively few boards of health have yet taken up in
an efficient way and which is but little appreSupervision of
ciated by the general public-namely, the sanithe Milk Supply
tary supervision of the milk supply. A local board of health makes a careful survey of this field, determines and establishes such regulations as are essential to prevent the milk supply from causing a high infant mortality and spreading tuberculosis, typhoid fever, diphtheria and scarlet fever. It secures the co-operation of milk producers and dealers, so far as possible, and of medical and various other associations, and enters upon a vigorous campaign of dairy and milk inspection, with prosecutions of violators of its milk ordinances after all reasonable attempts to secure compliance without legal measures have failed. It also tries to teach housewives and milk con
sumers generally how to care for milk after its receipt so that all the care bestowed upon it by the producer and board of health will not be largely nullified before the milk is consumed.
The board of health that carries out such a program will soon have results to its credit which, if made known, will greatly increase public interest in not only this but also in other publichealth work.
Publicity here will not await the appearance of a long-delayed, voluminous annual report, seen by a few and read by fewer still. Instead, it will be given at once by the aid of the local press and board of health bulletins and circulars. This milk news will show improvements achieved in the character of the milk supply as a whole, and perhaps and preferably in that of individual dairymen, and it will also show the effect of milk betterment, as reflected in the health and the death rates of the community.
The board of health will also let the people know that information can always be obtained at the health office regarding the character and relative standing of the milk supplied by each and every dealer.
Other lines of health-board work may be carried on and bro’ght home to the public in similar ways, with modifications to suit local conditions.
Particular pains should be taken to secure accurate and complete vital statistics and prompt reports of all cases of communicable disease. These statistics and reports, besides the other uses made of them, should be digested, interpreted and brought home to the public in the most forceful manner possible, for they show the efficiency of public health work and are the best possible guides to needed health reforms.
The annual report of the board of health, though difficult of presentation as a whole in a way that will appeal to the public, Annual Reports
yet has great possibilities in the way of arousing
public interest. Portions of it may sometimes be selected for short reprints and given a far wider and more effective circulation than would be possible with the full report. For special campaigns of education such reprints may well be sent to a large proportion of all the families in the city.