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Make some noise

So often, when we see something in the city that bothers us, the reaction is to gripe.

Whether it’s a spouse, a neighbor, or the poor guy at the other end of the bar, Philadelphians are constantly getting an earful from each other about trash on the streets, graffiti, or a long abandoned building that is dragging down the block.

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Unfortunately, it seems that the people who are paid to deal with those complaints — our elected city officials and the employees they appoint — aren’t hearing the message.

While any City Council member will surely tell you they hear plenty of griping, the fact is those complaints are too often brushed away with excuses about overburdened agencies or having to work within the system.

And yet, miraculously, when the right kind of pressure is applied, problems that have festered for decades are suddenly addressed and dealt with.

As you can read in this week’s Star cover story, the people of East Kensington and Fishtown are learning that putting big quality of life issues into the glaring light of public condemnation can have a real impact when it comes to getting the city to do its job.

Maybe a call to the 311 hotline or your local City Council representative won’t instantly make life better on your block.

But how about 50 calls from 50 angry residents?

You’d be surprised what a little collective noise can get done.

While griping to your neighbor might let you blow off a little steam, think about what you can get done by getting organized and putting the pressure where it belongs — with the government we elected and pay to deal with these issues.

Make some noise, people, and don’t stop until you know you’ve been heard.••

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