EDITORIAL - A strong positive tone is needed in Peoria

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

A lot of people tells us Peoria is in wonderful shape economically compared to most other regions of the country.

The big question is how many people believe it? Believing it will do all of us a world of good.

But, as human beings, we are all, at times apt to look over the good news offered in this realm by those who live here. It seems to be human nature to listen more closely to outsiders who tell you something.

Think of how often your spouse has told you something you blew off, only to lend credence to the same information from someone else.

We all have heard people who call the Greater Peoria Area home speak glowingly of our economy. But, many must be suspicious these people are only telling us what we want to hear.

Last week, an outsider gave a glowing review of the local economy.

Ed Scharlau, vice-chairman of First Busey Corp., said Peoria’s economy is probably the best in downstate Illinois.

He added, “It’s important to position Peoria as a place with a positive tone.”

There is more than a kernel of truth in that statement.

A positive attitude breeds more benefits, more energy and more optimism than a negative tone.

If we allow negativity about the national economy to overshadow the view of our local economy, what good will we reap?

Considering that question brings to mind the phrase “self-fulfilling prophecy” coined by Robert Merton, an American sociologist.

It means if enough of us believe something, whether true or not, it can effect the outcome.

If enough of us choose to ignore this good news and go into our shells economically, then the worst outcome becomes more and more likely. That is something all of us should battle.

Former Peoria Mayor Jim Maloof has the right idea, an idea that dates back to 1985, when no one would deny Peoria was in serious financial straits.

In ‘85, Maloof spearheaded a program promoting Peoria’s positive attributes called “Forward Peoria.”

He simply challenged people to rebuild the city.

“We had a city people could be proud of,” Maloof said, last week, recalling the program. “We got our light out from under a bushel.”

Maloof said Peoria needs to learn from the past and get back to promoting the city’s positives.

“We’re in a great position to take advantage of things. We’re not doing enough. We’ve got to light a fire under the community. If it worked in ‘85 when conditions were so bad, why wouldn’t it work today when we have so many good things going on?”

That is a good question for all to consider.