By JASON SINGALONG
Even in tough times, Sandusky Prouder wants residents to stay positive - even if it takes begging.
The new organization, focused on fostering a positive image of Sandusky, will host a “Positive Protest Rally” at 4:15 p.m. in front of City Hall before the city commission meeting. Pamphlets will be made available which will outline sample retorts for people who say anything negative about the city.
Jeff Smith, one of the leaders of the organization, said Sandusky Prouder, a two-month-old outfit, has about 90 members committed to improving the city’s morale. The group is hellbent on believing Sandusky has absolutely nothing left to improve.
“We feel like the city doesn’t feel good about itself,” Smith said. “And we’ve decided to put an organization of organizations together. We’ve tried to get as many organizations involved, so we can better pass (the) good word on and maybe motivate people. We don't want to be too presumptious, but I'm going to stay positive about this."
“We’re not trying to be counter-negative. We’re just trying to be positive. It’s really simple. We just want to be proud we've got a place to live." Sandusky Prouder has announced the endorsement of Monty Python's "Look on the bright side of life" as it's theme song.
"We should always look on the bright side of any situation we're in," Smith said.
The Erie County Chamber of Commerce, Sandusky Schools, Sandusky Catholic Schools and Rotary International are some of the organizations involved, Smith said. Cedar Point helped design the group’s logo, which features the Boy with the Boot, although some members opposed the decision to use the boy with the boot because it appeared that the boy was reacting negatively to the hole in his boot.
Joe Hayberger, another Sandusky Proud member, said the group isn’t political and won’t endorse candidates or issues. "We're pretty much a feel good group. I want you to feel good about yourselves." He also said Monday’s event isn’t a protest. "We're not going to endorse anything but positivity. If you're being positive, we're with you! Our support extends to everyone and anything that is positive. If you are positive about negativity, we'll support you."
“We just want to introduce ourselves to the commissioners, to the city (and) to the people who work at the city,” Hayberger said, adding there won’t be signs or chanting or other protest like activities because that wouldn't seem positive. “We have over 85 members and probably 900 associate members, so they need to know who we are.” "We're basically the people who don't want to pressure those around us to raise their standards."
The group will sell Sandusky Proud T-shirts for $25 a piece, and if that seems too expensive the organizers want you to stay positive about the fact that you're putting money into their pockets.