Friday, May 30, 2014

The Encouragement of Good Things

Two things happened on Wednesday that provided me a collective realization regarding what we all can do to make this a better place to live, work, and play -- encourage and promote good things.  Simple right?  So simple that many of you wonder why you spend any time reading this silly blog.  But also so simple that this clear fact slips out of our day-to-day cognizance.  What "good thing" did you encourage and promote yesterday?  How many things did you criticize or detract?  Is your balance sheet positive?

Wednesday evening, Comptroller Peter Franchot visited the Little French Market in Ellicott City to thank three business-owners who had volunteered their time and effort to establish the newly formed Ellicott City Old Town Market: Kimberly Kepnes, Jeni Porter, and Dave Carney.  I've worked with this group for the last few months and can't tell you how much time and effort they have put into what has turned out to be an unnecessarily difficult process.  They've faced resistance at just about every step of the way, but they persevered with the understanding that this was good for the community and would make Ellicott City a better place to live.

When our state's Comptroller took the time to come into town and say "Thanks", you could see the impact.  It went from relief at no longer having to defend this amazing project to pride at having done the work.  Being in the room, it seemed clear that far too few people had said "thanks" or encouraged this project.  The "thanks" had been presumed.  Instead, these volunteers had spent most of their time defending the effort and wondering where their allies were when things got tough.  While victory may have many parents, and failure an orphan, hard work is a lost kid at the mall.

People (that don't get this important element of service and appreciation) have criticized the Comptroller for offering recognition to those in the community who do this kind of work, stating that going and meeting with community volunteers is "completely unrelated to your role as our chief tax collector."  I wish those electeds had been there on Wednesday, when interestingly enough, the Comptroller was there on his own time at his own expense.  Just to say thanks.

The second most important thing to happen on Wednesday happened without me - The Inner Arbor/Columbia Association Joint Meeting.  I had done what I could to get others to attend, but had an obligation of my own that would prevent me from being there.  By most estimates, proponents of the Inner Arbor (12) far out-numbered detractors (4).  And for a Board that can often be hopelessly populist in their decision-making, that was big.

Let's be clear - the Inner Arbor Plan is the future of Symphony Woods.  CA elections will not change that.  The vote from February 2013 became irreversible once the easement was signed, so long as the provisions included therein are followed.  It would be good, very good in fact, if our local media would clarify this fact for its readership.

But this is also clear - things changed on Wednesday.  This was Return-of-the-Jedi stuff right here (without the Ewoks).  The narrative was straightened.  Our advocacy, often hidden in family room discussions, Facebook comments, and email, was heard.  You emboldened and empowered people who, just like my friends in Ellicott City, had been taking hard critique and unnecessary challenges in their pursuit of something good.  The encouragement was there, but not steady enough to sustain morale through the tough parts.  You fixed that.

This is all to say that we need to do more to encourage one another, even when we think things have already been said.  If you see something you like, find that person's email address or Facebook page and let them know.  If you have a chance to stand up for what's good, do it.  And slow your hand when you're looking to tear things down.  There are a lot of people already lined up to do that. 

Have a great Friday doing what you love!  It's impossible not to.

PS - Those of you who read here often may know Trevor Greene.  His wife Debbie will be playing at the Ellicott City Old Town Market from 10 am to 11:30 at the Wine Bin lot.

PPS - We're putting together a canvass team to help spread the word about my campaign this Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm.  We already have a great group of people pulled together, but it would be great to have a few more.  You can RSVP here.