This is crazy, and time is passing too quickly. The last 7 days alone have been enough for me to start pulling out the Christmas ornaments and planning for New Years Eve.
Last Thursday was Magdelena's funeral. I drove Mele (Another member of our church) to the funeral home. We headed up to the chapel. Mele asked me if I wanted to go see Magdelena “resting” - I said no, but that I would watch her purse. Mele walked up to the casket, leaned over the side and screamed out “NO NO NO!” and came running back to me. I was really concerned because that Mele was reacting so loudly...it created a little bit of a scene. When Mele came back to me, she screamed out “It is not Magdelena!” So, we were in the wrong room. Eventually we laughed it off.
Meanwhile, I missed out on the Economic Development committee's first network event. Bunch of people turned out – which is great. Anytime DLANC's name is attached to an activity, we all want it to work out well.
Saturday was the Mayor's budget day. I spent all morning hearing about the doom and gloom of the City's budget. I had a conversation with someone who lives close to the Wilshire Rapid line. He mentioned that he tends to see people of color on the bus, and that it would be unlikely he'd use transit. Of course, I inserted both my feet and said - “The day will come that your kids will take away your drivers license, and this is the transit system you will become dependent on.” The look on his face told me that I clearly lost him on the idea that one day he'll lose his license.
Then, I spent the afternoon updating the DLANC roster and pulling together the bylaw updates. Sent the information off to DLANC, and two days later it came flying back because the packet was incomplete. I'm okay with it, because thankfully – we need to make changes to our bylaws, and I can't just make it so.
Tuesday – Community Meeting
I think it turned out well. I always hope for lots and lots of people, but I had a number that I really wanted to hit – which the community did a great job. Because I worked the speaker timer, I was thinking about the very first time I spoke at a public meeting.
I was 15, and we were discussing boundaries for a new special district. I was so nervous when I walked into the large room at the Theler Center. There was at least 100 people in there. I had prepared a short statement – which once my name was called I ran up to the podium and didn't have my statement. The timer was started, I launched into my speech. I was maybe two sentences into my soapbox statement and a commissioner stopped me and reminded me to state my name, my street address, and then to continue.
So, my pointers:
1)Take your notes with your to the podium and microphone.
2)When you get to the microphone, briefing get familiar with your post. Look for a timer, notetaker, facilitator. Don't start talking until you're good to go.
3)Take a breath
4)Don't be nervous, someone is listening to you or recording you.
5)Start by saying “My name is (Insert Your Name Here)”
6)Stick to your points, use your notes.
7)Don't worry if you think you sound silly or “stupid” - this is a question/comment/concern...if you feel it's a legitimate Q/C/C, you owe it yourself to mention it.
8)When your time is up, it's up.
And, when your time is up and you still have more to say – write it down. Comment forms are valuable. Don't feel compelled to leave your comment that night, or you could also consider writing a short comment, and submit your longer comment later. Community meetings sometimes turn into a neighborhood social hour and you don't get a chance to really dig into your concern, or consider the impact of what's being proposed.
One of the most frustrating things I hear from my neighbors is that they might say that people in charge don't listen to them. I feel that maybe it isn't that people making decisions don't know about the concerns until a neighbor says something. As a result, there's a lot of chicken & the egg problems...but it's really that someone thinks the other is not listening. At the end of the day it is that no one has said anything! It would be funny except...well...it's not.
If you don't like something, just write the email. Tell me what you don't like and how you would like to see it changed. Actually – don't tell me...go to the project website and send in your comment from there.