A Story of Community – I

I’ll be writing a few posts about community, this is the first in a series.

During the Michigan Main Street’s Baseline Assessment and Community information gathering, MMS called for dissolution of the Friends of Historic Blissfield Committee. They considered the committee a conflict of interest for their program. More recently the committee wanted to do a preliminary beautification project for Make a Difference Day and erect a piece of statuary on a small triangle of the Village’s newly acquired Home Canning property. The project required weed elimination and a cement pad poured to accommodate their select sculpture.  

It’s been established the FoHB (Friends of Historic Blissfield) is an elite network that is consumed with being the decision-makers for the community, so there is no real surprise to the following story.

Sandy Meeks stepped up to the podium at the council meeting after FoHB got permission to go ahead with their plans. Sandy proposed that the community should be involved with the process and perhaps vote on a piece of sculpture through an online poll after the choices were narrowed down. Needless to say, Sandy got as much resistance to this concept as MMS got for dissolving their ‘Friends’ group.

In an effort to support FoHB, Councilman Jones reported that “Art is subjective and there will never be consensus from the community for a chosen piece of Art”. I guess that sums up the whole argument why elites should be running the show. If you think about it, there will always be differing opinions, I’d think Council would want to hear them for the purpose of considering them. Alternatively, if you gather a small group with like minds and attitudes you increase (manipulate) the chances of obtaining consensus (I think Councilman Jones already knows this).

However, an online vote would’ve produced a clear winner by counting the number of votes for each piece, which is in effect a consensus. Benefits derived from Sandy’s proposal were not only overlooked or ignored; the ‘F’ group went to great lengths to evade community involvement and scrambled to come up with a whole new game plan.

There’s a big difference when someone does good deeds to elevate self and another that elevates everyone else.

I can tell the difference by who has the list of procedures for dealing with undesirables (those that have opposing opinions).

I’m certainly in line with Sandy Meeks motives and grateful she was willing to do some ‘Community Building’. Encouraging community involvement is a basic necessity for the health of a community. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned sense of ownership that brings people together for common causes – this project could have been something ‘fun’ too.

So, on behalf of the rest of the community…thanks Sandy, for stepping up to the plate!

Image by Salvatore Vuono

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6 Responses to A Story of Community – I

  1. Logan says:

    Sandy,
    Thanks for trying.

  2. Sandy Meeks says:

    You’re welcome, Logan. And, thanks, Robin for the compliment. Given the opportunity, I will always advocate for involvement of the members of our community. Generally, only a few people will bother to register their opinion, but at least there’s an chance to be heard. As for the statue, keep your eyes and ears open !

    • Sandy Meeks says:

      Hey! What’s this I read in the Advance today that Andrea wasn’t an easy shoo-in to replace Mike on Council? I know the protocol for our governmental system, but, after all, Andrea was next in line as the people’s choice! Please, don’t, once again, disregard the voice of the community constituents ! !

      • Robin says:

        As it was recently explained to me, Andrea didn’t win anything – she came in fourth place in a three man race. Now her only way in is by appointment; however, she rescinded her application for the position and that essentially leaves her un-appointable. Gunter even said she would be considered and was happy to do that. For all we know she could’ve been sixth in a five man race. I wouldn’t have voted for her specifically because she is part of the network and plays those reindeer games.

        • Sandy Meeks says:

          I don’t see Andrea as “part of the network”. And unless I missed something, even though she rescinded her application, did the others (from 2008 election) put in an application at all? Doesn’t that leave them all on level ground, with Andrea as appointable as anyone else?
          I support Andrea as a breath of fresh air on Council. I like the idea of a woman’s opinion brought to the table, one who balances home, work, parenting and strong community involvement. Andrea also has a keen appreciation for the arts which she uses w/ enthusiasm!
          I do see her 4th place in a 3-way race as still valid. Her name was “checked” by 400+ voters, meaning that was their choice. And as I said above, let’s not let the voters’ choice be ignored yet again in our Village. If that happens, they should ALL be grounded ! !

          • Robin says:

            I understand Andrea put her name on the ballot to actually run for the three seats that were open to fill, none of those seats she won. She wasn’t the voters choice (not even for that race). The community voted her last out of the three for that particular race (that race is over). Günter’s seat became a vacancy only after the election, whereby anyone could express interest at that point (different race, new seat). It would have been premature to automatically hand it over to Andrea without also considering others that expressed interest. Anybody that shows interest at this point would be duly considered. If Andrea didn’t rescind her application, or become childish and disrespectful (burning the bridge), she too would have been considered, equally.

            I have reasons why I think Andrea is part of the network; I will share four reasons here. 1) The network council members trying to ram her appointment through. 2) The backlash and belligerence that ensued when the ram failed. 3) When asked what motivated her decision to run, her answer was, “I don’t know, I can’t even balance my checkbook”. That was a direct quote. 4) I requested an interview for the blog from both Mike Gunter and Andrea Cueto when I found out who was running. I wanted to title the post “The New Kids on the Block” because they were both new to the race. Mike Gunter was extremely appreciative, accomodating with his time, humble and very gracious. Andrea couldn’t even call me to decline, she just left me hanging. Read how the post turned out here.

            Taking into consideration what has transpired as per my list, it certainly sounds like she was a plant, hence the outburst of anger when the plan fell through. Actually, it’s disturbing that the network council members don’t know their own government organization.

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