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