Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

Finding a solution

I created this blog because I hoped it would be part of a solution. Our community daycare isn’t perfect. It is, though, very important to this little village we call home. I’ve said it in other places on this site–my wife and I don’t care if we, personally, lose our daycare service in it’s current form. We have other options. I have put hours and hours of my volunteer time into this project because I know child care is so important to our community’s future. I also recognize this relationship between the City and the School and the community as something really special.

This blog, I hope, will create a dialogue that has not been available before. Talking to each other, right in front of each other, about this issue IS the solution. Fighting about it and spreading misimformation (from both sides) and keeping the discussion in camps and filing petitions is NOT a solution. Neither “side” is right, and neither is wrong. We will never “solve” this, or anything else, unless we all are willing to enter a discussion with an open mind. None of us can learn anything by telling–we have to listen. We each need to enter this conversation with the possiblity that we might learn something that will change our opinion or worldview. If not, we’re all wasting breath.

I’ve said it before–dialogue, not legal fights, is the only solution that will fix this issue. An election will fix nothing–it just means that some people will win and some will lose. It won’t change anybody’s mindset. Open conversation is the only path to a solution.

City Council Meeting update

Here’s a quick recap of the info from last night’s City Council Meeting (at least the stuff about the budget petition, anyway):

  • The petition that was filed is valid, with at least the required 19 (18.2, actually) valid signatures.
  • The City is holding a special meeting to decide its next step on next Tuesday at 7pm.
  • There is a possibility, according to City Attorney Lammers, that the referendum would not be legal because the Daycare was created by an Administrative Decision way back when and should have been referred then. The budget line is just carrying out that administrative decision from some years ago. (The attorney will be working out the legal mumbo-jumbo this week).
  • If the City Council decides Lammers is right, they may reject the referendum as illegal. This would put the ball back in the Petition Circulator’s court. She would have the option of suing (at her own expense) the City and asking the court to rule Lammers’ opinion incorrect and force an election. Under this scenario, if The Circulator doesn’t sue the City, this whole mess would be dropped. If she does, the City would have even more legal expenses defending itself in court.
  • If the City (or Lammers) decides the referendum would not be illegal, then they will schedule a special election for late November or early December.
  • Which ever way this pendulum swings, the City Council has ten days from yesterday to make a decision and either schedule an election or reject the referendum.

This is my take. Anyone with another (better) explanation, please jump into the fray by posting it in the comments!

You can’t learn by talking

If you’re telling me something, you’re not learning anything. Only I am. I’ve spent some time telling on this blog the past few days, so I decided to go do some listening. I wanted to learn the real story behind this petition that we’ve all heard is being circulated. The rumor snowball can really screw with things, so I generally try to ignore it. I want to hear it from the source. Those of you who know me well know that this is not a very easy exercise for me (keeping my trap shut when I know someone is wrong).

So, I stopped in to visit with the local petition circulator herself. The truth is, she hasn’t circulated anything yet. She does have an official petition in hand, and says she will get the signatures by Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Only needs eight 18 signatures to require a referral and City-wide election. The petition will call for a “line item referral” in the City’s 2007 Budget Ordinance. Its intent will be to require the Daycare to break even on an annual basis. This, we could probably live with.

My fear is that the petition driver told me she wants to prevent the City from “writing any checks for the daycare.” This is something totally different than requiring a break even financial statement! I believe she really isn’t trying to close the daycare, but am afraid that will be her unintended result.

I did a lot of listening. I got yelled at a lot too. But I’m a big boy. I didn’t keep my mouth shut the whole time, but might as well have. The truth is, this whole saga isn’t about the daycare at all. It’s about the same thing this debate (and many others) has always been about in our little village. It’s about somebody being pissed at somebody else for something that isn’t directly related to the front-burner issue at all. In communities and families, most of our problems aren’t really about the issue in front of us, the problem is all about the relationship. Same is true here.

We can yell at each other, we can break into rival camps, and/or we can ignore each other and keep telling the “right” side of the story. That would be normal. I hate normal. What if we just sat down and listened to each other for a while? I mean truly listened with an open heart and mind. Listen with the possibility that we might actually learn something new that could, just maybe, change our mind or our impression. That would be very cool, I think. And it could save our community from something that can only be ugly, no matter how the vote turns out. Why is it that the only things that bring this town together on one side are football and tragedies?