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Jack Lynch, Editor
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Jack Lynch, Editor
Note: Commentary and viewpoints on this website are the sole opinions of the writers and do not represent in any way any organizations of which they may belong, promote, or by which they are employed.
May 23, 2007
by Jack Lynch
Sometimes, what is most remarkable is the unremarkable. Deficient in supplying content at this site for several weeks, among many reasons of personal distraction, is also the fact that county government has settled into a new groove. It becomes more difficult to rally and cry foul, when government works well, and you can sit back and watch good choices being made without needing to impact the process a great deal – isn’t that how our leadership is supposed to work?
Isn’t this a fully representative and truly bipartisan effort?
Isn’t this the governmental civility our community conveners cried out for?
Isn’t this just plain ’nice’?
Do not heed the voices of discord and discontent. They have another agenda. They are not representative of our community interests.
It is clear that the current Board of County Commissioners is different, its tone nearly communal, irenic, and dare I say, without stretching the analogy too far and getting myself into some political correctness sexist trouble spot – maternal.
Now to make the case for why this is so – and surely part of the cause is Board Chair Jan Gardner, whose nature brings a balance of active listening, genteel composure and deliberative guidance, sprinkled with a dose of good humor and social playfulness.
She grew into an elected role after being part of a citizen effort that came to be called the ‘mommy mongers.’ Or it was something to that effect. Jan describes their work as becoming an advocacy based on facts and figures, as well as emotion and interests – it sounds like the kind of balance she still brings to her role.
Make no mistake, her quavering decision to run again was a heartfelt personal challenge. Her many circles of support kept her in our service and we should be grateful.
Banish the thought that the maternal interpretation means any form of weakness or failure to stand strong – hopefully the balancing effects of thirty odd years of feminist theory have moderated the stereotypes of female precept enough to allow the normative figure of womanhood to include power and strength beside compassion and fair play.
Her compatriots also hold the stage based on an apparent integrity and values that concede to the overall tone set by Jan’s leadership. Though they hold their own places in attracting the derision of some elements, and certainly Thompson holds his seminal role as a tight fisted old world mercantilist of local government, and counterpoint to anything reeking of the movement of earth for anything besides a family farm.
Hagen has honed his vision and expounded at length his beliefs, which are fresh and enlightening to the county, and representative of a whole mass of folks who likely felt they’d never see any progressive and challenging issues rise to the fore. He has at times assumed the attacks that usually reserved in fallacious attempts to impugn the character of Thompson.
Hagen, feeling less criticism before the election than after, while likely still an offbeat target for those of some growth viewpoints, has quickly survived a barrage of attacks for minor choices, such as his work computer and public pronouncements on annexations – given the passion and position, without a legal muzzle, less will not flow in exposition from this passionate leader of environmental bent.
I can say that I’ve known Kai long enough, and been through a couple trenches alongside him, to know that while on an evidentiary level he may elicit some misguided loathing, based primarily on his personal communicative style – he by no means deserves that mantle. He is committed and true to his causes and our overall community. He adds another regional and wider vision that may barely be scratched by local government. I may surprise both supporters and detractors in suggesting – could we one day see him in the Delegation?
Not so long ago, even if elected office was a gleam in his mind’s eye, he outwardly did not believe that he was electable, or that the skills he’d developed in advocacy were transferable to his cause of self as a figurehead of a community movement and philosophy. I think that he has grown to realize, by the process of conversion to leadership and exposure to both broader and narrower issues – that his responsibility is clearer and in some facets more limited than he perhaps suspected. He’ll likely disagree, in his upwelling optimistic projections, that fuel that delivered him, but I stand at a slightly different viewpoint.
Jenkins, with a slightly different take on overall growth and development issues based on his personal investment in the realty world, has proven as much a team player as alternate voice, apparently always by his personal judgment, much to the chagrin of the forces that hoped for a measure of vocal discord in the ranks and a wedge against the slower growth crowd. He also shows an eye for detail and finance issues, and will work for his cause of traffic relief, which is a major challenge and almost thankless, a long and perhaps endlessly frustrating effort given the position of any county in that unheavenly macadam firmament.
I find that he has gained stature too, by that disposition. He clearly is reasonable, and I may have misjudged him in the campaigns – but by his own recorded words. His actions speak to a truer course and greater intrinsic deliberation. I welcome him to his place on the board. I look for greater things to come from him.
Thompson, always a lightning rod for his take on expenses for programs that make social sense, is apparently feeling that glow of New Market down-zoning and the passage of an ethics and lobbying measure. But he’s a winner this time around, given they all pretty much promised action on these key issues.
Gray remains a favorite voice of mine, he frames his positions around a sense of community interest and is sensible on green issues to the chagrin of the large R Republicans I suppose, especially in this little Bush warp universe alongside a dim star at the edge of a minor galaxy. I say if he’s chosen that label – it’s a good influence on the reality of the party and us all.