I love the season of flowering trees, even if it means I can’t breathe for the duration – darn allergies – but totally worth it!

So I was involved in a long and complicated email discussion about neighborhood development priorities and strategies (don’t feel sorry too for me, as far as hobbies go it’s actually cheaper than my current coloring book habit), which, as is generally par for the course, didn’t actually yield a particular decision (we need a vote for that anyway). What it did do was really help to clarify what I think the Civic Council’s primary agenda should be for any given real estate matter. If you said “More Parking” this is probably your first time reading the President’s message. If you chose “Historic Preservation” then you’ve probably been chatting trapped with me at the appetizer table next to the chocolate covered Pringles someone keeps bringing to neighborhood get togethers. (If “Paperwork” was the first thing you thought of, I’ve apparently cornered you after having a couple of cocktails at one of the previously mentioned get togethers.) And, yes, I will proudly admit that Historic Preservation is very definitely one of my personal motivations for being involved with the Civic Council, or heck, even why I live in the neighborhood in the first place. However, my personal motivations are not the same thing as what I think the Civic Council’s agenda should be. I realized that for any given issue the Civic Council’s main agenda should be a transparent and accountable process for deciding what “our” agenda should be. “Transparent” in the sense that it’s clear when and how we arrived at a particular position that we take whether it’s about zoning or, (sigh) parking. “Accountable” in that the Board is responsible for documenting the decisions of the membership and making sure they are actually carried out. As neighbors, our primary responsibility then becomes to clearly and passionately stand up for our own points of view while, at the same time, at least making a good faith effort to understand the impacts those points of view have on other folks in the neighborhood. Transparent and accountable processes are completely dependent on the folks involved in those processes being willing and able to clearly state their own needs and preferences even if there’s a possibility that they might be unpopular.

And have I got just the opportunity for you to be able to passionately yet respectfully communicate your point of view. As part of the Buhl One Northside Grant that AWCC received, Jim Pashek has been meeting with City and County offices to address some of the issues identified in our original community meetings. He will be returning on April 12th at 6:30 pm to report back and get our feedback and our next steps. Please join us at 6:30 pm at Calvary, before the Membership Meeting to continue the discussions we started this winter.

As the weather turns nicer get ready for all the great outdoor events. Tour tickets are on sale! Carrie will be hosting a Tour meeting on Monday April 11th for anyone wanting to be involved. Scott will be setting up a giant Membership Committee meeting, to discuss picnics and art shows and 50th anniversary celebrations (oh my!). Neighborhood cleanups start soon, too. I’m looking forward to hearing your well-reasoned and enthusiastic points of view of what main courses we should be serving at the 4th of July picnics (or even about parking). Happy Spring everyone!

Catherine Serventi
President, AWCC