Jun 7, 2008

An Open Letter to the CHCC Officers

Dear Justin, Charlette, Hong and Saunatina:

Our community gathered in a well-attended forum to elect you as the voice and face of the Capitol Hill Community Council -- that includes all of us who live and work on Capitol Hill.

I was lucky to participate in just about every meeting of the new Council and sit on its steering committee. A fascinating, and at times frustrating, process. One with a great result. I applaud you guys and thank each of you for the time and energy you'll contribute.

I want to mention one thing that stuck with me following the election. During candidate speeches someone mentioned "twisting the arm" of the editor of a local paper (Doug Schwartz of the Capitol Hill Times, no?) A former officer of the CHCC pointed out that the editor happened to be sitting in the audience, 10 feet away from the candidate who proposed the arm twisting. Everyone chuckled.

It was clear this former officer knew the editor. On election day I don't expect the same of our new officers, but I encourage you to do the same in the coming months. Sit down with your local news reporters and ask them what stories they see emerging in the community. Have coffee with local business owners. Attend meetings of other Capitol Hill community groups. I'm glad to hear you'll regularly attend the farmer's market -- find more of these venues.

Please make it a priority to get out in the community -- the council itself. The first year will entail lots of formalities, structures and frameworks. Bylaws, board, government filings, oh my! But structure yourself in and around the people you represent. For instance, if you want to speculate on conflicts of interest, take time to get to know the person who you believe represents the conflict over and above vague understandings of "IRS codes."

This council is about people. Relate to them, represent them, rally them!

Thanks again for representing us.


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