A tip of the hat to an excellent public servant here and notes about others

7 Mar

Unfortunately, this week was a bad news week for your blogger. OK, I’d chosen this week to do my taxes. But amazingly that wasn’t the worst of it. Meetings that piled up because of previous “snow” cancellations got cancelled again because of the latest “snow” event. But the worst news of all this week for me was that Chris Linn, the ANC2F commissioner dealing with crime and public safety sent an e-mail notice on Wednesday saying that night would be his last meeting since he was moving out of the neighborhood. Logan’s loss is Columbia Heights’ gain.

Chris was the commissioner in this Logan Circle ANC who got people together to discuss and then pass the resolution I reported on last summer in the post DC LAWS: CONGRATS TO LOGAN CIRCLE ANC2F AND CITIZEN ACTION. He did a fine job there of listening to the persons he represented about their concerns on sidewalk bicycling in the neighborhood but also bringing in the MPD and bicycling advocates to speak and answer questions in an informal manner that led to an excellent resolution calling for DDOT to make a study of the problem and recommend revisions of DC law such as expanding the area where no sidewalk bicycling is allowed and other possible changes to deal with what has become a real problem and quality of life issue for people in that neighborhood and others as well. Even after that resolution he continued bringing all parties together to see if measures short of legislation could be implemented more immediately. And he was relentless in following up with DDOT.

He did other things like work with the MPD on reducing crime and work with others to reduce the rat population in Logan. He did all of this humbly and with the persistence of a person who really wants to do good for his community rather than just use them to take the next step up the political ladder. So cheers to him and a long and successful life in his career and in future public service he may undertake. And I really hope for my friends in Logan that his successor will follow his example.

If you have read this blog regularly you know that I am coming to believe that there are far too few people like Chris in DC, and you can include the federal government in that as well since they’re located here, who consider themselves “public servants”, especially if they are elected, and too many who consider themselves “public officials”, who should be accorded deference and should be listened to instead of listening themselves to the people. My thought: “Public Servant”=USA; “Public Official”=Russia. This is a representative democracy, but we, the people have to keep our elected public servants on their toes. Think about that when you go to the polls to vote for Mayor and other offices in a couple of weeks. Did you or some one you know have any contact with the person you’re considering voting for? Do they answer letters to them? When you’re at a meeting with them is it 20 minutes for each and every elected one and 2 minutes for the ordinary citizen? Are they at all responsive to the problems you see and point out to them?

Now to close, a word about Monday’s “snow event”: I heard Sunday night that the federal government was going to close yet again because of the prospect of a couple of inches of snow. So I did not expect an Ohio friend of mine to come in for his meeting at NOAA in Silver Spring Monday and Tuesday. But he made it in, leaving behind 6-10 inches of snow (but an open state and city government!). His flight was somewhat delayed. He got in around midnight. But first thing Monday morning he left the hotel and walked four blocks in the snow to NOAA, only to find it locked. A policeman told him the feds were closed. But being a true public servant for his state, he went back to the hotel, contacted some of the other state agency reps who had also flown in and the private environmental consultants they were to get info from. Together they all decided to get conference rooms in the hotel and met there for two days without the feds. I’m sure they got a lot more done, more efficiently than if they’d had them there. And I was embarrassed that with what my little school ruler snow stick said was 2.5 inches of snow, even the busses were pulled on Monday and, even in Dupont Circle on Tuesday, we had to dodge icy buildup when he and I finally met for a meal before he left for the airport.

Well, this has been kind of a long post. But I think Chris deserves it. I hope to get back on track with more info on bike laws and some suggestions for you to consider next week. Meanwhile it’s going to be a beautiful warm weekend, so enjoy it but, as always—STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE>

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