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The challenge of politics

Well, it has been an interesting week. I started back to school for the semester. This should be my final set of courses. I should be defending my proposal this summer and writing the dissertation over the course of the next year. If all goes well.

I don't talk about my work much on here, but this week was very unique. I found myself challenged by local politicians. As many of you know I work with the three local counties on their 10 year plans to end homelessness. In one of the counties we are searching for a coordinator. I'm one of four members on a small search committee. We are all part of a larger team who governs the plan implementation process. One of the other members is an elected official. We were down to one candidate and three of the four of us were satisfied that this particular candidate could do the job. The candidate had some limitations, as most everyone does. You never get the perfect candidate. Unfortunately, the elected official pulled rank on the committee and has said "I'm not willing to settle." It was an interesting dynamic for me in that I found myself challenging her in a number of ways. I was clear that I was not "settling," that I agreed with the limitations I saw, but did not feel like it was wise to pass this candidate up. At the same time, I had to admit, that I was not willing to block the process. I find it interesting the power of the electoral position. It was as if the three opinions in the room did not matter. It also makes me question an elected officials understanding of the "real" world of searching for candidates. It will be an interesting series of events as it unfolds.

In another meeting, I was part of a group that presented to a joint meeting of the city council and county commissioners. I tend to take these things a bit more personal than I should. When the government staff I work with say, "That was really nothing. It went pretty well." I should probably listen, but it is difficult to not take the criticism personally. So the dynamic was this, one of the county commissioners started asking questions about data we didn't have available. Despite the simple explanation of "we don't have this, but we can provide you with that data," a window of opportunity exists for an elected official to say, "We need to see how we are doing. We have no clue if we are being successful or not." There are other folks who jump in and say, "Yes, we must see this data." I just wanna scream, "OK already, we'll get you the data for God's sake."

Another critique comes up from a City official this time. "Do we know the demographic makeup of the homeless?" Again, we did not immediately have access to that data, but said we could provide that. "Well, we need to make sure that homelessness is not perceived as an issue limited to black men." OK. Where did that come from? "If you look at this poster about the 10 year plan, you can see it has a black man in it, seeming to indicate that homelessness is a problem only for black men." Another African-American County Commissioner agreed. However, a third African American, said, "I like this picture because it represents success, this man is in a suite and tie and portraying himself as successful." I'm awestruck, but then again this is Durham.

Finally, we leave. The next day the Durham Herald and the News and Observer both report that a discussion was held on merging City and County government. Aha! We were the ones in the middle. Let's see which body can out-criticize the homeless plan in order to demonstrate our ability to ensure public accountability. Jeez. Why can't some things be easy.


Beaded knitting

Over the holidays, I made my first attempt at doing a necklace by knitting beads. Look at the fantastic results.


And here is a close up.



Xmas morning under the tree

I have not had any gratuitous pictures of the girls, but this was too cute to pass up. I swear she is a poser.


Begining of the holiday season.

OK. So, the holidays have officially started. After four years, I've decided to have a Christmas tree again. It is one of my very favorite things to do. The past few years, I've been traveling on the holidays, and even though I'll be away from home some, I'm going to be here and I wanted to do a tree. I had given my lights to Wren for her Iron Pentacle and labrynth. So I bought new lights. They are blue. See the pretty lights on the tree.



Thanksgiving at Cold Stream Lodge

Well, I'm back from my quick trip to West Virginia. I went to a magical place called Cold Stream Lodge. My friend Ellen's family owns the "lodge" and the surrounding land. It is a lovely place. Here is a picture of the lodge and the cold stream.


Close to the lodge is a magical place where I first experienced Witchcamp. It is called Buffalo Gap campground. We had a visit at Buffalo Gap. The folks who were there on Friday traveled up to the site where all of us had participated in camps there. The sad news is that it is being sold. The lovely property that you see on the website has stakes all over it where parcels of land would be divided. It is a sad thing to see this place of beauty and wonder being developed. Here is a picture of those of us who visited.


Notice the cute hat on my friend Willow. She knitted this hat and it makes everyone look cute. Here's a close up of Willow and the hat and my friend Kathy's daughter, Carrie. Aren't they cute??


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