Larry Cottrell and Donna Jordan called a community meeting for the evening of May
22, 2001. It sounded like they wanted input for what was wanted by the community
that the center provide, work towards the mission statement of no charge classes,
programs, activities and helpful community services. A noble idea.
Donna brought the meeting to order at 6 p.m., quickly stating that the poor relations
of the board was getting worse with no improvement in sight. She went over detailed
problems with the present board members, mostly directed toward board President
Wanda Richards. It became quickly apparent both sides were interpreting the bylaws
quite differently and sometimes too loosely.
Many of these controversies could have been discussed privately rather than air the
center's dirty laundry for all the gossip gawkers to hear about. Jerry Springer would
have loved the show. If my third grade teacher had been there she would have sent a
bunch of people to their room AND written their name on the blackboard.
There were two distinct sides with heavy opinions they both knew they were right. If
we were handing out white hats for the good guys and the black hats for the bad guys
at the door, none of the black hats would have been touched.
I had hoped for a positive forum, but it was explicitly a bash Wanda speech, not a
discussion. After Donna read from extensive notes, Larry Cottrell went to the front to
reread a long and very negative letter we all had previously heard several times. I had
raised my hand to see if the audience wanted to hear this garbage. He kept saying
"Let me finish and you can speak afterwards."
Several other audience members became exasperated at his endless and boring
attack and said so. It was clear he wanted no discussion from the audience...he
wandered off to the side for a personal discussion...
I came with a page of progressive ideas. Others did too...Forward looking ideas were
not touched even once. Larry did suggest holding a fund raiser to help sue the
community center he is a board member of. Somehow that doesn't sound right.
I hereby suggest that we form a parliament like England with a Chancellor or Prime
Minister in charge of running the day to day business of the center. They would be
assisted by a secretary and treasurer. We would also need to appoint royalty with a
king and queen to ride on parade floats, cut ribbons at new business openings and
other very important things.
The problem is too many people want the royalty position. I suggest a contest. We
could have jousting competition with horses and long spears for the guys, and a
free-for-all-anything-goes mud wrestling for the women. Food and refreshments could
be offered. High dollar bets could be taken. The EMS could earn some money hauling
off the losers. It could be a fund raiser like you've never seen before.
Hopefully non-elite royalty would still be sincere in their hopes for the center that they
would still want to help out even without a board title. Other honorary titles could be
assigned; world taskmaster of the commode, imperial wazoo of the trash bins.
Egos must be left at home. This is not the presidency of the entire free world we are
fighting over. It is a tiny community center. No prizes. No glory. It is a nice place for
seniors to go. There are many hard working businesses there struggling with bills to
provide helpful services.
I hear the folks in the community are not allowed to vote on community affairs, only
board members can. Why? Who is representing us? With in-house fighting there isn't a
majority to conduct business. A stalemate sabotaging each others efforts.
What will it take to resolve this board member problem?...Some board members have
sent in negative reports to the newspaper. Whose side are they on? What good will it
do to disparage the center they represent?...
Hopefully with mandatory mediation, new leadership, a community vote (or a needed
miracle) to resolve the bitter power struggle going on. Kings and queens continue to
fight it out. I am but a lowly peasant serf going back to tend my garden.
No title, no authority, just a helpful nobody