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wow, what a day

I didn’t post yesterday. I hit a wall, stymied by trying to complete a campaign ethics report online and then navigating through establishing online banking for the campaign account. Ate up my day light and I didn’t get to talk to any voters. It was a stressful day at work, with a tight frenetic pace and no longer have the option to just work a little longer to wrap it all up. But if going the extra mile were easy it wouldn’t be a commandment and everyone would do it.

Today was a good day. I went to bed early last night not even finishing my absinthe, served classically. Thanks John for the absinthe spoon, a rarely used but much appreciated kitchen gadget. If you don’t know you serve absinthe by pouring the shot over a sugar cube which rests on a slotted spoon that has a little bump to go over the edge of the glass. It clouds the water in a particular way and hard on the liver I hear so I drink sparingly. Last night I had the barest sip before deciding to hit the hay and let the glass sit on the counter. Left the house smelling like licorice and I finished it tonight after canvassing.

Woke at 4:00 and felt pretty good but lay in bed and pretended to sleep until 6:30. I got dressed, business casual, that’s probably reason enough for my work to be proud I’m running, finally dressing like your supposed to. Creates a hurdle to engage with folks who are more ghetto for lack of a better word. Poor people make assumptions about people in ties, usually correct ones. Now people are surprised when I talk about my sister who is addicted to crack (3 years clean though, so no shame there, nothing wrong with being an addict just doing drugs. some of the best people I know are addicts.) They used to take it as a given, I was more like them.

April 4th I go back to being me.

Today I put on slacks (long johns underneath for canvassing), dress shoes, dress shirt and cardigan. Debated the tie and realized it was Saturday. I made the call as all the city staffers and managers were dressed in their business casual/fancy casual except the deputy manager of a department who was filling in for his boss. He had a suit cuz he didn’t know. The Ward 6 candidate was in a tie, he didn’t know either. I sat next to him and we related as candidates.

His opposition is closer to me politically. It was nice meeting her and getting her perspective. I also introduced myself to the conservative council person who came even though he’s not up for re-election this year. He told a funny story about goofy constituent calls where someone complained about the parking enforcement double parking while they wrote him a parking ticket. The councilman brought up the beer trucks that block the street willy nilly servicing the bars downtown. “Well I like beer trucks”.

I heard presentations on city government by the city manager, and all the department heads and the municipal court judge. It was really informative and I am largely impressed with how the city is run. Columbia is the best governed place I’ve ever lived (with apologies to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place Monroe, Michigan; Berkeley, California, and Toledo, Ohio. Honorable mention to Rossford, Ohio because I didn’t know enough to follow local politics in my 19-20 years).

I learned that at our current funding for street repair we will repave the streets every 57 years. Streets last 30 years. We also have big pension underfunding issues, a storm water situation that is not getting the resources it needs and revenue is flat to down. We’re going to have to be really smart with what we do with our little dollars.

I was most impressed with the city manager who is personable, smart and a good leader. Seems like he is taking the city in a good direction. I am also impressed that we have maintained good reserves which has cushioned us through the tough times except for transit which is going to need some additional revenue or major cuts to services.

Neither of my opponents showed up. In a way it was cool, allowed me to relax and be treated as the heir apparent. I also learned one of my opponents had voted against GetAboutColumbia a $4.3 million (this year) Federal grant for non-motorized transportation as a Parks and Rec Commission guy because some people don’t like it. Its controversial, blow back by motorists who feels bicyclists are getting uppity or something but damn, that’s got to be a majority issue, even if you hate trails that’s a lot of jobs to be against.

I got interviewed so imagine I’ll be in the paper. Hope my professional head shot got in to the paper in time, although I like the unflattering float trip pic. they pulled off Facebook for the first story. Keeps me humble being a homely mug with a giant melon. Canvassing and staying on my dog walking schedule is going to have me looking good by April. I’ll have to come up with a scheme to keep it up.

After the interview I grabbed some Indian food, delicious downtown and hit the streets to canvass. The new flyer is out and looks a lot better with the new photo. Tomorrow I need to schedule another photo shoot, get the dog in the picture. I let him out and then canvassed until dark. I had a brief hiatus to wait for flyers but some down time was appreciated.

Had some good houses today. Met an anti-obesity community organizer and talked quite a bit. I went to one house and no one came to the door even though only the storm door was closed. A kid came up with a scooter and I gave her a flyer and asked her to give it to her parents. She said, “I don’t have parents, just a mom. I had two moms but one moved out.” I was thinking I was sorry I missed her as with a story like that it has to be someone I know and sure enough I heard Mike, Mike shouted down the block and got caught up with an old friend.

I’ve hit 126 doors. Not to shabby though I am off pace. It may not be realistic. I am going to try to recruit a driver to speed the process. I made my follow up calls. I talked at length with an older couple about the state of the neighborhood and they are going to talk to some neighbors and may gather a group to meet me. They live in the same block as the sweet old lady I talked to at length about not knowing her neighbors when she didn’t come to the door. When I left a message for one she had specifically mentioned she did not know I mentioned the possibility of a meeting.

I have this dream where the older folks meet the newer folks and everyone feels a little safer and a little more neighborly. To rekindle our cross-generational interactions. It might start on Garden Drive. I’ve been praying for that little old lady. After that did some business and looking to wind down and get some shut eye. Tomorrow morning is my own, you can’t canvass before noon on Sunday as you are supposed to be in church. If its at all nice I will walk Fido to the dog park and try to chat up some dog people. Fido has been getting his walks but its been after dark and he needs to see more dogs to have as much life satisfaction as i would like him to have. John was sweet enough to remind me that even with being busy Fido has a better life then most.

I know that. I got no room for guilt. I’ve been working hard all day, every day and get to sleep the sleep of the just. Its a good thing to work hard and try to help. There’s a lot of mess out there but there’s a lot of room for growth if you’ve got a little hustle and a lot of compassion.

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