I am a “play by the rules” kind of person. I am the one in the office that loves the thought of creating policies and then developing procedures to follow. Maybe this is one reason that I am drawn to serve on the local Planning Commission . . . that and I drive my family and a few others crazy with my never ending passion for planning . . . everything . . . gardens, vacations, dinners, cleaning . . . whatever. What I have learned over the years is that, for me, the planning is the fun and easy part. Getting it done . . . well that is another story. Herein lies another problem. I am also a bit of a perfectionist. Ok, you may not know that from looking at my garden, or my home, or my blog.
The funny thing is that I am not alone – apparently. In my short tenure – four years – with the Planning Commission and in working with other municipal committees, commissions, councils and personnel, I have come to realize that the planning, the visioning, the dreaming is the easy and fun part. It is the roll-up-your-sleeves, grab a shovel, get your hands dirty putting those dusty plans into action that is infinitely more difficult. Why is that?
Part of it is that we are all, to some degree, perfectionists. We want whatever we do to be the Martha Stewart dinner party, the perfect vacation that our family will always remember, the garden that the neighbors oooh and aaah over. For some of us, when the weeds start taking over the garden, or the dust bunnies start reproducing in the corners, we throw up our hands and quit. Things are not quite as easy as we envisioned. We give up.
The other issue is that, whether you really want to admit it or not, we generally have a desire to be liked and to please people. Face it, whether you are dealing with a family or a group of citizens, you are not going to make everyone happy all the time. In fact, you will probably irritate almost everyone at one time or another. Making decisions and taking a stand is quite frankly hard work. My job as a Planning Commission member is aided by a few things, ordinances, codes, and laws – all those things I find comforting in their structure. However, these same things – and the beaurocracy that can be associated with it can be stifling to the most productive of those among us.
For many years I have heard the term “political will.” “All it takes is political will.” Maybe. Is that the same as political power? But “power” is a strong word that brings visions and potential of abuse.
Last week at the Glenwood Springs City Council meeting I heard another word – perhaps one more fitting to the events happening in Glenwood Springs right now. That word is “momentum.” Councilor Todd Leahy used it to describe what is happening in Glenwood Springs right now. He is right. Glenwood Springs is in a unique position at this moment in time. I have rarely seen the synergy between entities that have never been at the same table before as I have in the last few months. We have CDOT, Union Pacific, RFTA, Garfield County, city staff and city council, along with others, in various stages of planning and doing . . . working on the hard stuff . . . the stuff that forges long term agreements and clears the way for perhaps one of the most exciting times in Glenwood Spring history. Will it please everyone? Not a chance. But in my opinion, we would be negligent to miss this chance to get something done!