Sunday, October 30, 2005

Column 56 - Community

Signs of rationality and dialog found on the North Shore

In an unusual confluence of circumstances, Incline has almost simultaneously acquired three new clergy – at St. Patrick’s, St. Francis’ and the North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation. At a time in America and in the world where religion is more divisive than it has been in a long time, there is every indication that these new members of our community bring with them a spirit of fellowship and alignment that is refreshing – indeed, there are already plans under way for an ecumenical Thanksgiving service, something I remember fondly from my childhood, but that I have not seen in my 10 years here in Incline.

Similarly, a group of Incline residents has taken the initiative in creating a series of debates on national and state issues between representatives of the Democratic and Republican sides of the issues – they invited Milt Hyams’ students at IHS to be on the panel, and Milt and his students accepted enthusiastically. At least for the first debate Jim Clark and I will lead the two sides along with another adult and one of the students. The debate will take place on Monday, November 7th  at 7 pm at the High School Auditorium and will cover topics to include the war in Iraq, homeland security, immigration policy, Social Security, and State tax issues including TABOR and Proposition 13,

Finally, on November 12th the Incline Vision Committee of the IVGID Board of Trustees will hold a Town Meeting to set priorities for creating the Village’s future and to create community-based task forces to present plans to the Board for how to implement these priorities. Hopefully we will see a large number of residents from all sectors of the community (yes, we do have sectors, and not just, as the Wall Street Journal would have it, “the millionaires and the billionaires”) at this meeting. There is compelling evidence that diversity-based groups have the ability to come up with solutions to problems that are more creative and intelligent than any individual in the group or even a group of experts could come up with. I’ve been asked to use some of the techniques and models I use with corporations to set strategy to facilitate the process and hope that everyone will come. The meeting will be from 9am to 12 noon at the new Elementary School.

Actually, I hope all three of these events will be confronted with the problem of not having enough room for everyone who shows up. In my last Wednesday column I said that I do not subscribe to the conventional wisdom that Incline residents are apathetic. Rather, I said, I think the appearance of apathy is actually a result of people experienced being disenfranchised or having no meaningful access to affecting the future of their community. In the spiritual/religious arena our local institutions have, for the most part, operated in isolation from each other and while many have done a lot of good for the community, this separation has contributed to an erosion of community spirit. Now in the month of November we have three major opportunities to come together as a community as well as the annual drives by Project Mana, the Children’s Cabinet, and others to gather food, warm clothes, and holiday gifts for those who cannot afford them. This combination of efforts could, if we get behind them, create an inflection point in the history of Incline Village/Crystal Bay in the direction of becoming a true community.

I hope to see you at the debate, the Town Meeting, the Thanksgiving service, and to work with you to have us come together as a community of relationship.

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