With permission by Commissioner Jeanine Easterday, the following are her comments made at the end of last night’s City Commission meeting regarding the Safe Harbor proposal for the City owned property at 517 Wellington St.
Last week, Phil Powers quoted Congressman John Dingell, who will retire in January having served in Congress for 59 years, longer than anyone else in American History.
“I did my homework. I worked day in and day out with my colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, both Democrats and Republicans. Legislation enacting public policy isn’t just one tough guy imposing his will on the others. It’s the result of working together, of understanding what’s in people’s interest, and recognizing that at the end of the day the art of governance is all about bringing people together. It’s absolutely critical.”
I find these comments particularly compelling given the divisiveness over the current issue of the use of the building at 517 Wellington St. There is no shortage of blame to assign in this issue. Everyone involved in this process has made a misstep. There has been misinformation, misrepresentation, and disrespect, much of which has been fanned by inflammatory headlines and baseless allegations.
That is why I’ve been investigating for, and now requesting, the Commission engage Traverse City based Conflict Resolution Services to assist in facilitating a community discussion about how to best positively move forward in a spirit of respect for all parties interested in the best use of the property at 517 Wellington.
So many are so firmly entrenched in their positions that they are unable to see any way towards resolution of this process. I firmly believe that there are those who no not want to move forward on this issue and will elect not to participate. However, I encourage the Commission to seize the reigns of leadership and make their best effort at healing the wounds this issue has wrought by moving forward in a thoughtful and respectful manner through a professional facilitation process.
Next steps could include discussion at next week’s study session and/or a motion at the next regular meeting to appropriate the funding necessary to engage CRS. As always, I’m open to your comments.
— By Commissioner Jeanine Easterday
* Click for previous thoughts on the Safe Harbor proposal