Monday, January 26, 2015

Getting rid of the clutter in your life!

Campaign signs assembled but never used
In politics, the process of running is never easy, nor inexpensive.  You also are not sure from one term to the next, what you might do four years later.  For all intent and purposes, you leave your options open.  When I ran my last race in 2009, I ordered a number of signs because it's cheaper to do them at the same time, and assembled them all.  As the campaign progressed, I ended up not needing all of them, however even after winning that race, decided to not get rid of those assembled signs.  While I wasn't sure what I might do in 2013, I was pretty sure that was my last city council race.  However you keep your options open, and I kept my signs.  They've taken up a corner of my garage for 5 1/2 years now and even though of I've been out of office now for over a year, have "haunted" me for some time.  They were a burden if you will.

Moving forward!
Saturday, I decided to do something about it, tore them down, cut up the sticks for fire wood and redeemed a corner of my garage so that I could move on and use it for other things.  As I was cutting up the wood, I got thinking of how many burdens we so often carry with us, often for much longer than we really need to carry them.  I thought of my role as Stake President, when I meet with individuals who have carried a burden in their life or a mistake they once made and are ready to forsake and move forward.  It's probably one of the most sweet and tender experiences for me to watch the atonement work in their eyes and mind.  It often brings tears to my own.  I completed the task with the resolve that I needed to free myself more often, be a little more resolved to let things go and work a little harder to clean up those corners in my life.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rosa Parks Blvd

Unveiling of Street signage for Rose Parks Blvd

Friday evening Cathy and I watched the new movie "Selma" about the efforts to create a Federal Voting Rights Act, eliminating much of the discrimination that prevented individuals from being able to register to vote, particularly the poor and those of color.  It was a telling and sobering movie that has reminded us of how far we've come, yet what short sighted things we sometimes still do today.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  I don't know enough about what movie critics are looking for in picking Oscars, but this is a well done movie and worth the ticket price and will be a keeper when it comes out for personal use.

Friday evening reminded me of my own participation in the honorary street naming of 200 E in Salt Lake City to Rosa Parks Blvd.  I've always had a deep respect for the civil rights movement and certainly studied it extensively in my collegiate pursuits in history.  However I was pleasantly surprised, when I was approached by the Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP a few years ago and their chapter president, Jeanetta Williams, who asked me what it would take to have a street named for Rose Parks and if I would be willing to take the lead.  We did some research among council staff and I had conversations with my colleagues at the time.  I felt like it should be a street that actually had buses on it, and it was also important that at some point, it intersected with 600 S - Martin Luther King Blvd and 500 S - Cesar Chavez Blvd.  Our rules required that the petitioner (in this case me) would have to bare the full cost of changing the street signs in addition to the council action required.  In an effort to address some of that cost, and to keep the change at a reasonable level, we decided to do the segment between South Temple and 600 S. My initial plan was to see if I could get a corporate partner to challenge match and then I would proceed to begin my fund raising effort.  My first stop was with my employer at the time, Zions Bank and I approached Scott Anderson, its President.  Scott asked me how much the total cost would be, and then wrote me a personal check for the entire amount.  I dare say, it was the easiest effort in raising funds that I've experienced, but I was so grateful for his person support.
Robert Rendon - Zions Bank, Mayor Rocky Anderson, myself, Gloria Wilkinson - Zions Bank
Jeanetta Williams - NAACP, Nancy Saxton, SLC Council and a representative of Youth City
Unfortunately the day of the unveiling, Scott was unable to join us but sent two friends from Zions Bank and we unveiled the signs in the Urban Room of the Salt Lake City Library.  Salt Lake City has since extended signage beyond 600 S and it always brings a feeling of pride and gratitude when I pass one of them.  I actually still have the one on the easel for my own personal memories.

I'm also grateful for Rose Parks.  My girls and I did some studying of her story so that we could better understand her sacrifice and the significance of the event.  Not only did it change history for those of color, but for women too.  The combination of those two things, often get overlooked and it was important for my girls to understand it.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr Day, I express my gratitude for the blessings of individuals, including Dr King who sacrificed much so we would be more tolerable, kinder and hold ourselves to a better standard.