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To the editor:
If we are moving Lincoln forward, then why are
people flatly saying, “that is not happening.” In my search to
understand and relate to what people are expressing about their
perception of what is going on in Lincoln, I ran across an article
that targeted what is being felt in this community. In the Stanford
SOCIAL INNOVATION Review, April, 2014, the article started out with
how people “described the community as ‘jaded’ and ‘frustrated’.”
Richard C. Harwood, continued , “The community said that there was
too little trust between people to make progress that stuck, that
endless turf battles inevitably cripple efforts, and that there
weren’t enough credible leaders and organizations to move forward.
The community was tired of initiatives starting one day and fading
away the next; this undermined people’s confidence in accomplishing
anything significant. They asserted that the prevailing way of doing
business was to do things to people rather than with people. “
Is it possible to move forward if trust and confidence are missing
within the community especially with a lack of credible leaders?
Some of our citizens have even stated that the ultimate goal of
current city leadership is to take political control of the
community and county for their personal benefit. This general
feeling concurs with Harwood, “the prevailing way of doing business
is doing things to people rather than with people”. Who instigated
the alleged turf battles and did the UOC actually cause more
problems with more dissention which cripple efforts to move forward?
Can leaders be credible if the founded perceptions of those
individuals are based on far-fetched ideas and misrepresented
accounts of activities? People have even stated some leaders are
just downright deceitful and can’t be trusted. The main question
here might be ‘how heavily do perceptions weigh in on a person’s
thinking?’ Whether the thought is based on factual evidence or
perceived evidence because of observed behaviors, the prevailing
mindset is incredibility. Trust and confidence are missing.
The key word above is founded. As time elapses, first-hand knowledge
of specific activities is tied to individuals and passed on to
others. People within the community are smart enough to analyze and
observe. They understand what is going on better and discover more
as the time passes. They interpret and realize the significance of
certain behaviors. They are making conclusions because they have
formed a logical judgment considering everything known about the
direction the city is going. Harwood has defined it as robust
notions. And, yes the citizens of Lincoln have robust notions.
[to top of second column in this letter]
I apologize for using someone else’s work to help explain what,
in my opinion, is the direction of Lincoln, IL. In order for our
efforts and endeavors to be successful, the essence or civic culture
of the community must be taken into consideration. How does trust
form? Why and how do people engage with one another? Are people
ready and wanting change? What kind of change do they want? What
creates the right enabling environment for change to take root and
accelerate? Is a dictatorial climate wanted? Is it a ”competency
based” imposing mindset that is needed? Who determines the
competencies and who is judge? If the community is misread and the
civic culture is misinterpreted, then, according to Harwood, “the
tendency is to remain stuck or treading water and ultimately slide
Within the mix of these founded perceptions are factual
- Spending, spending, spending by city government
- Selective enforcement of building codes which ignores real
hazards while persecuting others for minor violations
- The building and code officer and staff going up and down
streets and alleys, taking pictures of people’s property and
harassing citizens to pay more fines
- A growing government with a decline in populations
- A decline in income with an increase in taxes
- A decrease in citizen involvement resulting in a recycling
of people on committees and boards because no one else is
encouraged or cares to be involved.
The robust notions of the citizens of Lincoln, in my opinion, is
that Lincoln is treading water and in need of new leadership that
represents the community as a whole, is innovative, and sees the big
picture that extends into the future.
Wanda Lee Rohlfs
[Posted November 15, 2014 ]
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