“Our task as citizens whether we are leaders in government or business – or spreading the word – is to spend our days with open hearts and open minds. To seek out the truth that exists in an opposing view and to find the common ground that allows for us as a nation, as a people, to take real and meaningful action. And we have to do that humbly – for no one can know the full and encompassing mind of God. And we have to do it everyday, not just at a prayer breakfast.” — President Barack Obama, at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast
From today’s Tallahassee Democrat, by TaMaryn Waters (page 1, above the fold; photos Mike Ewen, Democrat): “For a second consecutive year, residents saw a glimpse of how local leaders feel on issues that matter most to them during the OUR TOWN: Local Leadership Forum, sponsored by Village Square.
“City and county commissioners fielded random questions Thursday evening as nearly 200 attendees listened with keen interest. Residents, many watching the event live on Tallahassee.com, asked officials how they plan to foster more tolerance, preserve Tallahassee’s precious trees as development grows and address the community’s most dire needs beyond jobs and economic development.” Read the entire article online at Tallahassee.com.
If you’re waiting for your civic responsibility to get more entertaining, you’re probably out of luck. We’ve got a civic two-fer that starts tonight, we’re highly recommending. First join us tonight for OUR TOWN Local Leadership forum, with Tallahassee Democrat Editor Bob Gabordi moderating a panel made up of nine city and county commissioners. We’ll have a real conversation, take your questions and you’re welcome to bring your favorite take-out and a drink. Get more information about this program and reserve your seat HERE (we’ll keep registration up until either we’re full or about 4pm – after that you’ll have to come to St. John’s and we’ll try our best to seat you).
Then exactly one week later, we’re hosting Speed “Date” Your Local Leader. Maybe you’ve never tried it yourself, but everyone’s heard of speed dating. First offered by an Israeli rabbi to help Jewish singles find love, now there’s Christian speed dating, graduate student speed dating, even speed dating for pet adoption and – for the truly noncommittal – online speed dating.
But nothing beats civic speed dating.
At a time when interactions between citizens and their government are either increasingly hostile or practically non-existent, it’s probably past time for a little matchmaking. It’s free and we’re even treating for pizza and drinks.
Leaders will rotate from table to table every 7 minutes, offering each group of participants an opportunity to ask questions or offer ideas that might never have rated a phone call or public testimony, but are the grist of good citizenship and good governance nonetheless.
Click here to reserve your seat for speed date night (seating is limited, so suggest you not delay).
From the Tallahassee Democrat, April 3rd 2013, by Liz Joyner:
In “Democracy in America”, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of the uniquely American habit of “forever forming associations.”
There’s good reason for that. In a new country without a king, someone was going to have to make a few decisions.
Our first and strongest associations in America were with the people who shared a common geography and, amid many threats, likely a common fate: our neighbors. The town hall meeting was born early in our republic, and in one form or the other they’ve been happening ever since.
As metaphor, the town hall perfectly captures the very essence of the freedom we won from European monarchs – it’s the triumph of the common man over the sovereign. And, as a practical matter, it’s been how the business of American community has gotten done for hundreds of years now. (more…)
Tallahassee Town Hall Meeting tomorrow night. Cheers to the town hall. It’s got everything that makes America who we are.
Here’s to the Town Hall. We are true believers. You can join us in our local version of American democracy tomorrow night (Thursday), April 4th from 5:30 to 7:30. Details and reservations here. And holding a town hall meeting gives us one more excuse to link to Maira Kalman’s NY Times “And the Pursuit of Happiness” blog for “So Moved:” HERE. It is must read.
News from the Village Square: OUR TOWN Thursday | Immigration dinner | Speed Date | FFF Friday | We’re busy
To get all the info and make your RSVP here. (Last day for early bird lunch prices is tomorrow Tuesday, April 2.) The impact of the internet and social media on modern life is immeasurable. It’s changed fundamentals about our relationships with each other, about the way we make civic decisions, and even the way we worship. Joining the God Squad on Friday, April 5th for “The Church of Facebook: Worship in the Digital Age” is Dean Inserra, the founding and lead pastor of City Church. Established five years ago with 24 people, City Church regular attendance has grown to over 1,000.
We’re also delighted to welcome Dr. Bill Shiell, the new pastor at First Baptist Church, to the God Squad.
The program is from noon to 1 pm on Friday, April 5th at First Baptist Church (108 W. College Avenue) with lunch available beginning at 11:30. It will be moderated by Pastor Darrick McGhee of Bible Based Church. Joining him are God Squad regulars Rabbi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel, Rev. Betsy Ouellette of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, and Rev. Dave Killeen of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
All Faith, Food, Friday forums are free and open to the public. Lunch is available for $8 if you RSVP by the Tuesday ahead of the program and $10 with a late reservation or at the door (all lunches are paid by cash or check at the door). You may also bring a brown bag lunch. For a menu, more information or to reserve your seat go online to http://wiki.tothevillagesquare.org/x/QYDf or call 264-8785/email email@example.com.
For Immediate Release
March 28, 2013
THE VILLAGE SQUARE CONTINUES ‘OUR TOWN’ FORUM SERIES
Leadership Tallahassee and Tallahassee Democrat partner in local leadership forum
(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – March 28, 2013 – If you want to participate in civic life in Tallahassee but aren’t interested in preparing a three-minute speech for a commission meeting, what options do you have? Next Thursday night, April 4, citizens will have a rare opportunity to talk informally with both Tallahassee City Commissioners and Leon County Commissioners.
“OUR TOWN: Local Leadership Forum” is a continuation of an ongoing series of unique local issues forums sponsored by The Village Square, a nonprofit formed by local leaders – from both sides of the political divide – to improve the civility and factual accuracy of civic dialogue. The series is part of a grant funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida to foster an informed, engaged community.
At a time when budgets are tight and tempers short, the traditional American town hall meeting offers an important opportunity to understand the choices we must make as a community.
Moderated by Tallahassee Democrat editor Bob Gabordi, the program will pair commissioners from both the city and the county for a cross-governmental discussion about where Tallahassee is as a community, where we’re going, and what challenges we face in getting there. The forum is co-sponsored by Leadership Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Democrat.
The program is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 211 N. Monroe Street (use rear Calhoun Street entrance). It is free and open to the public; a reservation is required. Participants are welcome to bring a take-out dinner and a drink. Later programs include “Speed Date Your Local Leaders” on April 11 and “Fast Forward Tallahassee” on May 6.
Those who are unable to attend can watch the program livestream at www.Tallahassee.com or follow an online discussion on Twitter, hashtag #TDvsq.
For more information (including a list of participating commissioners) and to RSVP and print your ticket, go to www.tothevillagesquare.org, or call 850-264-8785.
A week from tomorrow (Thursday, 4.4), we’re hosting the second year in what we plan to be an annual series focused on local issues, the goings on in our hometown. It’s called “OUR TOWN: Local Leadership Forum.” (Details, RSVP here.) A week after that (Thursday 4.11) we’ve assembled a bunch of cool local leaders for “Speed Date Your Local Leader.” (Details, RSVP here.) Finally, we’ll finish up with “Fast Forward Tallahassee” a fun-filling program about what’s cutting edge and brand new around town (Monday, 5.6 so save the date). It’s all free (on the 11th we treat for pizza). We think it’s really important and we want you there. Here’s why…
In a time when too many town hall meetings make national news with fistfights (egged on by professional polarizers who make big money – or win elections – if we can’t stand each other), we think it’s past time that neighbors get reacquainted, break bread together from time to time, remember how to be neighborly. Lost in all the focus on the highly divisive national slugfest are the issues that affect us locally, personally, everyday. And if we’re not showing up to help make the decisions important in our hometown, who will?
Our philosophy: It’s our very differences of opinion that serve to strengthen (rather than weaken) our community, assuming we talk to each other. It’s actually the same big, old-fashioned idea America’s founders had when they started our country, so we think we’re in very good company. And, who knows… we might just have a little fun while we get on with the work of OUR TOWN. After all, being a good citizen doesn’t need to be dull.
Civility isn’t just how our mom taught us to behave, it’s also good for our local economy. Turns out we waste a lot of effort when we are disconnected with each other, while collaboration helps business thrive. So while some other hometowns are busy with the same old anger (often mainly over hard-to-resolve national issues that have nothing to do with where we live), we’d like to proudly say that here in Tallahassee, we do things just a little differently.
Our Town Hall meeting is Thursday, April 4th, featuring Tallahassee Democrat’s Bob Gabordi as moderator and nine city and county commissioners as panelists. Click here to get more information and RSVP.
There’s nothing more quintessentially American than a town hall meeting. It’s how the business of American community has gotten done from just about the moment the first disaffected European foot hit ground in the New World.
Even if you’ve never attended one, the town meeting is buried so deep in our country’s psyche that you can probably immediately call up its intimate details – rows of folding chairs, town council up front with only a school lunch table to define their status, a charmless but functional meeting room. Someone probably saw to it that there would be coffee and cookies. Overachievers might organize a potluck. (more…)
“It is democracy in its truest and simplest form, a night when commissioners answer to the bosses: citizens.” — Bob Gabordi Read the whole article at Tallahassee.com.
Join us on Thursday evening, April 4th for “Our Town: Local Leadership Forum.” Get details, reserve your seat and print your ticket here.
All photos: Bob Howard. To watch the video or listen to the audio of the program, click here.