Greensboro City Council Tonight: Cool Cities success and Keith Holliday brings the house down

I enjoyed tonight's Greensboro City Council meeting more than any other governing board meeting I've ever been to. And I've been to way too many.

There were two reasons:

1) Meagan Honnold kindly designed some stickers for folks to wear to the meeting to show their support for Greensboro becoming a Cool City. When she asked me how many I thought would be needed for tonight, I said 32 and that's probably more than we need.

Never underestimate the organizational power of Kim Yarbray.

More than 60 people came to the City Council meeting tonight to stand up for Greensboro to sign the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement! And the Council noticed, considerably expediting the pace at which it looked like the process would travel. They will likely make a decision at their August 21st meeting.

Congrats to the Piedmont Plateau Group on an awesome turnout!

2) Then there was the more PG-13 enjoyable aspect of the meeting. Greensboro Mayor Keith Holliday is a pretty straight laced guy. But at the beginning tonight he asked that everyone in the audience who has 'cell phones or vibrators in their pocket' please turn them off.

That brought down the house for a good three or four minutes and turned Holliday's face bright red. It was certainly the funniest faux pas I've ever heard an elected official speak.

The next item on the agenda was to honor some Boy Scouts, and Holliday exhorted them to ignore everything that had just happened, which resulted in everyone bursting out in laughter again.

Good times in Greensboro. Stay tuned for more information on how to help in the next two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. It really was an AMAZING meeting...to see so many of my fellow citizens at a City Council meeting and to hear that Council members received over 100 e-mails this week on this issue...WOW! But what made it happen is the amazingly COOL team of people that comprise the Greensboro Coolsters: Joel Landau who is running for City Council, Gay Cheney a long time educator who spoke last night, Hazel Landers who knows how to put pizazz into a message, Dick Mearns whose ability to think critically always moves the team to a better place, Diane Davis who has been on the political scene in Greensboro for a LONG time...as a Republican no less (a reason to never lose hope because of a label)...and so many others who support and participate from the periphery.

    The most interesting thing to me has been how much of an organizing tool the Cool Cities campaign can really be. Getting sign on is good, but organizing people around the issues BEFORE getting sign on, i think, is better. It is so human for people to want to feel themselves to be part of something larger...last night people did. When the 60+ people stood at one time, there was an energy, there were goosebumps (and not just on my arms - i looked!), there were eyes meeting eyes as so many of the people who stood up looked at each other a little shocked that WE were so many. This is the power, i think, of Cool Cities, or really of any campaign that gives normal folks a platform to imagine a better world to which they are uniquely qualified to contribute. It's so important to get our local governments to take charge and commit to an agreement that reduces green houses gases, but at this time, it is even MORE important that people feel they have a place in the great scheme of change where there is not only a space for them, but also a real need. What an amazing learning experience getting COOL has been!