Sunday, October 12, 2008

The power of asking nicely

After reading again Sun Valley Online’s Keefer Park dedication, I discovered something especially inspiring


“Six years ago, Chuck Grubb was at a Hailey Planning and Zoning meeting railing against P&Z and afterward he complained that no one was willing to ask him politely for the land for this park," Becki Keefer recalled with a group of friends at the park dedication Wednesday.

"I was on P&Z at the time and I thought, 'Hey, I can do that!' and that started three years of discussions then-Mayor Brad Siemer and I had with him."

…After reading this, it made me curious to know more about what happened between Chuck Grubb and the City of Hailey. In the spring of ’93, while I briefly worked for the Rec. District, I pointed out to my first supervisor that somebody had vandalized the donated park bench from the Grubb family. They had carved into the redwood with graffiti and mostly broken off the tarnished plaque. The supervisor told me that we might as not bother fixing it, because people would just damage it again. He also said that Mr. Grubb had gone back on his promise to the Woodside community to provide two parks.

Reading what Mr. Grubb said years later, made me think that there was probably more to his side of the story.

A synchronistic thing about this is that I had a friend call me the same morning that I was reading about Becki’s rewarding efforts. My friend told me of a Jonathan Demme documentary film featuring Jimmy Carter during a Camp David peace accord, between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Evidently, the meeting had reached an impasse, but before leaving, President Carter, excused himself to an anteroom and came back with some signed photographs. The photographs were of Carter himself, and he had inscribed personalized hellos to Menachem Begin’s grandsons, including their first names!

Everybody adjourned, but about ten minutes later, President Begin hailed Jimmy Carter back and said that he had changed his mind. The photographic gifts intended for his grandsons, made him think that what we should all be really shooting for is peace for our grandchildren.

This made me think hard about how better off we all would be, if only we could find ourselves asking for favors, with nicer ceremonious manners. I think it something many of us fail to do to a certain extent, but I hope that we can learn better from Becki Keefer’s and Jimmy Carter’s prime leadership examples.

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