Feb 3, 2018
In 2014, with support from women and men of all ages, Brigette Mansell launched a low budget campaign for Healdsburg City Council and was elected. As reasons, supporters cite Mansell’s modest but energetic personality, her ongoing work with young people, her will to represent all residents, and her concern for the wider world, together allowing her to compete and win over well-known, better-financed candidates.
Brigette Mansell’s interest in running for city council began after she received a questionnaire from a citizen’s group (HCSS), about some difficult community issues. That postcard was an aha! moment, suggesting to her that we can solve local issues by listening to our community.
This year Brigette Mansell is Mayor of Healdsburg. Though “tradition” may impose the lingering belief that women are not tough enough, ambitious enough, or even available, for a tough job like mayor, it would be a mistake for anyone to underestimate this strong-willed, well-spoken, intelligent career school teacher.
Ms. Mansell – or, Brigette – says she wants to “bridge the gap and improve and encourage communication among Healdsburg citizenry and government.” Her city council votes will continue to reflect her commitment to “maintain the small town character and good quality of life for our townspeople,” and to “create well-planned, affordable worker housing for our 20 to 30 year-olds, and our middle class working folks/families, using innovative, sustainable, green building practices.” Mayor Mansell is committed to the principle that “local desires must be given more weight than business opportunities.”
Ask Mayor Mansell what YOU can do to help realize these goals. Email Brigette Mansell: firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 4th, Healdsburg became one of a handful of cities across the U.S. awarded a 2018 Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT), part of an American Institute of Architects (AIA)program to help communities develop a vision for a sustainable future, and create a realistic and attainable roadmap to get there. Healdsburg expects the assessment to take place in the summer of 2018.
Next step, the preliminary visit: After the AIA chooses a team leader who they believe to be the best fit to coordinate the expertise of Healdsburg’s SDAT Assessment team, they will schedule a preliminary visit with the team leader and 2 staff members to get a feel for Healdsburg and listen and learn from the community about what is important to us.
Healdsburg‘s responsibility is to identify topics of community interest, e.g., housing, diverse economy, tourism, etc., then gather people representing a spectrum of viewpoints to talk with our three guests. Broad participation and open dialogue ending in a shared sense across the whole community including local government is the aim. The AIA emphasizes the importance of engaged elected officials; they are stakeholders too.
Based upon this preliminary visit, the AIA will assemble a team of 8-10 members for Healdsburg‘s specific needs. Team members from a range of disciplines provide customized technical expertise, including Spanish language skills. The goal is objectivity, credibility, a holistic approach focused on the future, versus a fragmented, topic-based approach.
What can SDAT deliver? SDAT team volunteers take time away from their families without pay because they want to be part of something successful. Even more than their technical guidance, they believe developing community cohesiveness – e.g., people from various points of view seeing how they fit into the picture – is the biggest SDAT opportunity. Ensuring sustainability includes building partnerships that don’t exist today.
How does this process achieve win-win? Rather than starting the conversation with the most controversial topics, the SDAT team asks “Who are you as a community? What are your shared values?“ The short, intense, three-day participatory dialogue forces the team and the community to identify key strategic priorities – especially those that are achievable over time. When everyone agrees on a clear strategic direction, city government implementation is more efficient, and elected officials gain real popular support. This is the path to a sustainable and thriving community.
Next month: opportunities to be involved through SDAT’s new website.
Please support our sponsors:
Call 855-483-3732 to find out about Folding, Cargo & Electric Bikes. Perfect for a SMART Train Ride!
Sonoma County Bike Shops and Groups. Find LOCALLY-OWNED Bicycle Shops for NEW, Used and Rental Bicycles as well as REPAIR. Look for a bike-riding group that suits your needs and style.
Please use the Gazette's Guide to find LOCALLY-OWNED Garden Businesses to support Sonoma County's environmental and economic health and vitality.