There are two Josh Davis who live in East Lawrence (maybe more). This post was written by me (I live on New York street; my picture on Twitter profile), not the Josh Davis who is past president of ELNA and currently on the board. He mentioned that there was confusion on my last blog post, so just wanted to clarify upfront.

The Monday, November 2nd East Lawrence Neighborhood Association election has gotten a considerable about of interest, news coverage and resulting discussion. I view this as a win across the board.  East Lawrence has always been a politically active neighborhood and the opportunity to generate discussion and get people to ELNA meetings, making them aware of what ELNA does, is a win on its own.

While some emphasis has been placed on East Ninth street project, I view that as more a catalyst than the primary issue. Many people have expressed frustration that recent ELNA boards have not been inclusive to new comers, but when you feel like you are defending a neighborhood, that can be understandable. East Ninth provided a high-profile project where some personal frustration of the lack of representation came to the forefront in some people’s minds, but that one issue itself isn’t the primary concern.

On a spectrum of minimal change, status quo and keep out of my neighborhood, most of the candidates I have talked to fit in the minimal change. Some want a little more consideration of what they view as positive projects, some only want change that is generated by certain neighborhood groups, and some want a careful consideration of more amenities. These are not diametrically opposed views but rather fit fairly tight on a spectrum.

My own current vote includes a mix of new candidates and the existing board. The current board obviously has experience working with ELNA as well as with many community and civic groups. The new candidates are not slouches.  They include representation on dozens of boards including city advisory boards, local non-profits, neighborhood non-profits, as well as involvement with ELNA. It should be noted that if new people didn’t commit to run at the October meeting, that we actually would have had one of the smallest ELNA boards in years.

The ELNA mission statement puts an emphasis on communication which is certainly an issue in this election, but it also allows for “enhancing living conditions”. Many candidates have indicated that they would like to be involved in more proactive projects that address affordable housing, resident care (for all ages) and art. If we can continue to build on the success of ELNA by adding in more people who want to be proactive about projects, I view this election as a win for our community regardless of the specific board composition.

I hope to see you on Monday night.

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