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Monday, October 24, 2011

Letter: Why do so many Snellville volunteers support Barbara Bender for mayor?

"It has been my observation that of the hundreds of people who volunteer for city events, an overwhelming number of them support Barbara Bender. In fact, I personally don't know one that doesn't. Is this because they were friends with Barbara then volunteered OR is it because of their unselfish involvement that they have come to know who the true leaders are in this city, the leaders with their eye on moving forward. I think the latter is the case. Hope you can work this into your blog."
Joe Williams

Dear Joe,

That is an interesting question.  It made me think about why I'm more interested in Snellville events myself, and how I first became acquainted with Barbara Bender.

Of course by writing the blog, I became more aware of what was really going on and who the people were who were and are a driving force behind things that are happening in Snellville.  Many of the really positive "movers and shakers" who volunteer at Snellville events have been doing so a long time. Marilyn Swinney and Marcy Pharris are two examples. They've both been active in more important events and committees than I can name. They are both the type of people who will give you any help you need, but aren't the type to brag about it. They don't care who gets the credit, as long as it helps the city. They don't do it for any praise. They're the quiet resourceful types. I admire them so much.

Another Snellville person of note is Dave Emanuel, who I'm sure you know better than I do, since you worked with him on the Snellville Planning Commission. He will begin his first term as city council member on November 14th. Dave works the trash detail at Snellville Days, movie nights at Briscoe, and the Snellville Fall Festivals. He is also a very logical thinker. I can only dream about acquiring such logic (lol). Diane Krause is another former Planning Commission member who will be serving a first term on the council. Diane is also a quiet, thoughtful person who never blows her own horn about her accomplishments. To all these folks I've already mentioned, add in Tom Witts, our city council man. He has hugely improved Snellville's image over the past couple years.

Both Brenda Lee and Genevieve Williams, from Lilburn and Centerville respectively, are active in Snellville events. Brenda worked the busy ticket booth at the most recent Snellville Fall Festival and Genevieve donated $150 so the Snellville Farmers' Market could have a bullhorn for announcements.

So, I think they were already unselfish people. I think they have been here long enough and seen enough to see that Barbara Bender truly cares and contributes at community events. She's done the trash detail -- I've seen her working the festivals as Dave Emanuel and our former mayor and State Representative Brett Harrell can attest. Even our State Representative will grab a broom and a trash bag. So why don't I see Kelly Kautz participating at these events? I really don't know. You'll have to ask her about that.  I wouldn't buy it if she says everybody is teaming up against her.

I don't think all these people, who from everything I've seen are nice folks, would shut her out for no reason. I think they lose respect for someone they don't see working, or someone they see as just making  excuses...but they've seen Barbara Bender fit everything into her busy schedule with grace and style. I think people respect someone they see actually doing something and doing what they promise, and not just talking big about something they were going to do.

I've noticed Barbara Bender to be a leader. A good example first of all is that she has always returned my emails and phone calls. Promptly. Usually the same day. I cannot say the same for the other candidate. I have also had other citizens tell me that Barbara Bender's competition didn't return their emails.  One example I noticed myself of Barbara Bender as a leader is how she is able to identify people for tasks. She noticed I had an interest in helping the local food bank, but I also had connections with the city. So, she asked me if I would like to be the ambassador to the food bank for the city. Of course I wanted to do that, so I said yes. However, with family and other commitments, it turned out to be more of a job than I would be able to do, and I told her I needed to bow out. She understood that, didn't make me feel guilty for not being able to do more.

It was the kind of thing that you don't know how involved it is going to be until you get your feet wet. I wasn't ready for something that required that much time. At the very beginning, she gave me an "out," saying that if I found it was more than I could handle, to just tell her.  There was no fear, there was no guilt trip applied. People really like and will remember people who behave professionally like that.

When there is an ongoing feeling of being able to join in and do what you can without guilt if you can't "do enough," I think people in the community pick up on that and want to be a part of something positive and fun.

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