30 May 2008

YorkCounts E-Newsletter - May 2008

The YorkCounts E-Newsletter
found on the blog at yorkcounts.org
May 2008

In this issue:

  • From the Chairman: Applauding, congratulating fire merger leaders
  • Q&A: Reed Anderson and Carl Anderson
  • Using the YorkCounts website to take action

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From the Chairman: Applauding, congratulating fire merger leaders

As members Board of Directors of YorkCounts, we'd like to take a moment to congratulate and applaud the professional staffers and volunteers whose hard work has paid off in the formation of York Area United Fire and Rescue.

Although YorkCounts was not a party to the talks, we have watched the developments with great interest and hopes over the years. In fact, Austin Hunt, who was one of the leaders in the effort to study, develop and implement the merger, is a YorkCounts board member and kept us posted on the progress.

We were happy to have hosted talks by regional thinking experts David Rusk, Myron Orfield and Ron Baylor -- as well as open discussions during the Metro-York process -- that Austin says informed his thinking.

Spring Garden Township and Springettsbury Township leaders have accomplished the first merger of paid municipal fire departments in Pennsylvania history, and that is no small accomplishment!

Congratulations to all of those who had a hand in the process and best wishes and good luck to Chief Robert McCoy and the firefighters of York Area United as they serve two of York County's most forward-thinking municipalities. The combined department will surely be a great example of how we are stronger and better in York County when we work together.

-- Eric Menzer, Chairman
YorkCounts Board of Directors

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Q&A: Reed Anderson and Carl Anderson

Along with fellow long-time YorkCounts volunteer Ernie Waters, Reed Anderson stepped down from his seat on the YorkCounts Board of Directors in April. Among new members of the Board is Carl Anderson.

For the YorkCounts 2008 annual report, “Turning Points,” We asked Reed Anderson and Carl Anderson to sit down for a conversation about the past, present and future of YorkCounts – and the leaders who keep it strong.

YC: Reed – talk a bit about the beginnings of YorkCounts. What attracted you to the idea of a quality-of-life coalition?

Reed Anderson: I got a phone call from (fellow YorkCounts founding participant, now Pennsylvania Secretary of Revenue) Tom Wolf. He wanted to meet me, and he was going to have Ernie Waters there too. There was a tremendous amount of fallout (from the 1969 race riots trial). Many people were invested in the issue of, “How can we move beyond this? How can we use what we have learned?” We sort of knew where we wanted to go. We just weren’t sure how to get there. We knew we had to do something that could create a foundation for positive action. I was excited about that. To have someone like Ernie to work with was a godsend.

YC: Carl – same question, in a way: when you arrived back in York, what attracted you to YorkCounts?

Carl Anderson: Having grown up in the area, I remember the time period of which Reed is speaking. I was a teenager in York at the time. To come home to practice law (after working in Cleveland and Harrisburg) is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But the one thing that’s important to me is to give back. When I look at the landscape, it’s very positive, what I see happening in the downtown area… the Northwest Triangle, the stadium project… but to me, there’s still a missing piece of how you really develop the neighborhoods of the York community. This was something I started thinking about… and I felt privileged to be asked to participate in YorkCounts and the Metro-York process. (Metro-York) gave me a very good feeling about where this community is in terms of its business and political leadership.

YC: Could each of you talk a little about the important qualities of community leaders?

Reed Anderson: You can’t have a private agenda when participating in this kind of a process. I was amazed… we never really had to deal with a person or persons who have had a set means of implementation that they tried to force. Patience is one of the critical elements…. Credibility – I think we’ve had very effective community leaders speaking with and for us, and that establishes a credibility for us. And these are the same skills that need to be there to continue the process.

Carl Anderson: I think the important point that Reed makes is credibility. As we embark on implementation, you’re going to have to have people who represent us well in the community, because you’re going to have to have community buy-in….

Reed Anderson: …because there are going to be opposing forces, for whatever reason – philosophical, or sheer misunderstanding. The only way to capture those people is credibility.

Carl Anderson: I think you also have to have a certain open-mindedness. The stakeholders we have to bring into the fold – we have to be able to develop an environment where everyone feels they have the opportunity to provide input. It takes a certain creativity to get those varying interests to move together toward a common goal.

YC: Carl – you’re coming to the Board within a context of present and future leadership. Are you optimistic about your generational cohort in terms of interest in stepping into leading roles?

Carl Anderson: I’m encouraged. I’ve met people… that are very supportive of what we do, who are assuming leadership positions. There is a potential pool of talent that does bring a fresh, progressive perspective. The question is whether or not we can get them committed.

YC: Reed – are you as hopeful?

Reed Anderson: I am optimistic. The continuing need for leadership is on everybody’s radar screen. (What’s new is that) you can’t just lay back and see who surfaces. Whereas before, people sort of worked their way into a process, now there are people… who are talented and want to be asked to be a part of it. We have examples – young professionals and others who are waiting to be asked. There’s a recognition that the orientation phase has to be further refined. It’s an exciting adventure. Not only do people see the excitement – they see the benefits. And they see what will happen if they don’t act.

YC: Finally, Reed – what do you see as YorkCounts’ main accomplishments in its first several years?

Reed Anderson: Number one, the willingness to tackle the big issue, which is – how did we get here and where are we going. The second accomplishment was defining a process that engaged the entire county. Thirdly – that group worked tirelessly to identify what were then, and are now, the critical issues, in order to generate a strategic plan. Fourth, then, (was demonstrating) an ability to incorporate, energize around, endorse these issues.

YC: Any questions for each other?

Carl Anderson: I’m sure I’ll have questions. I am sure that I’ll be calling on Reed from time to time!

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Using the YorkCounts website to take action

One of the most common questions asked of our volunteer leaders and of staff is, “What can I do in support of YorkCounts and YorkCounts ideas?” Many people, of course, participate through YorkCounts committees and task forces; there are a limited number of those and by necessity a limited number of people per committee. However, there are limitless ways to work for a better, stronger York County, and we’ve assembled a list of suggestions at the YorkCounts website.

The “Act” page – www.yorkcounts.org/act – is the depot for this content. YorkCounts supporters are encouraged to bookmark this page and call it up when in search of ideas. The most important part of YorkCounts is you. Use the page to take action in collaboration with YorkCounts or in support of the YorkCounts mission. These are ways you can say, "Count me in."

Some of the things you can do in support of YorkCounts:

  • Write a letter to the editor. Our “Act” page has the right e-mail addresses.
  • Write – or call – your elected officials. Our page has lists of officials’ names and e-mail addresses as well as state legislative district maps.
  • Support the local economy. We have links to York County and Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce member rosters as well as information on locally grown or raised food.
  • Spend time in downtown York and York County. The “Act” page includes links to events calendars.
  • Celebrate York County’s diversity. Learn more about events and programs tied to York County Community Against Racism and the York Jewish Community Center.
  • Be a York County ambassador. We link to a good Daily Record article about what new residents think about and where you can point them to get to know York.
  • Support arts and culture in York County. Our page can get you to the Cultural Alliance, various institutions and an arts calendar.
  • Volunteer. We have links to the United Way’s online Volunteer Center and other tools.
    Participate in your local government. Use our page to connect to your municipality, to learn about running for office or to register to vote.

Remember to bookmark www.yorkcounts.org/act. We’re making York County better… together!

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The YorkCounts E-Newsletter is written by Beau Boughamer. Reach YorkCounts by mail c/o the Center for Community Engagement at York College of Pennsylvania, 605 South George Street, Suite 160, York, PA 17401, by telephone at (717) 815-6430 or by e-mail at yorkcounts@gmail.com. Visit YorkCounts online at yorkcounts.org.