Remembering an inspiration

Jan Metzger, my neighbor and colleague on the WPB commission, died yesterday after a long struggle with cancer. Gin and Michael have shared some of their thoughts on their blog.

I’m proud that we, as commissioners of WPB, created a lasting legacy. We walked into a deeply divided room — which she walked out of as chair! She had faith in planning, urging me along to get the planning process rolling even while other commissioners were skeptical of the whole idea. When it came time to do the major public involvement for our then-in-process WPB plan, I almost felt afraid that whatever we came up with wouldn’t pass muster with her. After all, her passion for community engagement is legendary, and admittedly I sometimes prefer no-muss technocracy to the oft-dirty business of democracy. Yet her experience with leavening planning guided our successful approach.

From that rocky beginning, WPB now has lots of momentum behind numerous aspects of our plan, regardless of the personnel (commissioners, aldermen). Soon I’ll be proud to fulfill my last promise to Jan: to have one of our volunteers go to her favorite city, New Orleans, to accept an award for excellence in public involvement.