I just got home from a fund-raiser for Cara Kaser that was held at the south Salem McMenamins.
I'm flying high on visions of what a great city councilor she will be -- and that's not the Terminator Stout talking (well, maybe just a little bit).
The fund-raiser was organized by Scott Bassett, who is known throughout the universe as being McMenamins #1 "Cosmic Tripster."
Since, Bassett has done the Cosmic Tripster thing seven more times, I believe. He's accumulated a lot of McMenamins swag from repeatedly going on the Grand McMenamins Tour.
It was put to good use tonight.
Kaser would draw a slip of paper from a bag that had a phrase like "Library," "caring for the homeless," "downtown," or such on it. The person who had a matching slip then would get to pick a Bassett-provided door prize while Kaser thought about what she wanted to say about the subject.
I enjoyed the short mini-speeches Cara gave during the get-together in a back meeting room. And not only because a Cosmic Tripster t-shirt in my size was still available by the time my slip was drawn.
After I grabbed the t-shirt Kaser riffed on "Union Street Bridge," the words on my slip.
She said this is one of the best things that has happened in Salem recently. Creating the pedestrian bridge between downtown and West Salem showed the power of people coming together to make this town more livable, fun, and economically vibrant.
A resident of the Grant neighborhood, Kaser bikes or walks across the Union Street Bridge to shop in West Salem.
In another mini-speech, she talked about the need to make Salem way more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly. Painting white lines on a busy street and calling it a bike lane doesn't make most people feel safe on a bicycle.
I also liked what Kaser had to say about consensus building. The outcome isn't as important as the process, she told us. Meaning, often people focus on the endpoint of getting everybody to agree on what to do.
However, this will happen naturally if everybody feels like they are being respected, listened to, and taken seriously.
(One of my criticisms of our current Mayor, Anna Peterson, is that she is more concerned with getting unanimous votes in the City Council, than on fostering a climate where both citizens and city councilors discuss issues in an open-minded, transparent fashion.)
Here's her vision for Salem. I agree with all of it.
Cara’s Vision for Salem
Invest in a vibrant and thriving downtown, the historic heart of our community.
Commit to safe sidewalks and streets for pedestrians and bicyclists in every neighborhood.
Build an affordable new police facility that will meet our needs.
Increase public library hours at both locations.
Find a better solution for improving connections between east and west Salem than the proposed 3rd bridge.
Collaborate with the Cherriots Board to improve transit service.
Find innovative ways to house our homeless residents.
“As a community activist, I’ve learned that good things happen when people are invited to participate in their city government.”