1. Amanda, have you organized any local Dance Walking a la Ben Aaron? If not, check out and and Fun way to get people on Main Street!

    • Amanda Thompson says

      Thanks Hazel! I shared these with my co-workers and yesterday afternoon was a lot more fun around the office. I’m sure we will take it to the streets soon!

  2. Well said, Amanda. It’s dedicated people that ultimately make the difference. Those people will be the ones who care to undertake good planning, write good codes, and watch out for all the important details.

  3. Thanks for the new-to-me concept of ‘yes, if…’
    to switch the conversation from ‘no, because…’

    • Amanda Thompson says

      I wish I could say I invented it, but I didn’t. I’m happy to spread the word though. This philosophy is an important part of the City of Decatur’s employee training.

  4. Paddy Steinschneider says

    Great article. I would like to see the idea evolve to a Primer for Process, in which the necessity of these points are presented succinctly, but in greater detail. I have had the frustration of helping a community do all of the steps correctly in the effort to develop new land use regulations, only to have the approving Village Board allow it to become concealed by technical, wonkiness at the insistence of the Village Attorney, who got paid a lot of money to help transform what the consultants, local Land Use Committee, and more than 500 residents had created in a final form into something that’ “could look more like and ordinance”, in his opinion. “Shall” found their way into the text and paragraphs were rewritten to reverse “yes, if’s” into “No’s”, often without the “because’s.”

    I am now representing clients in that municipality, who were attracted by the new Code to take on adaptive/reuse and infill projects, and suffering the uphill effort to convince the Boards what the Code is really trying to say. Having to revert to “but I do know what that is supposed to mean because I wrote the original provisions in the ordinance” is a bit awkward.

    We need more municipal attorneys to understand that Euclid has evolved. Or maybe find the way that the the attorneys already engage can still “wet their beak, while supporting a process “encouraging those at all levels — elected leadership, city hall, advocates or just engaged residents — to personally invest, claiming a sense of ownership in the process and responsibility for the outcomes.” I don’t know if I could get this community to go through the effort of creating a community based ordinance again, simply because what happened at the end was both insulting and discouraging.

    I won’t embarrass “Cosette” by calling her out, but your comment about Nathan is a bit confusing. If he loses he has to dance in public? The only thing required to get Nathan to dance in public is to start the music playing.

  5. Amanda Thompson says

    Thanks for your comments. I think you perfectly illustrated the “desire to be right” portion of the film with the story of the Village Attorney (cue Villain music here). Processes are just the way people decide to work together and if someone does not feel engaged or prefers a different process then they can definitely derail a project. In our recent zoning update, I invited the City Attorney to participate from Day 1. He was at every meeting with our resident task force and was able to contribute his opinion throughout the process. In the end, he ended up modifying the recommendations slightly, but still felt like he had significant input. Granted, he is a normal, helpful person. It’s hard to manage crazy people. I think it is easy to turn those who disagree with us into villains. I really try to challenge myself to include them in the process in a way that is meaningful to them. This is very hard to do in a short amount of time. However, we are usually faced with two options – we can change or we can expect others to change. So do we need more municipal attorneys who understand that Euclid has evolved or do we need more planners that know how to persuade municipal attorneys? or both?
    As far as Nathan dancing – we are going for a full on choreographed dance number. Our panel would like him to give his best 😉


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