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March 05, 2020


Peter Garrison

Small government serving the people by protecting them, fixing potholes, and keeping the place clean and pretty. Citizen-politicians who serve for a term or two and hand the duty to others elected by those they serve.


If only this was more the approach:

The best (municipal) investments – the ones with the highest financial rate of return – address a real and urgent need experienced by a human. Consider this simple 4 step approach:

1. Humbly observe where people in the community struggle.
2. Ask the question: What is the next smallest thing we can do right now to address that struggle?
3. Do that thing. Do it right now.
4. Repeat.

The key to the first step is humility. Emptying our minds of as many pre-conceived notions about the problems and solutions in a place as possible, we humble ourselves to observe as a proxy for lived experience. We are trying to understand, from the perspective of those who struggle to use the city as it has been built, where the struggles are. A great way to observe is to walk with someone – literally treading the path with them – to understand how they struggle.” - Chuck Marohn


Thanks, MV. I had not heard of Chuck Marohn before. Readers can check him out at https://www.strongtowns.org/staff.

On a similar note, I was talking to an old friend from Virginia over the weekend and the topic of legislative overreach came up. He noted that in Virginia it is someone moderated by the fact that the Virginia state legislature only meets for 45 DAYS A YEAR and only EVERY OTHER YEAR. We could really empty out Sacramento is we went that way. Should we also cut city council meetings to one every other month? :-)

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