My very first commission seat was on the Berkeley Youth Commission. I was appointed by Berkeley City Councilmember Kris Worthington and went to a few meetings. I don’t remember much about it. I think I thought it was a waste of time. This was probably 15 years ago.
Today I met with my county supervisor Candace Andersen about my application to the Sustainability Commission alternate seat. As I’ve written previously, I’ve been trying to get on a commission for a while. I don’t want to run for office without some local government experience. I think it’s important. After a wide-ranging conversation she told me she’d like to appoint me to this commission and I re-iterated my interest.
Just a few minutes after I left I received confirmation that I was going to be nominated but would not be officially on the commission until the Board of Supervisors confirmed me.
Today is July 2, 2018. I first met Supervisor Andersen on September 14, 2017 to ask her how to “get into” local politics and government. That’s about 291 days between then and now.
The truth is, this stuff just takes time. Progress usually comes slowly and time is often the best filter to separate those who are serious from those who aren’t. I know this. It’s why I kept applying to commissions and why when I read in the Lamorinda Weekly that the sustainability commission had an alternate seat open in my district, I threw my hat in again.
I also know that persistence alone doesn’t cut it. It’s persistence with the right attitude. It’s showing up. I’m a known entity in Andersen’s universe now. She doesn’t really know me, but I think she trusts me enough to believe that I won’t make her look bad. In a small but still significant way, her reputation is tied to my appointment. If I were impolite, aggressive, or in any way made her uncomfortable, I doubt any amount of persistence would have led to this outcome.
So it’s really a combination of patience and persistence, playing the long game, believing that an opening will come and when it does, you’ll be ready. That’s how I plan to be successful.