New Year, New Look
Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dear Readers,

   We are beginning our 7th year and finishing up our 6th.  It has been unbelievable.  In 2008, don’t be afraid to explore your dreams and fulfill your goals.  Success comes with change.  With change there is resistance but persevere 
   Why is it that we find it hard to uncover change or to change.  Imagine how much more connected people would be if they actually learned how to e-mail.  Now you can send pictures and receive information in a split second.  It seems as though time compacted in a small space.  We have to change along with it.
     Before I get into a long story about the changes that I have seen in my life time, let me tell you about the changes that are happening in 2008.
     My goal is to become more visible to the people in my town, county, state, country and globally.  Yes, that’s my goal.  My goal is also to get you to support my endeavor by telling me about what you want to hear and see.
     We need to work together.  I want to hear about who you want our next mayor to be and why.  From my experience, our current mayor doesn’t listen too well to anyone without a lot of money or a lot of groveling but that may have changed.   I’m a big enough person to know that.  It’s an interesting time in local politics.
      We’ll have two new council persons in office.  I got about a dozen phone calls about my thoughts and opinions about the city council persons.  I liked Bill Matt, I think he is a conscientious person and would have served the Third Ward well.  I like A’Lynne Robinson too.  I’ve not known her for a long time but I do know that she has some ardent supporters and even though there were roadblocks place in her way she was able to plow through them with dignity and grace.
      Eric Hewitt, in the First Ward, I  don’t know him too well.  He didn’t answer any of our questions that we asked the candidates.   When I did see him and asked him about it, he apologized and we were interrupted by someone else.  I moved on.
     We will see how he  does. 
     Harold Leeman is an interesting person.  I wish him luck.  I knew that when Leeman was defeated by Hewitt that there would be a tide of change in the city.  People were starting to think about the local governmental structure and got out to vote.
     As of the printing of this letter, Leeman is fighting Hewitt’s win by a slim margin in court.  Hewitt won by 15 votes!!! 
     The last meeting that I went to at City Hall was a mess.  The meeting was regarding protecting women against violence. One woman spoke about  being stalked, beaten and left for dead.  Leeman’s concern was about keeping control of who controlled the time.  She thought that Leeman was insensitive.  The speakers on violence against women got their time but it was a struggle.  Leeman also tried to bring up Allen Community Center and EVE (domestic violence shelter) and alluded that there were already institutions in place that dealt with the issue of violence against women.  The organizer told him that both groups were invited to the meeting and they both declined.  Allen Street and EVE could have been there and both weren’t what kind of message is that.  MSU Safe Place was there and that is where my dollars are going.  Also the Women’s Center pitched in at a Public Safety meeting.  It is about speaking up folks.  You can say what you want but if you can’t back it up.  Sit down. It was a draining meeting.
     The woman who took the time out of her day to tell her story was so upset that she left and walked home.  It was her first time telling her story and it was an overwhelming one.  She said that she felt disrespected and she will not talk about what happened to her again. 
    I tried to talk to her in the bathroom before she left  and she just cried.  She wanted to know why she was treated like her story didn’t mean much.  I told her that there were people who cared and she was respected for telling her story.   It was a very strange and interesting meeting.  I was very proud of all of the other council members for being there.  
     Councilperson Kathy Dunbar and Councilperson Sandy Allen were absent.  I was told Allen was on vacation.  I don’t know where Dunbar was.  I thought it strange when the organizer started the meeting that key individuals in the Mayor’s office left. 
   I forgot to tell you that the organizer had 8x10 photos of the women who were murdered last year all around the room.  Leeman made her take them off of the table.  It was surreal. 
   Councilperson Derrick Quinney told us a story about his wedding day and how he told his son-in-law the same thing that his father-in-law told him which was basically, if you think about putting your hands on her, bring her back home.  It is something every father and mother should say to the person who is about to marry their child. 
    Wow, it was interesting how when, the talk about the sexual violence concluded, some of the Mayor’s office personnel came back in the room.  I was happy to see someone from the Lansing Police Department there.  Very interesting.  
     All I can say is good luck in 2008 and don’t wait to call your council person if you have a problem.  I found that so far only Carol Wood actually returns phone calls.  I haven’t moved past her because she has been excellent about returning calls and e-mails. 
     Don’t be afraid, if you need any help I will try to find the answer for you.  If I can’t find the answer for you, I will find someone who can. 
     It’s an interesting time for us all and when you are tired you could use a helping hand and some encouragement from someone that you don’t know.  My line is open.  I won’t be able to talk long but I will talk.  Please don’t talk to me about craziness because I will tell you that I don’t have the time.  Ask me an opinion and I will tell you what I think.  If I think different from you that doesn’t mean anything except that you like violet and I like yellow. 
      If you know anyone who has had a heart attack or heart issues who would like to be featured in an upcoming edition, let me know.
      I’m looking forward to working with you in 2008.  If you have any stories that you would like to tell or write, please let me know.


Rina Risper


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