I like this dog-walking neighbor.
On my campaign trail, I met him at least 3 times at 3 different places within the neighborhood. He’s a friendly guy and loves to take a very long walk – good for him and his cute pet.
“Hey, I know you, you’re Kabir right?” – He stopped and asked me as I was passing him.
“Yeah, I saw you on the paper, you’re running…”, He explained before I got a chance to speak. It was drizzling and his little dog was getting restless, so we had to end our conversation there after a brief introduction.
The other day, we met again in another part of the neighborhood.
“Can I ask you a question?”, he asked.
“Sure”, I replied.
“Why do you run for the council?” – He asked me with curiosity covered all over his face.
I tried to explain my current involvement with the NCPCA civic association (as its secretary) and expressed my desire to serve the neighborhood in an expanded role
“…No, I mean, like where is the incentive? do you guys make a lot of money?”, he asked me again, seemingly not satisfied by my answer. I liked the frankness in his question.
Unlike many think, the council position is not a fully paid “salaried” position; the *very little* compensation the council members receive from the city is not enough for them to even bring bread to the table. Unless retired, most council members have a full time day job, and this also applies to the Mayoral position. Because of the day-jobs council members need to keep (and also enjoy, as I do), all council meetings happen after work (typically after 7:30pm).
With my many years of humble involvement with the civic activities, I can probably sense the kind of motivation that drives a council candidate to seek the council position. If I can guess it right, it’s the rewarding experience one gets due to the service for his or her community.
Even during the campaign, I had many opportunities to serve many of my neighbors as I talked to them and tried to find ways to meet their needs. They may be as little as getting contact information from the city or the county, or the law enforcement, but at the end, it felt great when I heard them saying even a simple “Thank you”.
Starting from the city’s council position to the nation’s presidential position, I guess this is the kind of self-satisfaction that has been driving our citizens to seek for higher offices.