Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Ever Happened to Igho?

Igho Herbert, former Development Coordinator for the West Ward 
Neighborhood Partnership's Urban Ecology Program
has published a book about his work.

Posted by: Noel Jones

About a year after being hired by the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership (WWNP) to lead their Urban Ecology Program's initiative to organize the West Ward into "cantons," Igho Herbert seemed to disappear. Equally strange, another coordinator was not hired to replace him to run the canton program, and momentum for the program withered. Cantons are a Swiss model for organizing smaller neighborhoods within a larger neighborhood, where each canton has a representative that relays concerns and citizen-driven initiatives to a larger representative body. Igho Herbert, originally of Nigeria, but more recently hailing from Houston, TX, had been hired for his expertise in poverty-reduction and community development after a headhunting search by the nonprofit, but would leave without explanation from either the WWNP or Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV), the WWNP's parent nonprofit. This mysterious disappearance and lack of explanation upset many neighborhood residents who had engaged in the canton process, and impacted resident faith that the program would succeed. Over the last year, canton activity has fallen away completely. 

Esther Guzman, the new manager for the the WWNP, has been tasked with reviving the program. She has a passion for engaging with neighbors on a personal basis, listening to their ideas and promoting ideas that residents have to offer about revitalizing their community. But residents every once in a while still ask me--what every happened to Igho?

Well, Igho has been busy back in Houston, writing his first book, Poverty from the Pulpit, published by AuthorHouse, which can be ordered at and on I spoke with Igho on the phone and asked him a few questions about his ongoing work to alleviate poverty, as well as his new book:

Q: Congratulations on your new book! Aside from writing the book, obviously, what have you been doing since you left Easton?

A: I've been involved in neighborhoood organizing with five main partners: two churches in my neighborhood, the residents of the neighborhood itself, the school district and a statewide health provider. We work together to alleviate poverty in West Houston by bringing immunization programs to the neighborhood, enrolling people into health insurance programs like Medicaid, as well as social services like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, etc.

Q: Why did you leave the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership just one year after starting as the coordinator?

A: I was asked to leave because my style and ideas ruffled some feathers. I may have stepped on some toes. I also believe that the depths to which we were taking the community organizing threatened some vested interests.

Q: What ideas caused the most trouble?

A: Engaging the community in a bottom-up approach, giving residents ownership of the process. That wasn't what the partnership had in mind--I think they would have approved if I had had a more top-down approach. They anticipated that I would be telling people what to do, rather than encouraging them to contribute and pursue their own ideas for revitalizing their neighborhood. In fairness to some of my superiors, the canton-organizing approach was new to them. They did not, in my view, sufficiently understand what the process is about, or the depths of community engagement involved. When I tried to propose leadership training, green  jobs training, and grant-writing workshops, programs that would give residents more control, they thought I was going to far--that those were roles for the organization, not for the residents of the neighborhood. There was also pressure from partners outside of the nonprofit, who felt the Urban Ecology Program was their pet idea, and that I was to be an instrument of their devising, rather than the Development Coordinator--the job that I understood I was hired to do, based on my past success in the field. Because these outside partners had the ear of the powers-that-be, they were able to orchestrate my departure from the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership. 

Q: Were you sad to go?

A: Yes and no. Easton has a piece of my heart--it had, within a short time, become a home to me. Residents were responding to what we were doing. We were picking up steam and approaching the point where the process could run on its own--which is the ultimate goal of the canton system--autonomy. But my daughter was having difficulty adjusting to Easton--most of her friends in Easton were adults, and she missed her friends back home.

Q: A lot of us remember your daughter Orue--how is she doing, and is she in the book?

A: She is doing okay--she just took her SATs. She's is not featured in the book because it was focused on faith and my work in the field of poverty issues.

Q: How would you describe for people what the book is about?

A: It talks about addressing poverty in a social setting, in this case, I am focusing on faith-based environments. I discuss the activities that go on in such places that lead people to poverty, or keep them poor, rather than helping them be self-sufficient.

Q: That will be a surprise to many, because most people think of churches as charitable organizations that help the poor, right?

A: Yes, that is true. But when a church does not perform that role, and instead causes people to become poor, or remain poor, then there is a big problem there.

Q: Does Easton make an appearance in your book?

A: No, because the book was almost finished before I moved to Easton. But I am working on a another book based on my work experiences, and Easton figures prominently in several chapters in that book.

Q: I'm sure at this time of year, living in Texas, you do not miss the weather here, but is there anything you do miss about Easton?

A: Actually it's cold right now in Houston--as cold as Easton, but hopefully we'll be returning to more normal weather soon. One thing I miss about Easton is that fact that I could walk to work--it's such a walkable city and it felt good to know that I had such a small carbon footprint. In Houston, I have to drive every where.

Q: Is there any message you would like to send to the West Ward residents that you met here?

A: I would tell them that have been following what has been going on in the West Ward since I left, through the Neighbors of Easton blog, and I am encouraged by what I have been reading. I would say--keep going--don't let your progress get derailed by anyone.

Q: What's next for you? Will you be doing a book tour, and if so, is Easton on the list?

A: We are still working out the details of the book tour, but I would like to include Easton on the tour as a homecoming for myself and my daughter, and to see the West Ward residents again--to talk to them about how they are doing--how far they've come with what we started--and to ask what successful ideas they have lent the process that could be replicated elsewhere. Every community development professional should view the process as incomplete if they have not learned something new that was contributed by the residents themselves.
It will be interesting to see how the canton program, which initially enjoyed a great turnout in the neighborhood, progresses under Esther Guzman's direction. She seems to share a similar conviction that the best ideas come from the people of the neighborhood themselves. Perhaps there is hope that the program will get up an running this time--which--as Igho says--ultimately means up and running on its own.

Igho's book is available to order on and at (AuthorHouse is cheaper).


David Caines said...

Ughh. he was rude, over complicated and just not right for the area. He regularly had people waiting to speak with time commitments and help them way past the times he'd agreed to. Honestly we were among the first to ask for his dismissal. I won't be reading the book. He accomplished nothing here, and was far more of a hinderance to the effort than a help.

noel jones said...

David, if you did not like his style, that's fine, but in fairness to Igho, you cannot take a neighborhood program like the canton program from inception to full autonomy overnight--that's why it's a five-year program. it takes time to build relationships in an isolated community, where a lot of neighbors do not know even each other, even on their own block. A lot of residents liked Igho, and were disappointed when he left. Some felt funny doing ice-breaking exercises and such, but then admitted that they new a lot more of their neighbors afterward.

But most importantly, when it comes to the initiatives he was trying to put forward--initiatives suggested to him by residents--such as the green jobs training, or teaching residents how to write their own grants, or encouraging people to organize and approach their various branches of government to accomplish improvements for the neighborhood, he was right on.

The point of the canton system is supposed to be community building and organizing the neighborhood in a way that residents can accomplish objectives together on their own, without the help of any other entities.

Hopefully Esther will be able to get it going in a true bottom-up fashion. She is truly reaching out to the neighborhood, and I think if anyone can do it, she can.

David Caines said...

Personally I liked him well enough but politically he was horrible. Every meeting went over it's time allotment with basically nothing accomplished. Each meeting new people came witnessed what was happening and never came back. He and he alone was the reason we eventually left the project and we are prepared to give it a chance under new leadership. I had no expectations that he was super man. But he lacked basic skills and planning ability when it came to working in meetings, either that or he just didn't have a care for the time constraints of others. I'm glad he's gone, he was a detriment. Hopefully the project can move forward under leadership with even rudimentary social and planning skills.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with David, he was brought in like the one to rescue the WW and he had little experience. I for one amn glad to see that the WWNP hired Dennis Leib. I also understand that before he waqs hired they went toi the mayor and he approved and agreed that Dennis has a lot to offder

Nikkita said...

Dennis isn't taking over Igho's job. He is working on things that have nothing to do with the Urban Ecology Grant..He told me that specifically.

I think a Lot of people didn't like Igho because he didn't take bullshit from people who have been here longer and demanded to have things done their way.

I personally liked Igho. I didn't like it when he tried to initiate projects (like the grocery store) that seemed to be a WWNP initiateve and not necessarily a Neighbor initiative...but I can see now why he was putting the suggestion in our ears.

I also agree with Noel, that in order for a neighbors to work together there has to be respect and trust and that is only obtained when you get to know each other. In the beginning I didn't understand why we were spending so much time with all the ice breakers but by the end of the training I knew basically everyone's names.

And to say that Igho has no experience just shows how little you know...Ignorance is bliss and I know that most people don't want progress unless it comes the way they approve..but that isn't true progress if only the people at the top get to make all the decisions as to where Easton's just dictator in another color!

noel jones said...

I think that elitists are often well-meaning people, and can only envision a top-down approach, because they look at a poor neighborhood and think, "if these people WERE able to come up with their own initiatives, they would have done it by now, so clearly they NEED US to TELL them want they need, what they should do, and what they should think is important."

And then there is the obstacle of nonprofits not wanting to damage their relationships with politicians and municipalities...

So, when neighbors attend a meeting and an organization goes through the motions of asking what the residents want, and they say, "better code enforcement! less crime! less litter in the streets! more stop signs to slow traffic so children don't get hit!" there can be a tendency to worry that those things would cause friction with the city, and so the answer is, "no...what i think you REALLY want is more trees, or to learn how to be a river monitor, or to build an ecopark, more community gardens, some landscaping on Northampton." These are all lovely things, but not top issues on residents minds at meeting after meeting.

To date, the only tangible results of the canton program in two years are two community gardens, and The West Word. Which is great, but there should be way more of the initiatives that citizens proposed to have made it by now.

Aside from the canton program, I think the best thing that the WWNP offers is sidewalk repair (which the entire neighborhood desperately needs), the facade grants, and the weatherization program, which is terrific--I just wish it wasn't defined so that those of lower-middle-class incomes cannot apply, when landlords of low-income tenants can.

Thankfully, Esther is not an elitist, and I feel optimistic that she is going to turn the WWNP ship around and make the canton program what it is meant to be--an autonomous vehicle through which a neighborhood can self-organize and achieve citizen-driven initiatives.

And I agree with Anon 8:55--finally hiring Dennis Lieb was a very smart move--we can look forward to some well-planned projects going forward--once Northampton is fixed.

The fact that Esther was inspired to want to hire Dennis just makes me respect Esther all the more--she knows talent, knowledge and commitment to a cause when she meets it, is not threatened by it and wants it on her team. That's good management.

David Caines said...

Wow, curious how "Elitist" got brought into things, but it's hard to have a conversation in America any more without someone throwing in a derogatory thrown in so at least we now have ours. A bottom up democratic effort has value, but not the way it was run. Oddly Igho had great references and experience and I can't for the life of me figure out how that could be when he was utterly unprepared for the work. We kept going to canton meetings for quite some time even after our general feeling became one of "Just get us the hell out of here already" because we supported the concept. It finally just became too much of a waste of time. As to the great mystery of Igho being let go, it's simply, he was incapable of the work for which he was hired. He was given time, and he failed in all respects. Like most I felt a bit bad for him, and so I haven't voiced these sentiments in public before. But he was utterly unprepared for the work. He couldn't start and Finnish a simple presentation (even wit a lap top and power point), he was incapable of reading a crowd, he lacked empathy and any sense of any being around him and their needs except his own and that of his ideology. Perhaps he was simply too committed to the task, but in the end that doesn't excuse the failings. Perhaps he had personal issues at the time...what truly scares me is that he managed to make it to that age in his life with great references without anyone realizing he was utterly ill prepared for the work.
It's frightening that perhaps our standards have fallen that low as a nation.
Anyhow, yeah, I felt bad for the guy so I didn't remark on the last many posts about him because it's somewhat rude to kick a person when they're down. But he was horrible and maybe if someone had told him that he could have measured up to the task.

noel jones said...

"top-down" approaches are often referred to as "elitist" approaches--it's the belief that good ideas are to be administered from the agency on high to people in lower-income neighborhoods, rather a bottom-up approach in which the point is to listen and support the ideas coming from the residents themselves. the reason that top-down approaches usually fail, is that residents rarely invest themselves in ideas that aren't theirs--especially when they've been asked for ideas and then had their ideas dismissed and replaced with an agency's ideas of what's best for the neighborhood.

Steve White said...

I found Igho delightful in many ways and a bit frustrating in some matters of style. He certainly wasn't a complete incompetent nor do I think he was transferred back to Texas because he was scaring the power structure. The important point is that the neighborhood organizing was valuable and we need to get back to it. If the program is supposed to be bottom-up decision making then it is our responsibility to insist on that no matter who is the staff person organizing it. -- Steve White

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

I also liked Igho and believe that he has a special talent for communtiy building. He recognized that human resources are key to community development. So he spent a lot of meeting time on neighbors getting to know neighbors, trust building, and the like. I thought his leadership was very effective. Many were frustrated that "work" did not get done at the meetings, but the purpose of the meetings was not to do "work," it was to rally the neighborhood to form cantons and work within that system to execute change.

Whether you liked Igho's leadership style or not, the shame is that we have to ask "What ever happened to Igho?" After the community bought into the canton system and spent numerous hours working to make the system work, it was totally insensitive and disrespectful to the community to not communicate any justification whatsoever for Igho's dismissal. By maintaining stony silence about the reasons for Igho's departure, the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership lost credibility in my eyes and is solely responsible for pulling the rug out from under the promising Canton system.

noel jones said...

Good point, Julie. I think that Esther and Dennis are going to bring a new level of accountability to the WWNP. That's really important in terms of inspiring resident trust and engagement.

I really think some good things are ahead right around the corner for our neighborhood. Spring will be interesting.

noel jones said...

A message from Alan Jennings, Director of CACLV:

"OK, folks, I'm not much of a computer-savvy person and I rarely comment on blogs, but some of the things being written here are just ridiculous.

First, of course we couldn't comment on Igho's departure - if we did, we'd be sued at great expense to the agency, meaning the community.

Second, it is absolutely comical to suggest that we are "elitists," "vested interests" or afraid of grassroots power. Anyone who has paid any attention over the years knows that CACLV is usually the lone voice challenging the power structure. We have done it over and over and over again, taking on slumlords, predatory lenders, banks, politicians, insurance companies and on and on. Unlike any other non-profit, we have frequently put our funding at risk in the process.

We would like nothing more than to have thousands of angry neighborhood residents fighting back. Every one of our boards, steering committees and advisory boards includes people who are lower-income and/or live in our neighborhoods. And we'd love to have more.

Please know that we are not satisfied with our work and may never be. But just look at some of the results:

more than 70 sidewalks replaced

every dead tree stump removed

hundreds of new trees planted

50 residential facades improved

a teen center created

streetscaped 600 block of Northampton Street (still not complete, though)

community and back-yard gardens

a feasibility study on creating a new riverside park

several murals and/or mosaics

about 10 new business signs

about 8 houses in the queue for green rehab

over 100 homes in queue for weatherization

West Word

installed more than 15 decorative trash receptacles

There are many more things (water quality monitoring, neighborhood-wide tree inventory, as additional examples)

And, there are more proposals for funding we are pursuing at every opportunity we can identify; some will be funded, some will not. But we're trying hard, bringing millions in new funds to the neighborhood and getting things done.

We would love to have all hands on deck, including yours, Noel. I am publicly extending yet another invitation to you to join us in the fight.

Please, let's work together for the common good instead of having these fruitless debates.


P.S. Thanks, David, for speaking up."

noel jones said...

Alan--thanks for commenting. I trust you are not suggesting that I have not volunteered enough hours for the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership in the last four years. If promoting various aspects of the urban ecology program for years on the blog, walking around with Lafayette students doing resident surveys, helping to build two community gardens, and months dedicated to The West Word aren't enough volunteer hours for you, then I fear that I and other residents will never give enough free time on top of the other work we do to earn your appreciation.

As for the "elitism," Igho cited a top-down approach, and I was explaining, since David seemed confused as to why the term was used, that top-down approaches are usually seen as synonymous with elitism, even where it's well-meaning elitism. If residents have been told that their ideas are important and that their initiatives are going to be supported, and then when they express those ideas (lobbying for more community policing, code enforcement on slumlords, etc.), they are dismissed and told that they should really want other things, no one can be surprised when resident engagement falls away.

Elitism has nothing to do with not fighting for the poor, in fact it often comes hand in hand with the notion of "saving the poor" and thinking that poor people are too ignorant to have good ideas on their own. As I'm sure you know, this is a very hot topic now among talking heads of the social services field, and the cutting-edge philosophies coming out of Boston especially are based around the idea that low-income residents know best what they need and often have extensive social networks of their own and informal economies in place that can be supported and activated, rather than trying to convince them that they need to follow a model developed by well-meaning academics and social service programs, or that they shouldn't fight for what they really want and need.

When the WWNP refused to support the residents desire for a street-cleaning program in the neighborhood, the residents got together on their own and pursued it with the mayor and city officials until it came to fruition. The WWNP could have helped on that fight, but CACLV wouldn't touch it.

I do believe you when you say that CACLV has fought many battles with banks for low-income neighborhoods. But when that is true, I can't for the life of me understand why CACLV can't get behind residents when they say that they want code enforced more effectively on slumlords? This has been a consistent ask from the neighborhood and the very thing that would cure blight and improper packaging of garbage, and for some reason the WWNP won't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

And I have said it before, and I will say it again--claiming to want lots of residents on steering committees and subcommittees and then refusing to hold them in the evening when working residents can attend, so as to accommodate the schedules of city officials and financial partners, only drives home the sense that the program is not really for the residents, but for everyone benefitting financially from the program, either in salaries, grant money, or tax write-offs.

If the partners really wanted more residents involved, these meetings would be held in the evening. Otherwise you're excluding every single working resident in the West Ward, while at the same time criticizing them for not being more involved.

Don't get me wrong--I love to see the canton program thrive and do what it's supposed to do--support citizen-driven initiatives through fruition and self-sufficiency. But it will take a serious restructuring of the urban ecology program for that to happen.

I have great faith in Esther, Dennis and Sophia, and feel optimistic about programming for next year.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

I still think it was incumbent on the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership to make some kind of statement to the community about Igho's departure. And that could have been done without exposing itself to legal jeopardy. Something general like "we appreciate the work Igho has done thus far but we are moving in a new direction."

Instead, the community received an out-of-the blue email from Igho stating that he had already departed for Houston, and complete silence from the WWNP. Seemed cold, mysterious, and dysfuntional, and as I said, disrespectful to those who had invested time and energy into the canton system.

noel jones said...

Another message from Alan Jennings, Director of CACLV:

"Are you willing to post another one for me? Here goes:

Geez, Noel, I don't get the wrath. And I really don't appreciate you continuing to twist things the way you do; you're better at that than some of the folks who just won the elections.

First, we hired Esther, Sophia and Dennis, so thanks for complimenting us for our more recent hiring decisions.

Second, I am happy to have evening meetings - not once have I argued against them once the residents started asking for them.

Third, it is flat-out not true to suggest that we squashed campaigns against slum landlords; if any of our past staff did, I didn't know about it. Easton's apartment licensing ordinance is modeled after Allentown's - a campaign we played a major role in running, including organizing a "slum tour" that infuriated city hall at the time. We also passed some state legislation that was conceived by CACLV.

Fourth, the hot topic you reference has been a CACLV principle for years. Feel free to read our Values Statement prominently posted at

Fifth, we never refused to support the street-cleaning proposal. Mike Fleck and I have been friends and allies for years. Ask him if we opposed it.

Sixth, of course we appreciate your volunteer work. But why complain about decisions and not serve on the committee guiding the group?

One more time: please stop deliberately misrepresenting us. Seems we'd get much more done if we didn't waste our energy on internecine warfare.


noel jones said...


No “wrath” here. You’re mistaking a resident disagreeing with you and being disappointed in the canton program for “wrath.” CACLV does not inspire any response so passionate as “wrath.”

Correction: I should have said “cutting-edge philosophies coming out of Boston and the Bay Area.” I attended a webinar back in July on poverty alleviation offered by Lafayette College, in which Maurice Miller, of the Bay Area in CA, was reporting on findings from The Family Independence Initiative , which he founded. The particular projects he was reporting on were launched in 2001 in San Francisco and in 2009 in Boston. Judith Kurland, Chief of Programs and Partnerships for the City of Boston and Julie Boatwright Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy for The Harvard Kennedy School were co-hosting the webinar. On their web site, the overview of the FII approach outlines the resistance from more traditional social service organizations who favor a top-down approach, rather than the bottom-up approach of FII. I’m not sure how you feel comfortable claiming that CACLV/WWNP has been using such methods all along. If you have, it hasn’t been in Easton, but then you seem to have a bit of a disconnect with what’s been going on in Easton if you are criticizing me for not “getting involved” when I have been dedicating volunteer time in larges doses to the WWNP for the last four years. From your comments, it would seem that volunteer hours only count to you if they are where you can see them—on the steering committee, at a time suitable to you, the financial partners and city officials that the committee is made up of, in addition to a few of residents that have flexible schedules. You also seem to be asserting that any other contributions I make to the community (like the blog) do not count. I beg to differ.

The blog is my contribution to the community—it is my “getting involved” and it is a worthwhile offering as evidenced by the fact that according to Google Analytics the blog is now getting almost 3,000 visits and 5,000 pageviews per month, and is currently read in 28 countries and 38 states (the highest readership being PA/NJ/NY/DC in that order). I have spent hours each day for the last two years building this for the community, and have managed to volunteer on all the projects I mentioned before for the WWNP on top of that. If that doesn’t count to you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree, but I have already defined the amount of time that I spend on the community, and I have no desire to sit on a steering committee for citizen-driven initiatives that is held during the day when most working residents can’t attend. For you to say that no one has ever requested that WWNP meetings involving residents happen in the evening unfortunately shows a complete disconnect—many residents have made this request consistently from the inception of the Urban Ecology Program and I have posted about these requests as well. As for claiming not to be opposed to supporting resident desire for a street-cleaning program—I would invite you to demonstrate where CACLV/WWNP ever did support that request. The request was made at canton meetings, town hall meetings, in person and in writing by several residents. I have also blogged more than once about the timing of meetings and the street-sweeping program.

Interestingly, the City of Easton has proven itself more receptive to these conversations than CACLV, as evidenced by Mayor Panto's initiative of the street sweeping program.

You can continue to make these assertions that demonstrate your disconnect with the West Ward community CACLV claims to serve, or you can see the value of the exchange as an opportunity to see where the canton program has failed and how it might succeed in the future.

But to get upset with a blogger because of a word-for-word interview with the author of a new book, doesn’t make a lot of sense. The blog is an equal opportunity to express all sides of an issue. Igho expressed his side in an interview, and you have expressed your side in your comments.

noel jones said...

For anyone interested, here's the link to the page on The Family Independence Initiative web site that describes the bottom-up strategy having success in four different communities in three states. It's pretty cool--based on families pulling together other families in their own activated social network, and supporting their initiatives for change, rather than taking applicants one person or family at a time in isolation and steering them toward the initiatives of the agency:

Alan Raisman said...


I love that this blog is being read in 28 countries and 38 states, but is it possible to find out how many of the 3,000 visits and 5,000 pageviews per month were from Easton IP addresses?

If those numbers are low, and even if they are not, can every Easton-area blog reader please reach out to a friend or family member and get them to increase the count of Easton-area residents reading this blog?

Thank you,

Alan Raisman

noel jones said...

Thanks, Alan (Raisman)--I just looked up the analytics for the past month, and the top areas in PA and number of "absolute unique visitors" is:

Easton: 815
Allentown: 462
Bethlehem: 369

Phildelphia is 5th and Harrisburg is 16th on the list.

it's interesting that Allentown has more readers than Bethlehem...i expected the opposite level of interest, just because of the geography...

and yes, i would love it if everyone mailed a link to the blog to five people in the area! the more voices/perspectives in the conversations the better--this is how we learn from each other!

Anonymous said...

David Caines and the anonymous post had some very scathing remarks about Igho. That's very surprising in some ways. I do recall that Igho often said to everyone that the process belonged to the residents not him or Gary, Sophia or the WWNP. If Igho was not moving us to the place we needed to be fast enough or was incompetent, why did you guys not speak up?
On another level, Alan is claiming credit for two community gardens and WEST WORD. these all came out of the work of incompetent Igho! While Alan Jennings gladly praised Caines for his support he forgot to give credit where it is due.
For Caines education, canton democratic organizing is very different from American democratic organizing. For the former, success is measured by how much social capital is built to sustain the emerging democracy. Social capital is not built overnight or at the drop of the hat. It is organic and it evolves from seemingly stupid ideas.
In all of this what saddens me is the fact that once Igho left the whole neighborhood organizing fell flat on its face. Even Tom Jones who was hired to replace Igho could not hold one single canton meeting!In Igho's time we had the general cantons' meetings and then individual cantons.We were making progress. Modest progress. Small progress but it was progress. Can we get back together and see if we can make those modest progress come back together?
This is very important: at the end of the day, it's our WW not Igho's or Alan's. It belongs to us and we are the important stakeholders here as Igho always reminded us.
One more thing, after all vitroilic posts here, we need some icebreakers to get us on a good footing for our next meeting.
And on a personal note to Caines, just becuase you hate the man does not mean his message sucks! If you have that kind of mentality, you won't be any better than our politicians in DC. Let's come together and move our neighborhood forward.Bring out the stupid ideas and the very sensible ideas. We need all ideas to move forward. Aluta Continua! Victoria acerta!

noel jones said...

Anon 11:59--thanks for posting--you make good points. although some of the comments posted here seem negative (mine included, as i am not as zen as i would like to be when i feel someone is misrepresenting what i do, or what has been done in the neighborhood) i really do believe that we are at a great turning point with the WWNP and the revitalization of the neighborhood. alan jennings, too, is just getting upset because he feels represented by igho's interview, and we are not always at our prettiest when we feel we are being misrepresented. but it's important to note that this is all part of creating a forum for conversation, brainstorming and debate, with the revitalization of the neighborhood in mind, and that people can disagree without the sky falling. comments can be passionate here, but do not get nearly as ugly as they do on other on line forums in the area--if they do, i will reluctantly delete them, but that is rarely necessary, and in this case, while i wish that people would not feel the need to post more than once to disparage someone, it all part of the public discussion that helps us figure out as a community what works and what doesn't for us.

we've got a great new team at the WWNP right now: Esther Guzman, Dennis Lieb and Sophia Feller--all three are West Ward residents and advocates of a bottom-up approach, who sincerely value public input and feedback and want to put forward citizen-driven initiatives, so while there will be an initial phase, i'm sure, of cleaning up and bringing order to what's there, the future of the org and its participation in the neighborhood are looking very positive.

Ms. Darius said...

Praise God!!! Brother IGHO has come to Manassas, VA to share his calling of grace and redemption with us, amen! My soul has been lifted to new heights and I have been TRANSFORMED COMPLETELY by the power of JESUS CHRIST. He has been just what was needed for this ailing community of ours. He has been JUST WHAT the DOCTOR ordered.
I have been particularly impressed the the VIRTUOUS TEENS program ("V-TEENS"), which I feel has GREATLY benefited my neighborhood. My daughter, ORTALANI, needed some guidance in her life and by the grace of the one true God she found it in this program. I witnessed some DISTURBING behaviors and attitudes towards young men in her previously, but thanks to Igho, the DEMONS of promiscuity and DEVILS of SEDUCTION have been lifted off her heart and SOUL.
The Chapel of His Glory has become a second home to me and my Ortalani, and it is my hope that I will be able to find her a godly man amongst the congregation, rather than that SCUM she associated HERSELF with before. It should not be difficult, as there are many worthy men of GOD in attendance at Brother Igho's domain.