Author: Cornish, Rick

Top Ten Reasons to Run for the Board

About 2:00 a.m. on Saturday night at Grass Valley, up in the tent camping area, I found myself in a jam with a man by the name of Oloong Bordich. (At least that’s how I’d spell it if I were Oloong.) Anyways, after the jam broke up this fellow and I started talking and the subject of the CBA, its leadership and its board came up. (Funny how that happens.) Oloong told me he had a vague interest in throwing his hat into the race and I encourage him to do so. But it was late, I was tired (I’d been at the fairgrounds nine days at that point) so I told my new friend that I’d work on coming up with a list of reasons why he should run. He promised he’d watch for the list on the CBA web site, so, here you go, Oloong.

Reason Ten
You can say you did. For the remainder of your life, no one can ever, ever complain that you don’t get involved, that you’re apathetic. Your neighbor asks you to sign a petition for a new stop sign on your block, you refuse, he starts in on you and you pull out the 2008 list of candidates. He’s stopped in his tracks.

Reason Nine
Running for office, any office, is certain to teach you humility. First, during your work to get 15 CBA members to sign your petition, you’ll have plenty of people refuse. (‘Ah, er, I, ah, just really don’t feel comfortable signing. But don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing against you.’) Then, once you’re on the ballot, you’re sure to read some pretty defamatory stuff about you on the Message Board, stuff you never even realized about yourself before. Finally, you either lose the election and feel like a complete loser, or worse, you win and are faced with 12 full months of being second guessed, criticized and defamed. Either way, you’re in for quite an education.

Reason Eight
You’ll get your picture in the Bluegrass Breakdown and on the CBA web site. No, it’s not as good as being on American Idol, but then you don’t have to sing or dance or even try out. You just have to get fifteen people, CBA members, to say you’re not a serial killer. Imagine, the Breakdown has a distribution of 7,000 and we have anywhere’s from 8,500 to 15,000 hits on the web site everyday. You’ll become instantly famous among a tiny, tiny sector of the American demographic who’s distinguished itself by its devotion to a musical genre that the vast majority of the nation avoids if at all possible.

Reason Seven
Like so many before you, you can attempt to leverage your position on a non-profit organization’s board of directors as a stepping-stone to higher office. (You know, first the school board, then the water district board, the city council, state legislature, U.S. Congress, etc.) True, no one in the entire thirty-three year history of the California Bluegrass Association has succeeded in pulling this off, but I understand Larry Kuhn came within a single vote being elected to the planning committee for Pasadena High School’s fiftieth reunion. Stranger things have happened.

Reason Six
People who’ve never given you the time of day will buddy up to you and act like they’re your friend from the moment you announce, right up until the election results are announced on Saturday night at the Annual Fall Campout and Membership Meeting. And if you win, they’ll continue treating you like a pal until you: 1) hire a band they don’t like; 2) lose your seat in a future election; or 3) retire from the board. (Important Note: Reason 6 is only a compelling incentive for running if, like me, you haven’t many friends to begin with.

Reason Five
Okay now, you’ve got to work with me a little on this one. Say you’re one of those people who know what real bluegrass is. No, you’re one of those people who REALLY, REALLY KNOWS WHAT REAL BLUEGRASS IS. Problem is, not everyone will agree. Whaddahya do? Run for the board of directors of the world’s largest bluegrass association, get elected, gradually take over the board, become chairman, then take over the association little by little, bit by bit, and then announce to the entire world what bluegrass IS and IS NOT. Case closed.

Reason Four
Reason four depends on the same premise as reason five—you’ve got to win for it to be a good reason. (Okay, so I admit it, I’m making up the rules as I go along. But you try coming up with 10 reasons to run for the board. I started stumbling after three.) Anyway, you run for the board, you win, you hunker down and listen mostly at board meetings the first year, start moving in year two, take over the chairmanship in year three and get a golf cart at the Fathers Day Festival in year four. Those who signed my petition ten years ago will remember and readily confirm that that was my campaign platform. Not the chairmanship, the golf cart.)

Reason Three
You’ll never have to volunteer for another CBA job as long as you live. The way I figure it, just taking the chance that you’ll get elected and have to sign your life away to the Association for an indeterminate duration is way, way beyond riding around delivering ice for the next fifteen years. I mean, the ice cart job is one weekend per year….one out of fifty-two.

Reason Two
You’ll feel good about yourself. I know I did. Not in the beginning, when my main motive was having a golf cart, but later, after I started getting assignments and actually started getting them done right. And assignments came very, very quickly. I remember so well… my first board meeting as a member, it was explained to me that new, rookie board members had certain jobs their first year. Mine was to supervise the delivery and pick up of all CBA equipment, tools, containers, stage curtains, etc., etc., etc., which are kept in a storage facility up near Grass Valley—talk about trying to herd ants with a steel rake. Oh, and I was automatically the Gate Crew Coordinator. George Martin, the other new board member, was given the job of Publicity Coordinator…..never occurred to me to ask why he wasn’t entitled to delivery and pick up.

Reason One
Okay, drum roll. Reason Number One—Run for the board of directors of the California Bluegrass Association and, whether you win or lose, you have the chance to say publicly, with actual people actually listening, what’s good and what’s not good about the CBA….what’s working and what needs changing. And by saying your piece, win or lose, you have the extreme privilege of helping guide our Association into the future. An extreme previlege to be sure.
Posted:  7/1/2008

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