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Lest you think that a single dissenting voice won't make a difference...may I tell you a different tale.

After my passionate statements to the fellow members of the Board and the budget committee on Monday, I was deluged by emails of support (!) Nearly every person said that what I said was eloquent and needed to be said, but they were reluctant to speak up.

I had no idea anyone would even listen to me, let alone agree; I just said what I needed to say, that what we were manipulated (I didn't use that exact word--too pejorative) and that the proposals were not in line with our values.

The outcome: the new budget proposal has employee salaries not just at the previous year's level, but with a 1% increase across the board, plus benefits. We will ask the membership to contribute a "13th month" to cover it. Wow!

In the meeting I had followed up my statements by pulling out my checkbook and writing a check on the spot. Counter-manipulation, if you want to say that, but I view it as putting my money where my mouth is.

(Heh. Little did I know that my checking account was overdrawn by $10; I did know that the next day I would have my pension deposited. Whew!)

What still astonishes me is that people listen to me. What I say has an impact and my opinion carries weight.

Guess I must come across as knowledgeable, smart, wise--or just loud. I see myself as those good qualities, but I'm seldom aware that others see me that way, too.

For whatever gifts I can bring to the table, I am grateful.

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