Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A Short Note Re: Eleanor Tinsley
With her high-pitched, fluttery voice and a painstakingly deliberate delivery that radiated sincerity, it was easy to underestimate Eleanor Tinsley. Yet Tinsley was a deceptively tough politician, and, as Alan Bernstein's front-page obituary in today's Chronicle makes clear, she was in it for the long haul (that is, committed to a particular place over a long period of time). She was also unfailingly gracious, even to news reporters, a trait that could be disconcerting to those accustomed to more brusque treatment by elected officials. Yes, the do-gooderism could be a tad grating, but it grew naturally from her upbringing and never seemed to be driven by personal ambition or self-glorification or the urge to boss others around. She helped Houston grow up a bit, but for our taxpayer's money her greatest accomplishment was those SPARK parks for kids, a simple, cost-effective way to address the city's lack of park space. An expression of synergistic vibrancy, if you will, although we're pretty sure Tinsley would've been too embarrassed to use such a term.