Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Good Intentions

When I launched this blog a month ago, I had good intentions to post a few times a week to offer my comments and daily learned insight on how to make a positive difference in our world.

Good God, I wonder how many bloggers (writers) have said, wrote, posted this. Probably too many to count.

But I’m back to try again. The whole point of this blog is to help me, and hopefully others, GET OFF THE GROUND and do something, however small, to make a difference in their lives, their communities, our world.

It’s comforting to stretch out under a blue, sunny sky or a starry night and dream about a better world – but I know we can do more than dream. I know I can do more than dream.

I’m reading Bill Clinton’s Giving now, and while the former U.S. president may not hold governments at all levels as accountable as he should, I’m finding it an invaluable look at the “giving” landscape and how any one of us can give money, time, things, and so on.

A few years ago I volunteered for a short time in our local library “book buddy” system delivering books to seniors who had no means to go to the library and check their own books out.

But besides helping my friends and family when needed, I’ve never really volunteered much or tried to make a difference in my community.

Until now. And although I’m busy with work and enjoying the fruits of my labor, I am the president of our HOA board, and my wife and I have started to make a difference in our neighborhood, and not just for the sake our home values.

It’s a start – one that takes a step beyond good intentions, hoping someone else will make our world a better place.

That’s where we come in.

Another place to start is VolunteerMatch. I found this in Bill's book and it’s what I’m checking out next.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It’s Not the Summer of Love, Folks

No better way to launch my new blog that with the letter to the editor I sent to the Santa Cruz Sentinel this past Sunday:

The city and county of Santa Cruz are not free campgrounds. Yet, much of the transient population feels that they are entitled to camp wherever they want because of Santa Cruz’s longtime progressive political landscape.

When I read the articles about the homeless protest at city hall last week and the follow-up booting by the police department, my frustration had reached its end. I am a strong believer in personal responsibility and trying to get back on your feet as best as you can. There are many homeless services in Santa Cruz, including the Homeless Service Center, whose aim is to help those to help themselves, including the mentally ill. I empathize and as a tax payer I’m happy to pay for these local services.

However, the real problem is the drug-using, criminal homeless population – many of whom aren’t even from the area – who are the bane of our beautiful city. We’re involved with the Santa Cruz Neighbors and have a Neighborhood Watch group and we’ve talked with the police about how difficult this population makes their jobs (and how the political climate enables the homeless to come and stay).

I’ve also been on a ride along with the city park ranger, John Wallace. John has shown me first hand how dangerous and filthy the homeless campsites can be. And yet the supposed city hall homeless activists want the city to give up a piece of land that they promise to manage and police? C’mon, it’s not the summer of love and it didn’t work then either.

We live in a newly developed area on the west side and a regular transient flow to and from the Moore Creek area. There’s also a strip of undeveloped private property along Grandview St. where we live that has become a regular homeless rest stop; they fill up their water jugs, wash themselves off, dump their trash, fight with each other over cigarettes (and who knows what else), defecate and urinate, and sometimes even take a leisurely cat nap.

In fact, as I write this I watch three of the regular campers walk and ride bikes down our street, one of them stopping to fill their water bottle.

Thank goodness the city has hired new park rangers to work alongside John Wallace to patrol our parks and open spaces. It’s time to clean up and clear out these dangerous homeless campsites and campers – and let’s continue to help those who want to help themselves and no longer tolerate Santa Cruz as one big KOA campground.

More to come...