Tracking code caldwell guardian

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sense of Community and Belonging

I just returned from the Laguna Beach area in Southern California to deconstruct what remained of my father's life and estate. Bolg entries have not been made since my departure for this effort.

While cleaning out my Father's worldly possessions my two brothers who still reside in Southern California asked me what I like the most about living in Idaho. It gave me pause to really think about this question. The weather down there was sunny and warm and we were all in shorts and t-shirts doing the clean-out. We were inland about five miles from the ocean and the air was clear as well.

The summary is quite simple when I think about it. It is a sense of community and people knowing you and your family members when you are out and about town. Knowing the faces and names of your neighbors, elected and appointed community, county and state officials along with the ability to be involved in what is going on in my community are important to me. My brothers could not name a single elected official of their community, county or state. Amazing to me they are totally detached from what is going on around them.

I also noticed a much diminished Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register newspapers. These two papers were bigger than most Sunday papers around here on a daily basis. The local Idaho Press Tribune is the first thing I read each morning with cup of strong coffee. I get a sense of knowing just a little bit more about current events in my community and the people in the local news.

My 2002 Chevy has just over 30k miles on it. I don't drive the 80-100 miles a day they drive to sustain their lives. Think of it as two weeks a month handed back to me each month to enjoy as I choose. I like the changing seasons, the short and for the most part, mild winters along with the certain renewal spring brings to us each year.

What I don't like are the wind and dirt storms we have. Poor urban planning resulting in our roads and highways overwhelmed with way more traffic than the streets and highways were ever designed to handle. Growth not paying for the impact it creates on those already living here not getting addressed by governments at all levels in the Treasure Valley. Housing located in the middle of valuable farm land. Urban sprawl subsidized and encouraged by local cities and community planning departments.

On balance living here vs. there a person has some identity and you are not just another car with a driver rolling to some unspecified place. I can pick up the local newspaper and see news and articles of interest about people and places and things of a personal interest to me. Obituaries are not seen in the newspapers down there, too many people checking out of life each day to even keep up with on a daily basis. I can't recall actually seeing a cemetery in my travels down there.

I feel very lucky to have made the break with the big city life early in my life. My wife is a Caldwell native and we made the permanent return to Caldwell in 1978. My children have come to appreciate the features and benefits of small town life now that they are out of college and on their own. I am thankful for this gift in ways that are very hard to express.

I can only hope our elected and appointed people will use this pause in growth to do some serious review of how the past 15 years of growth have been handled and implement what needs to change. The past patterns and approvals of just about every project have not enhanced the quality of life in this valley. We can do better and we as residents need to insist this happen in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment

A public discourse on the issues of the day makes the world a better place.

We welcome comments but they will be moderated and edited if too long or do not have anything to do with the post.
Agree or disagree just do it without profanity or it won't get posted. Try to keep your comments to no more than 300 words. Too long and I will try to edit it down or simply delete the comment. The whole idea is to get people to read your comment. Don't use 10 words when one will do the job.

It's OK to have a difference of opinion but keep it civil. I have used the "delete" feature on myself at times.

The ANONYMOUS feature for comments seems to be the most user friendly. People have commented they have difficulty with the other methods of posting comments.