I dedicate this posting to B. who gleefully gave me this title.
B. and I just stepped out of this month’s BACA meeting. He was happily recounting part of the meeting where a woman claimed that there really weren’t that many children in the community. Recounting this, as we watched about 3 kids from our street horsing around on the other side of the street.
A couple of things were brought up in the meeting that I’m going to touch on, community, and community services.
Community. Who are we talking about? I live here am I part of the community? When we, city employees, politicians talk about the community, are they talking about the community as a whole, certain parts, what? This is important because the city wants to (trys to) serve the community.
Which brings me to city services. It may have been the same woman who said there weren’t any children around needing services, who pointed out that no one in the room at the meeting needed drug councilling, or job training, or shelter, or housing services, mental health services, or any of the ‘community services’ that the young mayor’s rep was mentioning. The problem is the city will never offer me any direct services I will ever use in my neighborhood. Of the neighbors I associate most with, neither will they. They probably won’t put their kids in city aftercare, or send their kids to existing rec centers, and they sure as heck don’t go to the regular public schools. The only housing help I’ll take from the city (that I haven’t gotten already with the 1st time homebuyer prgs) is the homestead exemption.
Indirectly, the services are to benefit me by supposedly taking care of problem people , and if the people with problems are served then crime would go down, which serves me. The problem is that the people who use those services aren’t represented at the meetings. Most who attend meetings have little firsthand knowledge of the programs, which then makes me wonder about adequate feedback for the city. Also since there is no direct participation, I wonder how hard would those of us in the community who are more politically involved (the letter writers, meeting attenders, etc) will fight for these community programs/ dollars, as compared to areas of the city.
Lastly, I want to write about what I’m not saying in this. I’m not saying there aren’t any city services that can’t help me and others in my neighborhood. Good functional libraries with active reading/ storybook programs, popular books available, comfortable reading areas, and available internet terminals would be nice. I know I ain’t gonna get it, but it would be nice. And there are things the city and some local politicians do beyond regular services and problem targeting, that positivity impact my quality of life, such as business promotion, providing mulch, and co-sponsoring events.
I’d guess I’d be more gung ho for programs for children if I actually believed the kids on my street and the other neighborhood kids I know would actually use them.