I gave a friend a piece of advice recently, and she circled back later to thank me. Something I said – I think it had to do with fences and good neighbors, or maybe fences and good dogs -- led to a positive outcome.
Which was a shocker, not because it worked, but because so few people ever take my advice. Then again, I rarely take theirs. We humans constantly dispense and receive advice; it’s almost as natural as breathing.
I suspect that’s because advice isn’t only potentially useful, it’s also cheap, easy, and takes very little effort. In the realm of helping our fellow man, offering advice is the very least we can possibly do, and so you might say, we do the very least as often as is humanly possible.
Nevertheless, flushed with the triumph of my last piece of advice, I come bearing some brand new advice. Let’s attend the , the first one, at the very least.
Admittedly, I was ready to blow the whole thing off, primarily because I saw the word “Visioning” in the title of the flyer I received in the mail. Old corporate buzzwords do that to me. “Root cause,” “Data-points,” and all the “uber-this and uber-that.” More than a decade ago, when I heard “think outside the box,” for maybe the millionth time, I decided, since apparently everyone was now outside the box, I’d be a true renegade and jump back in. Corporate-speak, but most especially nouns morphing into verbs morphing into nouns fill me with dread suspicion. Maybe because, during a stint in corporate communications, I was instrumental in "reinventioning" some of them.
But back to the flyer (and if you don't have one, you can find a copy on the right). Meetings with “Visioning,” in the title smack of manipulation, of pulling a fast-one, of wresting even more control from the hands of the unsuspecting.
But I think, or hope, in the Altadena Community Visioning Workshops, that’s not the intent. Besides, when it comes to the county, we already know what the losing end of the argument feels like – how much worse can it get?
And the rest of the ACVW flyer is pretty promising. For example, “What are your ideas for Altadena? What is special about the community, and what can be improved? You are invited to participate…” Among suggested topics are: “future land use, economic development, streetscape improvements, open space, safety, preservation.”
Individualists that we are, I don’t suppose we’ll come armed to the meeting with the same issues. I, for example, will have little concern about f, and more energy when it comes to supporting local businesses, grass-root initiatives, blight and absentee commercial landlords.
Still, I think many of our issues share a common thread – the county’s obsession with enforcing incidental, unreasonable codes and regulations, while ignoring the big-ticket items that truly affect the quality of our lives and town.
So save the date – April 4 – and hope to see you there. In the meantime, drive carefully, drink plenty of water, exercise at least one hour a day, and wear your sweater, it’s cold outside.