By Chris Kramer

Now I remember why I don’t like to go to City Council meetings.

I went Tuesday evening to support a friend, Marianne Taylor, who is working with John Q. Humphrey to beautify Los Rios Park with plants butterflies are attracted to. I sat with Dotty Frankel who was accepting an award for the DAR’s program on our Constitution at the Mission. Next to me was Jean Vincenzi who works tirelessly with the Friends of the Library to make our library even better. Behind me were Rosa Beas, who with her husband works for the youth of our city, and Stephanie Heredia who, with her husband, Bob Kline, gives our city a week of magic during the West Coast Film Festival and Steve Behmerwohld who was in his ASAP uniform — one of his many volunteer services to our city.

With all that energy, this should have been a wonderful positive meeting. Then a “black hole” got up to speak, and the mood changed to one of why isn’t the city doing more, more, more to support his needs.

I consider myself a conservative. I even voted for Barry Goldwater. But I thought being a conservative meant taking personal responsibility and not wanting government to do those things I could do for myself. And yet, that person touts his membership in a group that claims “common sense.”

Two things the “black hole” has mentioned Tuesday night and in the past:

One is personal responsibility for emergency preparedness. My husband and I took the city’s CERT training. I may not have the agility of an EMT, but I recognize that in an emergency all governments’ resources will be overwhelmed and I can do some things myself. And as far as lending a hand to our neighbors, it didn’t require an athlete to pass out information on smoke detectors to residents who had lost a neighbor in a fire and to let the fire department know that one family had hearing problems and could use a different type of detector, which they could supply. Or if we have wildfires and have to use the Riding Park to stable animals, it doesn’t take much to be trained to take photos of the horses for record keeping. Small things, but I refuse to accept the position that less than perfect health keeps someone from being prepared.

And last night’s complaint was about car theft. I know I don’t want police on every corner in my neighborhood, but if we have a problem, the first thing I would do is see if our neighborhood watch is active and ask the police in for a briefing about what we can do to reduce our risk.

So, instead of making the council and staff and audience listen to the “black hole,” it would be so pleasant if we could enjoy going to City Council meetings and celebrate the wonderful job our council, staff and citizens do to make this a fabulous place to live.

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