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Comment: Us and them

Submitted by on 1, October 30, 2008 – 9:00 amNo Comment

Let me just start off by saying that I am grateful to live here in Alameda. But like most cities in California these days, we’ve got issues.

We are facing an ongoing fiscal crisis of almost Biblical proportions. We have some big choices to make about the development of Alameda Point, which encompasses a third of our little Island city. Our schools are also in desperate need of money. We’re dealing with Measure A, Measure H, Measure P. We are in the midst of a big fat identity crisis.

Each issue draws passionate people with deeply held opinions about how it should be handled. One would hope that all this energy would be directed toward producing the best solutions to our problems that we could possibly get. Instead, we often end up with small groups of people whose opinions are so entrenched that the decision making process disintegrates into slights, accusations, name-calling and worse.

This may be amusing. But it is not helping us, folks.

The problems confronting us are real, and the solutions necessary. But how to reach them if we’re expending all our energy being angry with our erstwhile opponents simply because they don’t see things our way?

Last night, the hubby and I watched the Obamad on TV, in which our possibly next President talked about how there’s just one America. Well, we think the same could be said about Alameda.
We’re a small town, an island, and the person whose opinion you don’t agree with is probably a neighbor. Maybe a friend. Definitely someone you’re going to see at the grocery store, the gym, your kid’s school. Chances are, you’ll be seeing this person around town for the next 20 or 30 or 50 years. How unpleasant do all these little moments of your life really need to be?

We need to put all of this enmity aside and focus on what really matters: Finding solutions to our collective problems, or face the consequences. Give a hug, sing kumbaya, pick up the phone and call all the people who’ll be impacted by or interested in your latest, greatest idea. Then focus. These are not problems that have easy solutions, or that can be solved by one person with one point of view. It’ll take a village, people. Or an entire Island.

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