"To be, or not to be?"
This penetrating, philosophical conundrum, like a molasses-laced souffle, has vexed Antioch's City Council, and like Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, engagement with the inhabitants is inevitable. A choice must be made -- and what of the inhabitants?
Is it beneficial to the citizenry to endure further years of skilless activity, openly nonpartisan, for the most part, elected officials who aimlessly traverse city business terrain? Is it beneficial to the citizenry to petition interests and causes only to have them taped to a spoke spinning its wheel? Is it beneficial to the citizenry to witness flash substituting for substance? Is it beneficial to the citizenry, whether fancied or real, to muddle in discouragement?
How came the City Council to this state? To be fair, objective analysis dictates, the council without malice, mimics its predecessors. A lack of malice, though commendable, may color the dosage. Nonetheless, it fails to ameliorate its saltiness. Its impact, not dissimilar to a rolling earthquake, is discernible.
Specifically, abandoned and squatter properties, the scourge of the city, are ubiquitous. Grief without a constellation, thus begging two questions: How can a problem be remedied if its existence is not recognized? How can a problem be remedied minus a plan? To be sure, the City Council is aware of the abandoned, squatter properties today.
Comments on the subject, verbal and written, have indeed been forthcoming by one or two members, after, as we have seen, the proverbial horse has left the barn, and what of a strategy to combat the blight? Residents have yet to read or hear of one, and consequently are left wanting. If a written or spoken response was uttered by council members, its presentation was delivered in stealth. The general population is unaware of such a communique. An article here, a spoken word there, will not suffice.
This past July, Los Angeles officials, in a concerted effort to deal with its abandoned properties, sued US Bank citing over 150 homes. Rather than wait or allow the problem to fester, they took hold of the reins, refusing to sit idle. This was the second time Los Angeles has sued a major bank (space does not permit further details).
Overgrown trees, roads, commercial structures (one is more than enough), etc., have their own slot and commingle with abandoned properties. Each has remained free to roam the streets.
Costs, shrinking revenue, no doubt, play havoc with city priorities. This cold reality may restrict response time; nevertheless, it does not preclude tangible reactions.
Maintenance of the city can take various forms. Interest-paying private trusts is one solution. Funds received from investors, individual or institutional, prudently invested via a third party, can be used to trim, cut back trees and repair roads.
Commercial owners can be compelled to comply, subsequent to deadline notices and hefty fines that are collected or risk losing the property. This will also apply to landlords who will be subject to clean up costs.
The implementation of examples given is not the gist of the concern tethered to the City Council. It is the overall performance, or lack of, that ponders the mind, leaving the City Council with the deep question: "To be or not to be."
Paul M. Vela
U.S. must get back on track
Liberal special interest groups, union bosses and the Obama Democrats are not going to give up their grip on the White House and U.S. Senate without a fight. After spending his first term focused on growing the size of government through ObamaCare, passing more regulations and clamoring for higher taxes, Barack Obama desperately wants a second term to finish his "radical fundamental transformation" of America.
After 41 months of over 8 percent unemployment, over $5 trillion in new debt, 46 million Americans now on food stamps and soaring food and gas prices, it's painfully clear we must make Barack Obama a one-term president. This is an extremely crucial moment in America's history.
Barack Obama must be defeated in order for our country to get back on track. This will be accomplished by Mitt Romney through his pro-growth economic and job-creation policies, lower taxes, limited government, personal responsibility and a stronger national defense. Obama is out to destroy this land that we love. Just give him four more years, and he will accomplish what he has set out to do. This will be a government-run country, and the Declaration of Independence will cease to exist. I'm sick and tired of seeing what is happening to our beautiful country.
NOBAMA in 2012.
Diversity should be embraced
Recently, an acquaintance told me he's moving out of Antioch. When I asked him why, he informed me that "too many of them" (use your own pejorative) are moving here.
On May 8, I underwent 6½ hours of significant back surgery. I'm originally from Connecticut and, when relatives visited us, we would take them to San Francisco. I couldn't walk a half of a city block without having to sit. I was in excruciating pain. The surgery was a back saver.
I now walk 3.8 miles every day, and on my walk I see people walking their dogs, jogging, riding bikes or just walking, as I am. These people are black, brown, white, Asian, Indians or Muslims wearing turbans or covering their heads. I've yet to not exchange a pleasant "good morning" or "how are you?"
When I see so many pleasant and happy people whose appearances are vastly diverse, I know I'm walking in the United States of America.
I don't know where this acquaintance thinks he's moving. One guess would be 1930s Germany, where all of the people he doesn't like are locked away somewhere.
I'll stay right here in the United States of America, thank you!
In support of HALO caretaker
I was a shift leader at HALO House up until July 20. I am probably the person referred to by Contra Costa Times reporter Rowena Coetsee, in the July 27 article, as the volunteer who had her 10-year-old child volunteering with her. I cannot begin to express my distress over what is going on with HALO. I think we have lost focus.
I have personally worked with the 17-year-old-boy who was brought into question. Never was I worried for my two daughter's safety. When I found out about the article I discussed it with my husband. He took it upon himself to ask my daughter about whether she felt uncomfortable around this young man. When he posed the question to her, she literally looked at him like he was crazy, and why would he be asking her such a stupid question.
I never thought the article was going to take this angle. I think the only concern should be where are the dogs? How are they being cared for? The dogs were the reason I chose to volunteer at HALO. I have spent months there with my three kids building a relationship with the animals.
Never when we walked through the doors did I stop and wonder who the caretaker had in her living quarters, or did I feel it was inappropriate. The caretaker in my opinion went above and beyond caretaker responsibilities with the dogs. These are the facts as I know them.
Former HALO President Tamara Reed also was a true advocate for the animals. HALO House was a well-oiled machine. I was present at the July 5 board meeting and no concerns were brought up in regard to the caretaker.
I am disheartened. I am the public opinion, and I will not let this go down quietly.
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