Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To Live Local – First Hand Experience

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, it’s been a busy week or so, what with fires and political activity. Yes, I was sort of near those fires that you may have heard about in Los Angeles last week. Our little valley was more ‘in the path’ of the Simi Valley fire via canyons and wind patterns than directly affected. But once you get those embers flying and if the Santa Ana winds kick up, the potential for spreading is enormous. And it goes quickly.

I spent time on the computer trying to figure out exactly where we are in the county and where the Santa Susanna Mountains are, trying rather unsuccessfully to place myself in a geographic sense. I still don’t know if I’m east county or west county.

Note to self: Must get county map to go with the world, California and regional wine tasting maps I’ve got plastered on the office walls.

So last Monday I was glued to the television as I worked. Thank goodness for local news. They were finally serving a purpose other than being trash news wires. Then when our community website folks sent out an e-blast about a fire alert and suggested we pack up important stuff just in case, ever the good little girl, I spent the evening running around grabbing boxes of files that I had previously organized for just such an exhilarating occasion.

And let me rave about our little newsletter staff. Kuddos to Harvey for the e-alert, underlining the importance of community and looking out for each other. And I clicked on the fire department website every little bit as they suggested to check for updates. (a shameless plug from this former poli sci major for why government was invented and just one example of why we pay taxes)

So that was certainly a fun way to spend my time, and of course, what one takes out of the house, one must put back. Thankfully I’ve learned from past near evacuations that the only things you truly need are the papers, the pets and the kids. If you haven’t organized those photos, too late now.

Then the really meaningful part of my week came at the end – The Drive To Nevada For Obama! Yes, this past weekend I jumped in a van with 5 other local political fanatics and schlepped to Las Vegas to walk precincts for That One. What an inspiring, albeit hot and dry, couple of days I had.

Folks from all age and ethnic groups came from everywhere in California to help get out the vote. Nevada has early voting for 2 weeks before the election where people can find a polling place parked in a supermarket or school and do their civic duty.

This was summer camp for grown-ups. I met and talked with people during breakfast at our motel, able to pick them out because we all had our Obama buttons on. And can you imagine the political conversations we had driving there and back? It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know new people in my community and work together for a common cause.

I would be remise if I didn’t mention the Tent City Blocks we saw in North Las Vegas. It’s my understanding that Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate of all the states. Well, I saw evidence of that, or at least the ‘recession we aren’t in yet but really are’. Imagine people camped out, one right after the other, like sleeping on Colorado Blvd the night before the Rose Parade staking out a good view. Now visualize men, women and children in mini tents or just curled up on the sidewalks in sleeping bags.

But who needs a New New Deal and social safety nets and a civic will to pull together? If you can’t make it on your own, the heck with you. Where did I hear that? Oh yes, the last 8 years. No, make that since Reagan and the rise of the GOP Nation.

This weekend I did a little something to take my country back and strengthen the community muscle. What did you do while I was gone?


Green Bean said...

What an inspiration, Bobbi!!! I am so happy that you went on the ride and shared it with all of us who couldn't quite escape the Rugrats. You did your country a real service.

As to the tent city thing, that's shocking. I had NO idea!

Bobbi said...

Thanks, Green Bean, for the lovely words. But I had to. For my own Rugrats.