Last week I attended a very depressing meeting. It was billed as a time to give input about how we can help our region thrive: “Can-Do California: Thriving Regions Lead to a Thriving State.” I guess the fact that the local Chamber of Commerce was a co-host should have been a tip-off. It was packed with people who really believed that “thriving” means making sure THEIR business makes MORE money.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY, PEOPLE!!!! Yes, I do realize money makes life much easier, and not having it may mean a quicker death. I’ve been upper middle class, and I’ve been poor (though never homeless). I’m not anti-capitalism. I am for responsible capitalism. If you’ve worked hard and made some money, it is perfectly reasonable to enjoy it. But I also agree with the adage, to those to whom much is given, much is required. There is a couple in our area who make pretty good money, which means they have been able to travel and put their kids through some good colleges. They have also made their home and lifestyle as environmentally “green” as possible, and they make significant donations to the community in ways that improve the general quality of life. THAT is responsible capitalism. 🙂
If you still think it is all about money, we will actually SAVE money if we start working preventively with people. Teach people how to raise kids (and use general, empirically proven techniques — don’t shove religion down someone’s throat). Offer free therapy, or have people pay on a sliding scale; this would go a LONG way toward clearing drug problems and other law enforcement matters. Those two things alone would almost empty our prisons, and cut back on court and law enforcement costs. Yes, it would take some time . . . probably a generation. But I hear people talk about not wanting to saddle their children with expenses; this would be the ideal way to prevent that!
“Can Do California” says they were using those regional meetings to gather information for the up-coming political elections. You can create the result you want in any survey by slanting your questions and carefully choosing who you poll, and that is what they are doing. They are going to tell politicians “everyone” wants fewer regulations from the State and for the Coastal Commission to be dismantled. POLITICIANS: DON’T LISTEN TO THEM! We created the Coastal Commission on purpose to keep self-serving people from destroying the coastline to make money. Same thing with most of those regulations.
It is about quality of life, people. A thriving community has:
- Good, affordable healthcare for everyone (physical, mental, emotional)
- Acceptance of all spiritual paths that support and do not harm people
- Equal rights and opportunities for all people
- Access to educational and skills training (without costing and arm and a leg)
- Affordable access to creative endeavors and presentations (music, writing, art, craft, etc.)
- Healthy, affordable food
- Safe, affordable housing
- Affordable, environmental transportation
- Reasonable Internet access (even if at a central location, such as a library)
- Balanced law enforcement
Am sure I am forgetting something. 🙂 Hopefully you get what I mean. Yes, it has to do with jobs, but by focusing on quality of life, we create jobs. It is quality of life that produces a thriving region.