May 22, 2005
As promised, I am updating the blog with my impressions of last evening's neighborhood association "Covered-Dish Social."
I am happy to report a sense of relief.
No one was pushing for fascist aesthetics rules, and the level of organization seems to be moderately low, in that the Association has a meeting "whenever there is an issue" or we just want to get together to eat and/or socialize. (Yesterday's "issue" was that so many new people have moved into the neighborhood in the past several years that many do not know that there existed an association, so a couple of people volunteered to put together the "meet the association" meeting.)
The only other "neighborhood issue" that was discussed at all was the need for slowing down traffic on our little out-of-the-way streets. Speed humps have been installed on one street, but of course that has the effect of pushing traffic onto those streets without humps (including ours). I personally don't like the humps, because I don't speed through people's neighborhoods and don't feel I need them; but I do know that many others are much less cognizant of their surroundings while they chatter away on their mobile phones and race toward wherever it is they're going, and I have a child who will be a toddler in a shockingly short amount of time, and so the conclusion is "do whatever it takes" to calm traffic. (My "redneck past" might suggest simply having a few neighbors regularly sit on their front porches with beer and shotguns, and that, after a few rear windows had been shattered and a few undies had been soiled, the area would have a reputation appropriate to "calming" traffic. But violence begets violence, so I'll recommend against that methodology.)
Our City Council representative was invited, and she attended and spoke briefly. I also found out, by sitting next to him at one of the tables, that County Trustee Carl Levi is in the neighborhood. He seems like a great guy, and his position rather dictates that he'll be one of the more humble politicians in the area (he jokingly introduced himself as being the "most hated man in the County," at least when he sends out all those little property tax cards).
With all due respect to those neighbors who have lived here for decades and have contributed greatly to what the neighborhood is today, it was really good to see so much variety in the types of households represented there. Young singles, twenty- and thirtysomething parents with their aggregate throng of kids, gay couples, boomers, septigenarians, and everything in between were all there, and that caused me to infer that this is a healthy neighborhood that won't succumb to the stuffy rules that so many others enact. (It did seem that the ethnic diversity could be greater, given the demographics of the metro area overall, but that probably fluctuates along multiple axes, and is really out of anyone's direct control, so I'm not going to be anxious about it.)
Lastly, I did note that another guy named Joe has set up an online discussion board for the neighborhood. I think this is just a step toward having a micro-blogging situation, so you may see more on this subject in the future. Micro-blogs and neighborhood discussion boards seem a bit funny, because in "olden days" people used to simply talk face-to-face at the post office, or general store, or church hall, or wherever. I think the internet actually provides an opportunity to get back some of that which has been lost, even though the convesrations take place somewhat differently.
Find out if your neighborhood has an Association, or an online presence, and get involved. Doing so is the surest way to avoid being dictated to by cadres of control freaks.
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