Life as I Know It – Where your Voice is heard

happynewyear
January 2, 2013
Happy New Year everyone.
2013! Wow that sure makes me feel old, or older depending on the mood I’m in.

During my campaign for Pinole City Council I was left with some lasting impressions;  having face to face conversations with so many of you, the members of my community, served as a reminder of how intelligent and caring you are. I would have been proud to represent you. Many of you raised questions, expressed opinions and voiced valid concerns. With this blog, “Life as I know it” I will stay connected with you and have fun doing it.

I realize that it is very difficult to stay informed about local issues when parents are working and raising a family, or in the case of many others, they simply don’t quite “get” all the political jargon and the acronyms that are tossed about like so many pieces of confetti. Frankly, it takes a concerted effort to stay informed and be able to follow the bouncing political ball.

For many, it’s not due to a lack of interest, as I discovered, but a lack of time. That unfortunately, leads to having the opinions and views of a small segment of the population being heard over the voices of those who do not have the time to immerse themselves in the goings on of our local government. Democracy is time-consuming.
For those busy with life, it is only when something we care about is threatened that, perhaps, we are moved to take action and speak out.

As I made my way around the neighborhoods, PTA meetings and living rooms, many told me that they felt city council meetings had become a platform for one-sided opinions and self-interest proclamations. Some stated that the length and complexity of council meetings were mind numbing exercises. There were some who had the unpleasant experience of attending a council meeting to speak on an issue that they cared about only to have to wait until almost midnight to be heard.
Others saw that there is a tendency to manipulate the speaker cards submitted under citizens to be heard so that an individual can get the last word and therefore no one can rebut those last indelible statements. Still others opined that the rules seemed to favor those with friends on the council, while others complained that they had evidenced Brown Act violations, such as cell phone usage and texting between the council and the public, with no apparent censure of those in violation.
As I said democracy is time-consuming, and many of you just do not have the time to dig through all this government-speak, gobbledygook.

I feel that we as a community do not have a true and relevant local news presence.
The West County Times has downsized its staff and the only local news they report is the type of news that sells newspapers, primarily controversy and scandal. The Patch is a hot mess, I don’t know what the heck is going on there.

This is a new world and many residents get their news via the internet. When was the last time you saw anything in the news, hard copy or online, that speaks to any of the concerns of the average family or resident in Pinole? Those concerns (some listed below) are the impetus for this blog.

I am opening the door to a dialogue about the things you feel are important to you.
I invite you to send me your questions, thoughts, ideas and comments.
The topics raised most often were, (not in this order):

1. Pinole’s financial future
2. Will we have to pay more for less services?
3. The state of the West Contra Costa Unified School District
4. Traffic
5. Public Safety
6. Community services
7. Salaries and benefits for our elected officials
8. Salaries and benefits for our paid staff
9. Parks and Recreation
10. Pinole Cable TV
11. The Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade
12. Waste Treatment Plant rate increases
13. Hercules’ bleak future’s effect on Pinole
14. Safety in our schools
15. Development of vacant lots and store fronts in Old Town
16. Pensions and contracts for all public employees
17. The City Manager’s evergreen contract
18. The remodel of Pinole Valley High School
19. The use of Bond money by the WCCUSD
20. What will happen to revenue from the sale of RDA properties?
21. Why can’t we get representation on the school board?
22. How is the city marketing Pinole for economic development?
22. How much money did we lose in failed RDA projects?

These are areas I invite you to discuss. I will cover these areas but my postings will also be very personal and not limited to these topics alone. Perhaps we want to have a dialogue about gun control or the legalization of marijuana, so let’s do that.
I may decide to bore you with stories about the grand-kids or let you in on some of the legendary stories about my 92 year-old mother.

This forum is open to all, but I will moderate the comments and I will not permit disrespectful or less than civil posts. I want your voice to be heard but in a positive and constructive way. If you ask questions I will attempt to answer them or get the answers.
I really want to know what is important to you.

Please submit you comments via the blog or send an email to ivettericco@gmail.com

It’s time everyone in Pinole had a voice.

The opinions expressed on this blog are the opinions of Ivette Ricco only.

3 thoughts on “Life as I Know It – Where your Voice is heard

  1. Hell if I know. The only thing I do know is that I don’t like local politics for all the reasons you stated below and more. I just want to live my life in peace with a little support from the community for our belief that an art element in our town is a positive thing, just as are sports, a strong economic base and safety services. Surely we can agree on some things. I’m feeling like we are about to fall off the Pinole cliff

    • Hi Cliff. Diversity, art, culture, music and sports are all important community elements. But the city has stated that they are trying to just maintain core services. There is no way to gauge when or even if, things will ever go back to the way they were. I expect that efforts of community volunteers will make or break many of these programs. I also suspect there is some “fund raising fatigue” taking place as everyone works to raise revenue for worthy causes and programs.
      But staying involved even if it simply means expressing your feelings to the city council in the form of an email or a letter must be where you and yours begin. it is the deafening silence that prevents positive action.

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