EDITORíS DESK: A chance encounter
During the course of this week's newspaper rounds, I met a man who, I wouldn't call him depressed, but it was quite clear that
the thrill of living on the Westside was most definitely gone. He had frustrations with the city and a general sense of isolation and
powerlessness about what he could do to improve his situation as a Westside resident in this town.
What did he think about Highway 24? I asked. He didn't realize public meetings have been going on. Then I noticed that in his block there was no sidewalk, curb or gutter. I asked if he and his neighbors ever had drainage problems. About any time it rains, he replied. At that, I suggested the neighborhood seek funding through the CDBG program. He asked me, "What's 'CDBG'?"
Now, I don't bring this up to cast aspersions or make this individual look ignorant. My hunch is that he is far from being alone. Heck, there was a time when I might have believed "CDBG" was the latest disc by a pop group. The fact that I now know it stands for "Community Development Block Grants" - a federally funded, city-administered program that could bring sidewalk, curb and gutter to this man's block at no cost to him or his neighbors - doesn't make me smarter; it just puts me an inch closer to understanding the situation we've got over here.
I think what really made this man feel down about the Westside was not realizing how much is going on here (and I don't just mean government programs). That's one of the goals of this newspaper - did I mention yet that he was not a regular Pioneer reader? - to provide information that might help people work the civic system instead of it working them. The more of us who go that route, the better community we'll have. And (I'd like to think), a better community newspaper.