Thursday, November 29, 2007

fish fry: worst or first?


I'm spinning the comments from the previous post off into a separate post, because it's a theoretical issue rather than having anything to do with compost (although my inner anarchist notes that discussing governments always involves large amounts of compost). Namely, should the city address problems on a worst-come-first-served basis or in a more distributed fashion, working on a selection of bad and not-so-bad problems that cause both a spot of bother for middle-class residents and serious harm for the city's poorest?

Anonymous wrote yesterday, in part:
Sorry for the rant, and I do agree the city has "larger fish to fry" than composters, but it's a start. Shouldn't it be in a city where the average resident would never contemplate a Smith & Hawken composter, that the city actually makes it happen.

I may be taking this post farther than Meg intended, but should we really be arguing for mediocrity? Can this city move forward if it never looks beyond those "few other problems"?


An excellent question (and, Anonymous, you can hijack the comments any time). I see both sides of the issue, to be sure. On one hand, it really is bogus for me to be whining for a composter when babies are being shot on our streets and the median family income is $12,000 below the national median, even though our cost-of-living index is so much higher.

On the other hand, addressing our effete middle-class concerns surely makes Pomona a more attractive place to move for other effete bourgeoisie, who will then get involved and work to improve the town for everybody. I'd also argue that on average, the middle class is less easily intimidated by city hall, so a strong bourgeois presence may agitate toward improved, more transparent city governance.

That class question cuts both ways, it seems to me. Who am I to demand the city buy me a fancy-schmancy Smith & Hawken composter? But then who am I to say that composting is a middle-class issue?

BTW, Anonymous -- and all your anonymous comrades out there (if any)... I would take it as a great favor if you'd end your comments with a pseudonym, just so I know which anonymous poster said what. You don't have to -- keep commenting, in any case -- but it would help build community if we had some name, any name, to attach to a given comment. It would be nice to be able to tell Conan The Librarian apart from Captain Underpants.

13 comments:

lnkn park said...

Like it or not, and however politically incorrect it may be to say, a well established bourgeoisie is essential to combat modern governmental bureaucracies. The proletariat is often unable to" handle challenging "city hall amongst their day-to-day activities and coupled with lower literacy rates and lower rates of education, they are also unequipped to do so. As elitist as this may sound, the bourgeoisie is the only reason we have a republican democracy in this country. A well educated group of people must take an active interest in government in order to ensure its efficacy, and currently the entire country is lacking these people.

Mark said...

Quite frankly this city is so saddled with such short thinking that if a person went to city hall and asked anything about something like composting, they look at you like you are from Mars.

me said...

I have often wondered why the City of Pomona did not take more advantage of their being home to the Cal Poly Regenerist studies program? That affiliation should make us a natural to be the greenest city around. But then again I have often wondered a lot of things about Pomona city govt.

I buy the argument that poor people don't compost about as much as I buy the argument that poor people don't eat good bread. But, school me, does one really need a fancy machine to compost?

Just another person from Mars,

G of P

Ed said...

I apologize for using the anonymous tag. I was developing a complex, since too many of my posts didn't elicit a response.

It's nice to read more comments for this one. Of course, I'll probably ruin it.

Please, if you do read the Lincoln Park blogs make a comment. It can be as simple as "I don't agree", but write down something. Meg and GofP have given us a forum for discussion, we really need to use it.

I'm writing an email to the City Clerk asking for a timetable for posting the Council minutes online. I'll send their response to Meg for her government compost heap.

And I envy all those great pseudonyms, since "Ed" is the best I could come up with.

meg said...

I still haven't called city hall, but I'll do that today. Thanks for keeping me honest, y'all.

And I am fine for people to choose the anonymous option under Blogspot's "choose an identity" -- that's a pain in the butt. Ed, feel free to sign off with any name you like. If you can't come up with a good name for yourself, I'm sure one of your kids can!

meg said...

I meant to say earlier, I'm making a firm distinction between bourgeois involvement to improve the city and outright gentrification. I don't want to turn downtown Pomona into a micro-Claremont, or a hipster-Claremont, or anything of the kind. I'd like Our Fair City to have a few upscale (non-chain) dining options, but I want to hold on to all the taco stands and pho joints. I'm for taking the "no-tell" out of the motels but not razing them in favor of Embassy Suites.

Ed said...

I don't want to lose the diversity, but at the same time, the city needs more socioeconomic balance. The imbalance is felt in our schools, in the percentage of our budget consumed by the police, and even in the quality and content of media coverage.

And Meg, you're a funny girl! I'm sticking with "Ed"!!

John Clifford said...

Ed,

Council minutes online? I've been trying to get that kind of thing for a long time. It took me MONTHS to get the city to put the past historic preservation commission agendas online, even though they post the current agenda (gee they can't figure out how to SAVE a posting?).

The city's web site is atrocious. I've offered to work with the city on a citizen's committee for the web site, or in any other capacity, but the offer seems to have fallen on deaf ears. They'd rather work on a city-wide WIFI system (already rejected by Claremont) than work on a decent web site, perhaps one with a search capability.

Sorry for the rant.

meg said...

John, have you discussed this with Paula Lantz? You too, Ed... It seems like city council is a first and easy (if not necessarily effective) stop.

lnkn park said...

Im also not advocating gentrification, but Ed is right, ghettoization of a city is hardly the means toward improving a city, socioeconomically or otherwise. Balance is key, and currently there is hardly balance. Look at some of the cities that surround us, there is a lot of diversity, racially and socioeconomically (sans Claremont and Chino Hills). Upscale anything isn't going to move into gang-infested dangerous low-buck neighborhoods. We need to attract young forward thinking professionals of all ethnic backgrounds, and push some of the less desirable people out.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the rising home prices in Pomona would be the thing that would push out the "less desirable" people. Sort of a passive routing of bad people that wouldn't be able to afford L.A. county anymore.
With the amount of forclosed homes increasing in the area the city will need to take notice of abandoned homes for squaters and druggies.
In the meantime the city didn't take advantage of the upswing in real estate prices in any meaningful way (Mission Prominade as an example)and of course has blown it once again. We will probably have to wait until the next upswing until we see any improvements.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the rising home prices in Pomona would be the thing that would push out the "less desirable" people. Sort of a passive routing of bad people that wouldn't be able to afford L.A. county anymore.
With the amount of forclosed homes increasing in the area the city will need to take notice of abandoned homes for squaters and druggies.
In the meantime the city didn't take advantage of the upswing in real estate prices in any meaningful way (Mission Prominade as an example)and of course has blown it once again. We will probably have to wait until the next upswing until we see any improvements.

Ed said...

Contacting all the Council members and Mayor was my next stop. I really wanted to be ignored one more time and apparently John's experiences are similar.

I'm confident it will happen, but I may ask all of these wonderful readers to also send emails!! Keep you posted. This post and the subsequent comments have been highly motivating.