I will never cease to be amazed at how people assign themselves as RIGHT and others as WRONG. How does one become so omnipotent as to be angry with those who don't agree with them? After centuries of human history, apparently we haven't learned that myopic finger pointing and blame do NOT a cohesive, cooperative and successful society, religion, country, business or Altadena make.
It is said that there is a thin line between love and hate. I think it is more accurate to say there is a thin line between hate and fear. What are we afraid of losing, and why is it that FEAR seems to be "steering the boat" in Altadena? I have revisited some of the local issues reported in the Patch. So many things driven by FEAR. Think about them: the Patticakes mural protest, removal of quaint sidewalk signage on Lake Street, anger over children's artwork on the Monte Cedro fence, protest of live music and poetry at The Coffee Gallery, complaints about Food Truck Fridays, the demise of the fabulous Urban Farmer's Market, and the closing of Danny's Farm.
These things define who we are as a community. The emerging portrait isn't very flattering. The actions taken against these things could be defined as: petty, closed minded, misanthropic, picayune, malevolent and unsocial. They are also embarrassing - to me anyway. What type of community complains over music, art, food and a farm for developmentally challenged children? Apparently we're not sure what we want -- but we are "gull darned sure of what we ain't."
I find this unflattering picture of who we are as a community very disturbing. How do we attract new and vibrant business to a community that JUMPS at the chance to protest what it DOESN'T WANT. Who wants that kind of negativity and hassle? The latest item to enter the fray is the "War on Walmart." From what I have read on these pages and others, there exists a "RIGHT" side of the issue and a "WRONG" side, and many out there willing to label us.
The fastest way to losing a strong, cohesive and positive community is to divide it into "us" and "them" -- no matter who "they" are. And it comes down to FEAR again, fear of losing something or things. There is a contingency in Altadena that is very afraid. Could it be that the only thing that we have to fear is "fear itself"? And if so, what are we SO afraid of?
There existed for years, an ugly run down abandoned building on the corner of Lincoln and Figueroa. The property owner -- when queried -- has been trying to attract a business for that location for eight years, with no success. When finally a business came along that is willing to take a chance on the unwanted site, there is HUGE protest because the business is a Walmart grocery store -- and "WE DON'T APPROVE" -- at least those on the "right" side don't approve. Where was the protest over the empty, ugly, abandoned building?
Where is our protest over the big hole on Lake Avenue? Where are the picketers and meetings over our embarrasing blighted buildings, empty businesses and non existent shopping areas? Yes, as the Music Man said, "We've got TROUBLE" -- and it is here in Altadena -- but it isn't Walmart! It is the fear of losing things. Instead of focusing on the fear, is it possible to be proactive and NOT let the worst happen? Let's focus on supporting ALL business in Altadena. Focus on filling the empty stores that have been sitting vacant. Focus on getting the owner of the Rite Aid center to upgrade it from its current eyesore status. Focus on getting a shopping area on the corners of Lincoln and Altadena Drive. Let's take all this negativity, name calling, partisanship being used against Walmart and refocus it on what can be done to IMPROVE, not prevent.
Are we going to let FEAR govern us instead of governing ourselves?