It’s the strangest thing trying to figure out the temperament of a community. You never quite know what exact button is to push before the community gets excited about things. Whether it is for pain or pleasure getting a bead on this town is not always easy.
What do the majority of Altadenans care about enough that would to inspire them actively participate? Where are the hot buttons that would motivate the masses? Although there are a few trends, not many grow to the level of rallying the troops to make changes.
Back during the 1960s there were many issues to fight. The majority of people were so dissatisfied with the status quo that they were willing to come out and show their disdain. It didn’t take much to get people motivated.
Even though the rebellious spirit seemed to have originated on college campuses it became a national movement that rallied people all across our nation, and eventually this movement instituted great social changes.
Once the protest was on the horizon, people stayed engaged until significant changes were made. We fought against the Vietnam war, racial discrimination, religious hypocrisy or anything that was considered to be “the establishment.”
But what about this generation? What about this town? Where are the hot buttons? What would make people join forces in order to affect change today?
When it comes to our local schools, both public and private, Altadenans seem to take very firm stands to fight for what they perceive to be a proper education of their children.
Last year, when people came out in droves to express their dissatisfaction. Even though two schools ultimately were closed or converted to other usage, it was not without a good fight from the people.
Just recently and still on going is a in a peaceful neighborhood. Many Altadenans came out to passionately express their views about what was most important to them.
Rarely do you see an issue where both sides have very good and legitimate claims for what they consider precious. A quality school is a very noble cause because of its potential impact upon the future of our community. Maintaining the quiet peaceful enjoyment of your neighborhood is also a cause worth fighting.
It is hard to demonize either side of this equation because both are fighting for what they perceive to be great causes. Unfortunately there will be a winner and a looser in reference to this particular project.
There was also a project proposed to re-stripe Lake Avenue from Altadena Drive upward. A few neighbors came out to express their dissent and some came to support it because it could possibly slow the traffic as they race down Lake Avenue. This would create a safer environment for those walking or riding bikes on that stretch of road.
Ultimately the project was approved on a trial basis, but I do believe the community will have the right to re-visit the success of this experiment if it doesn’t work in the manner proposed. If you look closely the test stripes are already in progress.
The fact is there are many things that are not ideal for our community and many that we could change if we organized enough to fight for what we want. Unfortunately until an issue hits people directly where it hurts them most, they usually don’t get involved.
Imagine someone hacking into your personal bank account and taking all your money, would that encourage you to fight for your rights? Imagine if they did this to your immediate neighbors, would that encourage you to fight for your neighbors?
Imagine if the hackers who robbed your neighbors were casing your neighborhood and if you joined forces to spread the word about the impending danger this threat could be avoided, would that encourage you to take a stand?
The bottom line is we are a community. We could do much better if we were willing to fight for the things we consider to be important. We (the people) need to get involved and stay involved if we want to make things work better on our behalf.
So far only a precious few are waging the battles that all should be fighting. When things are proposed do not stand on the sidelines to wait and see what happens. Keep informed on community issues, actions, proposals, and events. Be part of the solution rather than just accepting the consequences of the battle of others.
When you hear of things that are positive that you know would make a positive change you are the one that should be pushing to bring about the change. Altadena is our community and one worth fighting for the things we need to make it even better.