First of all, let me say this: I want to outlaw all
financial contributions for political campaigns in this country; and
immediately fire all the lobbyists. Turn
them into social workers and send them out to do good works in troubled
neighborhoods, like ours, for example.
Vallejo can use all the help we can get – or can we?
Investors, please take note; I read this startling
information online: “…Standard and Poor’s has raised the City of Vallejo’s investment rating from BB- to BBB
- with a stable outlook. This equates to a three step jump, which equates to
the City has been moved out of the “speculative - grade” category and has
returned to having an “investment grade” rating. Having an investment - grade category
rating means potentially improved investment or borrowing opportunities…”
No doubt the mayor will carry this message to the
world when he travels to the Philippines and Japan later this month.
More good news: Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the
United Nations came to Vallejo to inaugurate an institute whose purpose is “to
improve the fortunes and futures of those 15 to 25 years old.” Young spoke at a meeting in a downtown
waterfront restaurant. He gazed through
the windows and said, “…I don’t know Vallejo, but people tell me y’all have
problems here. I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine a waterfront like this,
the beautiful hills and mountains. Problems? Problems are challenges that make
you invent new solutions.”
Great sounding stuff.
Tidbits like these give me goosebumps and confirm the reasons I chose
Vallejo in the first place. What we
need, in my humble opinion, is a city council full of savvy business people,
interested in developing this jewel of a city to its rightful grandeur as a thriving,
beautiful, historic place in the center of the bay area, and who know how to do
it. Other cities have done it. Why can’t
When I contemplate some of the decisions made by the powers
that be in Vallejo, I think of the mythic wise men of Chelm, those infamous village
idiots who made all the wrong decisions for their town. Case in point: the waterfront utility storage
boxes we paid some well-meaning artist, selected by a jury, to decorate
Other cities pay to get rid of that kind of stuff on their
public walls, but we in Vallejo, with the astuteness of the wise men of Chelm,
paid good money out of our participatory budgeting “beautification program,” to
get graffiti painted on our public waterfront for all the world to see. Ok, if
they want, for pictures of birds and whatnot, although they look so kindergarten/first grade to me, but graffiti, in my opinion,
sends out the wrong message.
Don’t get me started on that sculpture item planted on the
corner of Georgia and Mare Island Way, for all the world to see. Who’s watching the new buildings and designs
on the waterfront? Who’s protecting our beautiful public spaces
from the anything-goes attitude of our arts community? What’s this about a cement factory on primo
riverside property? Really? And how’d some dentist get a hundred year
lease (is that true?) on what in my opinion is the best commercial spot in the
entire city? That gorgeous, grassy place
between the ferry and Independence Park, should contain a fine restaurant, a
lovely tea room, gift shop, hot-dog/taco stand, candy store/ice-cream parlor,
bicycle rental, paddle-boat station, news stand, souvenir studio, summer
bandstand… isn’t that what we want for Vallejo?
I’m off the meds now but unapologetically still cranky. I wish someone would take out the garbage for
I got elected to the Vallejo Board of Beauty and Design and given the title of Board Member. My
outspoken nature might get me thrown out sooner or later, but meanwhile, let me
tell you, sitting up on that dais, practicing the rules of order, speaking into
a microphone in a room open to the public, discussing the beautification of our
city with intelligent talented people who want to improve Vallejo is my idea of
a real good time.
At my first meeting, the only people in the audience were my
sister and brother-in-law who flew in from Florida to help celebrate my
birthday that week, and took pictures of me sitting up there on my high horse.
My squeaking caught the attention of the mayor who invited
me to his office to make plans for Independence Park. We both want a park we can be proud of, and
the Mayor has promised he will make it happen.
I call him the Giver of the Green Light and believe he’ll keep his word.
At the risk of being lynched, I wish to say I love Mayor
Osby Davis. I know it’s inflammatory
and revolutionary to talk such words on these hallowed pages, in the very annals
of the infamous angry finger-pointing VIB that I admire and respect, but I’m
here to tell you I’m quite fond of this handsome dark-skinned fellow who lords
it over our city, with his quiet voice and sharp zoot suits.
The mayor is a gentleman, warm, charming, eager and able to
help. When we sit and talk together, plotting and planning the creation of
Independence Park, it’s as though I’m with my father. His voice is gentle and reassuring. With all due respect, I feel like I could sit
on his honorable lap while he tells me he’ll support my efforts and that I
should keep moving forward with my project.
He’s my daddy.
I went to City Hall last week and watched the vote on
whether or not to pay for the mayor’s travels, with councilwoman Verder-Aliga,
to Japan and the Philippines, which turned out as expected.
That night, however, I was especially interested in the main
feature of the evening, the final showdown between our Mayor and City Council
members, and the lawyers for the medical marijuana dispensary people. Our City Manager presented the case simply
and eloquently. He enumerated all the
facts and figures that boiled down to this: spend a million dollars to fight
them, or give them what they want. The vote
came in loud and clear; give it to them, with the mayor casting the only no
Then there were parents who got up to express
heart-wrenching fear for their children’s safety in our schools, demanding a
meeting with the school powers to deal with intolerable bullying and violence
in our schools. Violence in the
schools! Is there anything worse? How did Standard and Poor miss that? We must change that immediately.
By 9 PM I was worn out and decided to return home and watch the rest of the show on TV. Once
home I did some stuff and started up the stairs to my bedroom when I realized
I didn’t have my mobile phone. Heart
pounding, I ran to my garage (ha, I can’t run, I just think about it and lose
my breath), drove back to City Hall, climbed the front steps, burst into the
room where they were in recess, and stumbled right into the mayor.
“What happened?” he asked, helping me with the oxygen tank
falling off my shoulder. “I’ve lost my
phone,” I blurted, hardly able to speak. Calmly, he asked, “Where were you sitting?” and
while I led him to the spot near the front of the room, he told me he had lost
his phone once and it was an awful experience. I pointed to my chair. He got down on his knees and searched under
the seat. After a moment he looked up, smiling
from ear to ear, and handed my precious little Samsung over to me. I was so happy I threw my arms around him and
cried with joy.
So, if you happened to have caught me in the act of hugging
the mayor in City Hall that night, and were wondering what the heck is going
on, you now know.