The town I live in, like many in the US is faced with stark fiscal realities as money supplies shift and real estate markets go someplace no one thought that they would. It is a time for my little town as well as myself to consider how the future should look.
In a historic review of many great cities, you will generally find that¬† decisions made in times of calamity later proved to be what defined the town. Our neighbor, Santa Barbara is a great case in point.
When an earthquake leveled much of downtown Santa Barbara not long after the turn of the century (Yes a fault runs right up State Street) the city¬† decided to rebuild and embrace its Spanish heritage. The architecture and unique coastal Mediterranean tableau SB enjoys today can be traced back to that fateful time following a calamity.
Now in a fiscal disaster of relatively large proportions, Ventura is faced with similar opportunities. What direction should we go? How do we not only survive as a city but develop as a community? There will be no specific answers coming from me. I gave that sort of thing up many years ago when I ceased being an employer.
However I do have a perspective that could help. I learned it in watching some very great men and women succeed. We need to include everyone. Great leaders know to do this.
There is an odd thing about Democracy. In and of itself, it is undoubtedly one of the single most inefficient forms of Government. One of the wisest men and leaders who ever walked the earth put it simply when he said; “Where there is strife, there is confusion and every evil work”. Democracy and our judiciary upon which government rests, is based on the adversarial system. Two or more parties argue to a successful conclusion. Um yea.
However on a biological level, Democracy works quite well. Ever read up on hybrid vigor? It is one of the facets related to Natural Selection. (Charles Darwin was a very smart and devout human being) Roughly stated it says that the strong and smart survive to breed and in turn the offspring parent a more vigorous, better version of the tribe. THAT is where we can win.¬† As a town and as individuals we should play that card.
What often is not so apparent are the fruit of our collective choices as a community. So I hope that my little town embraces it’s diversity. We have a female mayor.¬† Her name is Christy Weir.¬† Christy, being from Santa Barbara originally, is potentially a very good thing for where Ventura is right now.
Over the years I have met a few of the families which birthed Ventura. Ranchers, farmers etc. The Haileys, (Katherine Hailey had told me about how her Father had mapped the county) the McGraths , the Nyes (David Nye who is an amazingly talented litigator has been my friend and attorney for years). All of them own a unique perspective on this land which I, as a relative newcomer of twenty five years, enjoy learning about. Gracious people. To a fault actually.
The images in this blog arose as I was pondering hate after being sucked into being angry by a rather foolish person. Yes fools exist. Typically they flourish for awhile based on the root of pride. I am always looking for that damned root in myself. Something about mankind makes it intrinsic within our nature. But anger aside, I always try to choose the way of love, though sometimes the public perception one acquires when doing so, may make you appear as an enemy to some people. You see this illustrated repeatedly in History. I won’t go into it in detail. The examples are pretty glaring and obvious.
I shot these illustratives the other day down at Solimar. Indeed all of these were shot in one 24 hour period in a place that a colleague of mine calls my muse, Ventura California. Hawaiians have a term for the feeling of connection to the land. It is Aloha Aina. I understand it better than ever these days. All I did was have a look around to get a dose this time.
Seth Godin has some A list advice for Ventura here. He has an ability to say much in a few words. I aspire to that, and am obviously failing, considering the length of my own posts.
Ed Brenegar who is a leadership mentor and proponent had this to say.
Writer Azel Grizwold passes along this excellent New York Times piece.
A local cultural artist, surfer and part of the movement which is defining Ventura as an oasis of modern cultural art is here. Just one of the many faces comprising a movement. I picked Sean Tully as an example because of his youth and idealism. Two things he owns in great abundance. For now. Sort of like our town.
Click on any of the images within the gallery to read the back story.