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A View from the Mesa: Pay attention to the city this fall

October 06, 2011|By Crissy Brooks

I'm embracing fall.

I ate soup. I bought boots. I even started school. It was shaping up to be a fine autumn.

Then the rain came, announcing the new season in not-so-subtle ways. I went out for a run in the morning, and almost immediately, it started to come down.

I saw how happy my dog was running, unbothered by being wet. We kept going and I embraced her joy, the joy of being out and freedom of running.

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As I ran, I thought back to the last time I stood without care in the rain. It was earlier this year, in March on the day hundreds of people came to "Circle the City."

In an unlikely downpour, people came out to stand around City Hall and pray. Some of us stood, heads bowed, letting the water wash over us in hopes it would bring healing refreshment to our city.

It was a solemn day, as we embraced the pain of our city after the layoffs and maintenance worker Huy Pham's tragic death. It was a significant moment for many of us to come together and pay attention to what was happening in the place we call home.

Now, six months later, the memory is a bit dulled. The urgency to be informed and speak out has burned down to embers.

And yet decisions that affect us and our city are made each week. Questions of accountability and personal interest pop up regularly but without the hubbub of full council chambers.

I was reminded of this by a friend just yesterday. He spoke about the need to wake people up, to see what is happening in front of us. Then, on the drive home, I heard Sarah Palin saying the same thing on the radio.

It seems that all over the political spectrum we have been lulled into disinterest and blind trust. Or maybe it's that we feel powerless to make change, so we quit trying. At any rate, the hype of big publicized decisions dies down and we, the residents, are pulled back into our lives of study, making soup, raising children, working jobs and buying boots.

I really wanted to write a column about my new boots, to tell you about my fall wardrobe I have pieced together. I would love to publish the recipe for the rustic Tuscan soup my cousin made last night.

But as I sit and reflect on what to share with my beloved Costa Mesa, I'm compelled to add an activity to my Fun Fall Activities list this year.

I must re-engage and pay attention to decisions being made by our City Council and beyond.

As the season changes, maybe it is your chance to make a call or write an email. The council meetings are every other Tuesday and you can see the agenda online.

Come. Watch on TV. Write the editor of this fine paper a letter with your thoughts on Costa Mesa.

Follow the city or its Chief Executive Tom Hatch, or both, on Twitter. Attend a committee meeting.

Read the 10-year plan online. As we wrap up this important year for Costa Mesa, let's be people who know about and speak into what happens in our city.

CRISSY BROOKS is co-founder and executive director of Mika Community Development Corp., a faith-based nonprofit in Costa Mesa, where she lives.

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