Core Beliefs

1. Start Fixing Things At Home Through Personal Accountability 

When I say start fixing things at home, I mean it quite literally. It all starts with you! Don't be one of those people that sits back and sees everything that is wrong with our community, complains about it, but does nothing to help fix it - we have plenty of those people already! Just do something, anything to make this a better community for us all to live in. You can start by doing as little as mowing your lawn, picking up one piece of trash from the street each day or just get to know your neighbors better. Show some pride in yourself, in your home and in your community. Start with baby steps, like greeting people with a smile on the street as you walk past. Take a bigger step... Volunteer at one of our Visitor Centers and meet the people who want to come here to see what we take for granted. Take an even bigger step and help promote our community by planting flowers Downtown, or cleaning up our beaches after the Fourth of July, or even volunteering to serve on a committee for a local event. Your actions and attitude define our City and every little bit that you do to improve its perception to the outside world helps makes our community so much better.

2. Our Children Are Our Future

Our children are our legacy. They are the ones who will take over our world when we grow old. They are the ones who will take care of us. We need to make sure they are prepared to become productive members of our society and if they don’t, we as parents, as mentors and as role models are the ones to be blamed for that. Of course, we need to make them into good people before we prep them to join the the ranks of adulthood and responsibility. I believe we are failing our children when we coddle them and don’t teach them to respect those who came before them. Parents need to prep them with the life skills to be on their own. They need to let them learn and experience those life's lessons on their own with some parental guidance, of course. Plus, parents should teach their kids about their heritage and family history so they know where they are coming from and can be proud of who they are. Your kids will love and respect you more for helping them grow as a person, and you being hard on them helps them learn how to deal with life's little setbacks with ease. You’ll see a stronger, more confident person emerge and you’ll be proud that you raised them.

Another area where we need to be more active for our children is at school. Schools do the best they can with the resources they have to teach our kids, and should not be the place that raises them. Parents and our schools both need to be involved when it comes to teaching our kids so everyone is on the same page. Parents need to trust our educators and back them up when there are behavioral problems so our kids can get back to learning and not disrespecting their teachers.

As a society, we need to educate them with the basics of living after high school - financial responsibility, living on their own and finding a job if they are not continuing their education. We need to instill in them a great work ethic and to have pride in their work by teaching them problem solving, learning from mistakes and how to communicate well. Not every kid is going to go off to college, so we need to have vocational alternatives for them, like internships with local businesses or even steer them towards entrepreneurship where they can make their own job. When they come out of high school, every young adult should have initiative, be an independent thinker and have the confidence that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

3. Support Local Businesses.

We all complain about not having the shops, theaters and restaurants here that other communities have. Why is that, if there is such a demand? Maybe it's because we don't spend our money here in our own City. You always hear that everything is always better somewhere else. Well, I challenge you to look a little harder right here for what you need or want. It might cost a little more, but whatever cash you spend here, most of it stays here in wages and taxes. You might save some money heading to Oregon to get your groceries, gas and appliances, but you are shorting our community. That sales tax helps pay for local services like bus service, fire protection and police patrols. That gasoline tax helps pay for our California roads; the best in the nation, in my opinion. Every time you spend local, you're investing in your city, county and state. If you don't want services cut and higher taxes, just start supporting our local businesses and help grow our community! If you don’t see something in a local shop that you think they should carry, tell them. If they don’t know what you want, why should they carry it? Nine out of ten times, I bet, our local shop owners will bend over backwards to help you get what you need, either through their shop, or send you to some other local shop. Our local merchants want to help you because they live here too. When you need something, put down that mouse; don’t get into the car to head out of state, just take a little time and pick up the phone and see if they have what you need. It might cost a few dollars more, but feel proud that you’re supporting another family in your community when you shop locally.

4. Support Community-Based Problem Solving.

We need to take care of our own, be it family, local businesses or community-wide challenges. We can't rely on outside help for everything. We need to reach back and use that pioneering spirit that guided us to live here in Del Norte County to resolve our internal issues. We need to come together as a community and do some good old fashioned problem solving. The way the economy is today, we can't sit back and say, "Someone will find some money to fix it," or, "It's not my problem," or, "It doesn't effect me. why should I care?" Well, if it's a problem that effects anyone in our City, then it is our problem, because we are all connected in some way. Let’s sit down and discuss it for a bit. Open it up to everyone and bring all the ideas to the table. If it’s a problem we can solve locally, let’s do it. Figure out what resources we need, what labor is required and how we can overcome all the legal barriers that crop up. Let’s make it a community wide solution. There have been many examples of innovative solutions to local problems throughout our history, like KidsTown, for instance, where we can look back on for guidance. As Americans, we are the most giving people on the planet - we help everyone. So, why not give that time, money, whatever back to your community to make it great? Let’s work together, locally, and solve the problems we can here at home.

5. Serve Your Community

Serving your community doesn't mean you have to run for office like I'm doing. There are many ways you can help make Crescent City and Del Norte County a better place to live. For starters, you could just attend a public meeting and voice your opinion about what's going on. You could attend a public event, even bring a friend and see what's happening in your town. You could volunteer to help set up, or take down, or even help organize a public event. These are all great ways to serve your community and get involved, plus, it's pretty satisfying to be part of something that benefits others in your community.

Of course, if you have the time and inclination, I recommend that you get directly involved with the City government and get appointed to a board or commission that oversees certain functions or aspects of the political process, such as the Planning Commission or Downtown Crescent City District Board. And, if you really want to serve your community, run for City Council and help guide our community into the future. Your involvement, in whatever capacity, will be beneficial to the City. A friend of mine always says, "Be part of the solution;" so don't sit back and just criticize, get in there and help out. Serve your community and be proud that you’re making it a better place to live.

© Ron Gastineau 4 DN 2012