Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Diversity, Dialog and Destinations

As we continue to spring forward in 2012 so does a pile full of issues, lessons, possible teachable moments and pressing dilemmas that keep popping up on the our daily radar screen. Often I get individuals whom ask, "COP 24/7 just how do you decide what your blog will cover or what is the process to determine what makes the cut?" Its very simple. I just take to the "Big Chair" and whatever topic that falls before me that ignites my fingers. It's not quite rocket science, its just COP 24/7 doing its best to keep kicking it and putting it out there.

City Board, Me and U

Last week COP 24/7 urged readers to tune in to cable's LRTV ( Little Rock TV-Channel 11) to check out the goings on concerning the city's Board of Directors proceedings. Most likely you haven't had a chance still yet, but its simply "must see" TV as far as I'm concern. Need drama? They've got it. Need over the top performances? They've got it. Need intriguing monologues and pointed speeches? Believe me, they've got it. Just this week the issues were colorful and at some point comedic as the city goes toe to toe with those pros and cons of the hotly debated Vets Clinic Center, and then there's the newly minted ordinance dealing with C-3 zoning and last but not least the Occupy encampment. Even though I was engrossed in the discussions around the Vet Center, it was the question of adjusting the C-3 zoning code that really caught my attention. Especially as the directors noted that in Ward 1 and 6 there's a increasing amount of "C- food stores" which sell the nefarious trinity of " Beer, Wine and Cigarettes." Director Richardson commented that he was "amused" at the ordinances 5,000 square foot threshold for such stores and Director Doris Wright chimed in that she had issues with such a store that is juxtaposed to a problematic liquor store at 36th and Barrow. Within this flurry of concern was also questions about "community welfare centers," and the location of group homes for parolees. The move to amend the commerical three ordinance was not met with welcome arms as it would not disallow such businesses but rather install an additional review of any applications. The directors and I would have to agree is that it seems that these C-Stores usually owned by other ethic minorities have become entrenched in these neighborhoods and are apart of the "food dessert" concept which Director Richardson said hadn't been addressed by the ordinance. As I surveyed my own neighborhood which has a nearby Kroger but is surrounded by some six to seven C-Stores with assorted panhandling and loitering individuals. New to the area is Kum & Go which attempted a Fair Park site but was thwarted by the local neighborhood association stating that it had had its fill of C-Stores. Since its opening I've totally switched my "quick stop" to the gleaming and service friendly store as oppose to those with zombie clerks who have no clue to customer service. I realize that such stores are often magnetics for those down on their luck, but hopefully the new K& G will keep up its present welcoming and customer oriented vibe. Hopefully, as the board works through the new ordinances administrative ticks they will discover a workable solution that will support commerce but still take into account the fabric of local neighborhoods.

The Social Networking Game

Did I really live pre-My Space, Twitter and Facebook? Why certainly I did and I got along just fine thank you. However it seems today that almost everybody I guess who's anybody must have a Facebook page. If not a page, at least checking someone else's FB page or "friended" by some one on Facebook. From my vantage point, the damn Facebook mash up is almost out of control, if not already gone stupid. Its not the platform itself,  its those folks whom inhabit FB land and more. I didn't have a FB page until a former employee told me that I needed to "get hip and get a page." Since that time, I've been just dumbfounded at the among of personal info, ridiculous exchanges and outrageous chatter that as far as I'm concerned could be left elsewhere. For the life of me, I'm trying to understand why so many of you have put so much value in FB, meanwhile complaining about your privacy if you get shout outs for Apps or all manner of contacts. I have to post item for the organizations that I serve and yeah I use the link supported by this blog, but otherwise I have other important things to do with my time and certainly my life. Recently I've seen so many "digital verbal" jousting matches that I kept wondering why don't these folks either agree to disagree, find some common ground to solve issues or perhaps do the unthinkable and just shut up. I monitor at least three FB pages and the amount of traffic and what I assume is time spent on replying, friending, updating, sharing, linking and posting pictures is staggering. Doesn't anyone have anything else to do? How about doing some volunteer work for a local community based organization or sharing some time on a Board of Directors?  When was the last time you wrote a letter to a friend or perhaps called instead of texting a long lost relative. Its everywhere and I mean everywhere. Case in point is when someone has to check their FB page during dinner is a deal breaker for me. Also recently I had a gentlemen tell me he couldn't meet anybody at the local watering hole. I told him that "if you put down that phone for a few minutes and start having a conversation you just might." I'm taking a stand that I'm not having it!  If you want face time with me, then don't expect me to play second banana to any damn electronic mistress.  I'm on board as the tech train continues to zip along, but I do enjoy the fading art of making conversation. I do it well and really enjoy when a person has something interesting to share or offer me a teachable moment. I've always subscribed to the what I call the Politics of Hello. If you haven't tried saying "hello" to some one you don't know, then try it because one day some one might just return the favor.

From the OOPS File

In yesterdays post, I stated that this Saturday's Community Picnic wasn't being organized by any "group or entity." Not quite. The Stonewall Democrats, a local political advocacy organization is supporting the effort as a "get out the Dem's flavored event. Its potluck and everyone is encouraged to demonstrate their inner "Martha" with you favorite or best dish to share among participants. Contact the Stonewall Democrats for more info or further details.

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