By Michele Coxon, Special to Riptide
Psychiatrists are now writing books on the lack of empathy found in our society/culture among younger folks overly connected to new technologies, but apparently still alive and well among those of us who experienced life before technology.
I speak of Kathy Meeh and the hateful comments by her and others on her Fix Pacifica blog. Strangely, City Council candidates Mike O'Neill and Victor Spano have been endorsed by her and would appear to share her hateful opinions.
Pacifica is a microcosm of what is ailing our larger community. We have had City Councils unable or unwilling to make any definite moves in any direction, much less right ones, concerning the plight of small businesses, preferring to cater to Big Money from out of town ready to exploit any and all opportunities—namely, multimillion-dollar homes none of us can afford to live in and horrors such as the proposed highway-widening project, which many in town are fighting hard to stop.
These things do not encourage the tax base needed to keep Pacifica viable. They encourage outside money and its inevitable influence to decide for us what we want and need.
I recently had a conversation with someone who owns a small cafe in town and he was very passionate about his plight. I had to do some fast talking about why the highway widening is a bad idea and how it won't help him at all. His desperation and exasperation with City Hall were moving.
Three council candidates (Keener, Digre, and Dougherty) have taken a firm stand on a controversial issue—the highway widening—which is amazing in itself, and it gives me hope that these same three will take action on other important issues facing Pacifica.
Building Bigger and More requires Bigger and More of everything else to support it, which in turn can move things in exactly the wrong direction for sustained growth and quality of life here. Small businesses CAN survive with local support, with some creativity on their part, and with a supportive local government that gives a damn.
Then we would not need a wider highway, outside money, bigger homes, and less open space, and it also would not mean that our economy remains stagnant. This place is unique. Its uniqueness needs to be understood and developed, not covered over with concrete and unchecked development.