Oct 9, 2013

Rewarding bad behavior gets expensive

Bravo to the Eureka City Council for unanimously passing the Hotel Lodging Permit Ordinance, which penalizes hotels or motels that misuse and city fire and police resources. Rewarding bad behavior is costly. It was a rare moment when City Council members and the public and staff were in unison on an issue.
Now if there was only a way to recognize local businesses that engage in good civic behavior and professional management and good customer service.
There is -- support those businesses. Money talks. Not filthy rich? No problem. Even your daily latte and coffee gives you a voice. Not proportionately, but you catch my drift.
There is one missing element certain people continue to ignore when we discuss problems that directly impact homelessness, affordable housing, lack of jobs, trashed city streets, empty storefronts. The same elephant in the room that no one talked about during the city council meeting: Substance abuse.
It was not necessary. We all know the underlying effects substance abuse has in every facet of our daily lives locally and the damage is financial and environmental. Yet why are certain people silent and continue to only blame local elected officials or the police or someone else to solve the problem and file frivolous lawsuits misdirecting anger at businesses and individuals that are not the problem.
This summer while having my favorite brew at a local pub, I joked with a friend that I was going to suggest a reality show for Humboldt. City Eye for the Humboldt Guy. It isn't an original idea and I was not being serious. However, if it gets used, I claim royalties!
My premise was dragging a grower out of the hills, getting a local salon to give him a haircut, beard trim or shave, put him in khakis and a button-down shirt, and taking away all his cash (and the errant credit card if he had one) and having him apply for a real job. To top it off, he would actually have to secure a date without those crumpled cash bills as an incentive.
With all that untaxed money, you would think some of these budding entrepreneurs would bother to look like they take a shower and dress better.
You know the guy I am talking about, the one that never had any talent or social skills to get a real job, one that does not have the college debt, the one you are better looking than except for the cash, the one who has a new girlfriend every day. Locally, with the famous underground economy, he is the preferred catch?
Looking around at the devastating effect substance abuse has had on this beautiful area, levity is all one can muster sometimes to stay sane and not be discouraged.
These days the message we are sending is that a man does not need to treat women well or be a good provider with a job that isn't related to getting people addicted? And women who chose these men whether they are dressed in suits or sweats aren't empowering themselves, they are settling for the weaker choice.
How many of you that have power or influence or are cool would have that status if you spoke out? Next time the street does not get swept, next time you complain about a rundown motel, next time your rent goes up because of someone who does not want to bother to take responsibility for their actions and expects society to enable their selfish “only me” attitude, look at what you contributed by your silence for decades.
To paraphrase JFK, “My fellow Humboldtians, ask not what your county can do for you, ask what you can do for your county.” Are you willing to give up the easy money and being popular to have a better life?