I was looking through some comments on the East Ridge News Online Facebook page and I came across a question.
“What can I do to help East Ridge? “
The man, Matthew, said that he’s a proud homeowner and has lived here all his life. I’m assuming he has a responsible job and pays his taxes. I believe the man is sincere in his question.
Some people read the news about our city and fall into despair. We’ve got some problems for sure. Run down motels that are used by people to shoot up dope; homeless people who resort to begging in parking lots; a deteriorating business district with empty store fronts on one end of town; rental houses that are neglected by absentee landlords; and the list goes on and on.
Here’s what I suggested to the man who wants to know what he can do.
First, by doing exactly what you are doing. You own your home. Take care of it, like most everyone does. Take responsibility for what is yours, which you are doing. You will lead by example. On my street, when my neighbors get out and start trimming bushes and raking leaves, there’s a “domino” effect – other neighbors do the same thing.
I know this is a small example, but I think it’s true. Hold up your end, and I’m talking metaphorically.
The cops have this theory, “broken window theory,” that basically asserts if a window is broken on a building it breeds contempt and if nobody fixes it, other windows get broken. The problem expands.
I walk down my street and pick up crap that people throw out of their cars. I don’t want to look at it. I pick it up. …. I walk my dog all over my area. I meet my neighbors. I know a little bit about their families, what cars they drive and so on. If I notice something that’s “just not right,” I ask about it.
I call the cops when I see something that’s criminal. The cops respond. Sometimes something gets done.
There was a drug addled daughter of a neighbor down the street. She took advantage of her parents. I think that is what happened in regard to the Edwin Lane shooting. I don’t know that for a fact in this instance. I’ve seen police reports over the last year in that block on Edwin Lane. Most of those reports revolve around drug abuse. It’s a damn shame.
I urge you, Matthew, to stop by the East Ridge Police Department lobby and thumb threw police reports that are made available to the media and the public. Monitor calls for police service in your neighborhood. Be aware of some of the problems. Lock your car at night. I can’t tell you how many auto burglaries I see where people leave their vehicles wide open and leave their checkbook, wallet, passport, computers and weapons inside the car just for the taking of an opportunistic thief.
Go to East Ridge City Council meetings. Listen to what’s going on. You have an opportunity to voice your opinion about pending business before the council. You have the opportunity (5 minutes) to ask questions of your representatives. Why don’t you go to the December meeting (the date is posted on the East Ridge City Website) and ask your council members what you can do to help East Ridge. See what they say. It could be interesting.
Volunteer with the East Ridge Needy Child Fund. Mimi Lowery, the new chairwoman, is begging for people to become involved. As you know, it’s wonderful to give of yourself.
I’m planning a little Christmas gathering at Pioneer Frontier playground on Friday, Dec. 22. I’ve invited Daniel Beard, the pastor at The Crossing Church, to bring his choir. I’m going to have a little fire pit. Santa may show in a red Cadillac convertible, compliments of a neighbor down the street. The gathering has no sponsors and it’s been approved by the City Manager. One small thing at Christmas that I’m doing that just might help lift the perceptions of some people in East Ridge about the state of the city.
I hope to see you as I walk around your neighborhood near OLPH school. I’m the guy in the shorts and ball cap. My old dog is sometimes with me.
That’s what I told the man.