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September 6, 2011 > Editorial: Community Resources

Editorial: Community Resources

Consumers typically make an attempt to measure the quality of a product in relationship to its utility and desirability. This is not a static formula; in some cases, durability is not of prime importance while in other situations, it is the primary factor. For instance, purchase of inexpensive automobile tires with a warranty for 100 miles would be viewed negatively when safety and extended use are required. Even when products are presented as relatively equal, differences of attitude, appearance and optional features can sway a buyer in one direction or another.

The same can be said for communities. Attitude and vision of those within an area is not only measured by fellow residents but by others who visit and consider investment and/or residency. Value is a function of not only empirical data, but a community's approach to challenges. Who is in charge and how do they respond? Within this milieu, communities rely on a series of attributes to assess relative value of their own worth and others around them. Those that depreciate natural advantages and elements of their surroundings are doomed to wallow in self-depreciation and an inferiority complex that creates rather than eliminates barriers. While some of these attitudes are transitory, the more ingrained they become as a "truth," the more difficult to erase them. In some cases, this situation is more of a manufactured condition than close examination of the facts would support.

At Tri-City Voice, we look around the Greater Tri-City Area and marvel at the wealth of natural resources, historical strength and vitality of our communities. Education, art and culture are alive and well as is a strong community spirit to pull together and support our region. Challenges are certainly present, but we have the resources to not only meet them, but expand beyond the present difficulties. An essential factor in this process is to honor and protect our heritage and assets. When under stress, there is a tendency to accept short term solutions that appear to solve problems but actually create more complex and, in some cases, irreversible future damage. Compromise is necessary in certain instances, but the long range impact must be carefully weighed.

In Fremont, among many hopeful signs, the intention of Whole Foods and Sunflower Farmers markets to develop in the community marks an attitudinal change of national chains and increased perceived value of Fremont and its neighbors. Pacific Commons is developing as a distinct district, but contemplated changes in other parts of the City will test the mettle of our collective will. In Centerville, an important cultural icon - Center Theater - may succumb to poor political and economic decisions. As a pivotal element for redevelopment of this district, the City has done little to fulfill its mission, even with millions of dollars at its disposal. Instead, the Unified Site has been a focus, one that will not stimulate the district and simply panders to the deity of transit oriented development. Without firm action, the theater will be gutted and turned into an office complex with little chance of stimulating the district or financial success. This may have turned into a game of spite rather than an honest attempt to find a solution.

As the game of chicken continues at the State level to see whether redevelopment can overcome a soiled image and money grab from the State, it appears that momentum has been lost for most projects including the Irvington BART station. Even Solyndra, the darling of "green" hopes and promises, has failed. And within this dark cloud, looms an unsettling attitude of media giants who have decided that profits realized from regionalization and mass packaging of news is preferable to the expense of local coverage.

Although the outlook is a mixed bag containing hope as well as disturbing signs, the core of this region remains resilient and strong. Our communities have continued to be productive and persevere - a top quality product. Tri-City Voice remains a steadfast partner of the people and will continue to chronicle the successes and progress we make for a bright future.

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