By Martin Lamarque
Martín Lamarque, blogging from Belle HavenUploaded: Oct 8, 2013
This blog is from a Belle Haven resident with a double agenda.
One of course, is to present issues relevant to Menlo Park 's distant relatives across the freeway, with the hope that the discussions begun here, will entice my neighbors to join in, and address problems with the power that community collaboration creates.
The other, murkier agenda, is to use this space to get the attention of City officials, and hopefully their cooperation, to complement the efforts of Belle Haven residents in making our part of the city, a safer, cleaner, and friendlier place to raise families.
I don't consider our authorities responsible for everything bad that happens in my neighborhood. But there are actions that can only be taken by those charged with the job of enforcing the rules.
When a community is abandoned to its own devices, very soon we end up with a situation where the few with the least regard for the law, force the majority to suffer their inconsideration.
Very often, and unfortunately with justified reason, Belle Haven gets into the news for events related to crime. And because crime is the biggest threat to our quality of life, my hope is to create interest in addressing not only the most serious manifestations of crime, but also the different little transgressions that set the stage for bigger ones.
As I write this, and for the last few weeks, there has been a stream of water running down my side of the street. I have been meaning to call the appropriate City department to report such obvious waste of water. But like with many other things, I haven't gotten around to doing it, and apparently, neither have any of my neighbors.
But before you dangle your finger at me, let me tell you that my experience with reporting problems to the city hasn't usually been productive nor reassuring. And when I talk to my neighbors about being proactive, they often tell me that there is no point in even trying. For "when you are poor and (insert minority designation here), they don't care about you."
I am not into conspiracy theories, but after 16 years in Belle Haven, I often wonder whether our elected officials have any serious interest in helping us address the root causes of our problems, or if they will mostly show concern at the point when there is someone lying on the street, bullet-riddled.
This blog is my attempt to change this perception, in me and others; and to force me to don't give up believing that Belle Haven has the potential to become a safe and desirable place to live. I get reminded of this every time I look into the eyes of our little ones, still free from the pessimism and inertia that so many of us adults suffer from.