FROM THE DESK OF MAYOR JONES
Well, here we are. Children are back in school, vacations are over, and we are settling in to reality. During the summer months we had another successful year with our park programs, we gave out scholarships, helped many children with our back to school give-away, the installation of bus benches, the upgrading of McTyre Park’s parking lot, the preparation of 56th Avenue for construction, and other projects are on the table for future implementation. Much thanks to our City Administrator and his staff, who successfully applied for and received grants that will aid us in making our city a more appealing place to live. As elected officials we want to earn constantly your confidence and support. I read a story about how U.S. Marines, trained for duty in Iraq were getting drilled in people skills as well as heavy weaponry. They were receiving instruction about staying respectful as well as staying alive. Marines are still taught to fight. They are gifted in heavy weaponry and with the tools to use them effectively; but in order to diffuse hostility borne of suspicion they are taught to ask questions first and shoot later. Yes, there is great risk to such a strategy. An enemy certainly can exploit it for his purposes, and Marines still will have to be alert to defend themselves, but they are being asked to believe that people in Iraq “can still be won over if American troops treat them with more dignity, patience and understanding.” So they are being asked to use their fighting skills wisely, to employ them with discretion, remembering the greater mission of working with the people of Iraq to promote peace. This means they will sometimes pull back instead of fighting. Some of their intimidating apparel is removed. The course talk and the gruff demeanor, which are so much a part of the military’s image of power, are toned down. It is not just semper fi anymore. It is semper respectful. That is the way it has got to be when you are trying to win the peace. Wars are fought and won with an indiscriminate use of force; but if you are trying to build consensus you need to exercise your power with greater precision and tact. You need to use the tools at your disposal with greater care so as to unite and not divide, so as to encourage and not dissuade, and that is true, as well, when it concerns a Nation, a state, or a city. For the sake of this article, I will focus on our city. The city is a part of our lives. We know what we mean when we make statements about “our city” because we have certain ideas about what it stands for. As elected officials we are expected to build up the city. While doing this we are to be respectful, considerate, and concern about the needs of those who elected us to serve and not just our own. We are to work for the greater good of all as our ultimate goal. With your input and help we will strive to do this. There is scarcely a direction you can look in West Park without seeing someone hard at work making our city the great place it is to live and raise our families. We have many excellent volunteers and are always looking for more people who care about West Park and want to be part of making it a great place to live, work, and play. At this point I want to give a shout out to our city staff, city commission, and all the volunteers here in the city. Although we have a small staff, they accomplish a lot. They work very hard and sometimes do the work that two or three people do in other cities. I also want to say to our city commission that I appreciate all that we do together. We have had some hard decisions to make and been able to find common ground with the good advice of our City Manager. I know that hours are spent going through information so as to make decisions with the best interest of the city at heart. I cannot reiterate enough how grateful we are for our volunteers. There is no way we could have such a lean staff without the volunteers who work to make West Park a great place to live. This spirit of volunteerism is one of the many reasons it is great to live in West Park! On another note, let us remember that if we are going to have a great city there are certain rules that must be adhered to. The city of West Park strives to maintain a healthy community and has adopted Ordinances to assist in maintaining the health and safety of its residents. Adherence to the ordinances is necessary to promote a safe, healthy, and neighborly community. Code enforcement follows guidelines that the city has set in it resolutions and ordinances. They are not out to make your life miserable but to keep our city clean and you, the resident safe. I hope all will understand our efforts to maintain a clean and safe city and not see it as intimidation. Often a timely response to any violation can work in your favor.
Planning for a better tomorrow– starts with keeping strong our commitment to the safety and quality of life here in West Park today. Enough said about that. I want to close by leaving you with a few safety tips.
TO SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME:
- Keep all windows and doors closed and locked even when you are home.
- Install a deadbolt and peepholes.
- Leave a front porch light on all night; motion sensing lights add extra protection.
- Trim or eliminate shrubbery where a criminal could hide.
- Make an inventory of your valuables, include serial numbers, make and model, and store them in a safe place. Purchase an engraving tool for items that do not have serial numbers. Use a unique number (not your social security number). This facilitates the return of stolen property.
- Roll the windows all the way up and always lock your car even if it is parked in the garage.
- Never leave the keys in an unattended vehicle, even to let it warm up in the morning.
- Remove all personal property from your car.
- Report crimes, call 9-1-1 for situations involving immediate threat to live, safety, property or any crime in progress. Call the BSO to report suspicious circumstances or any other matter you think needs the attention of a patrol ofﬁcer.
TO SAFEGUARD YOURSELF:
- Stay tuned in to your surroundings.
- Trust your instincts, if something or someone makes you feel uneasy, avoid the person or leave the area.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling from the straps. Put wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket, rather than the back pocket.
- If you think someone is following you, change directions, and go to a business with lots of people. Do not be afraid to yell for help.
There is a lot you can do to safeguard your home and yourself. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
God bless America and God bless the City of West Park.