Do It Ourselves, number 3

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

The last two of these Dispatches concerned the Pontiac’s general improvement – more jobs, keeping our kids here, better services. Here’s a third DIO.

Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

The last two of these Dispatches concerned the Pontiac’s general improvement – more jobs, keeping our kids here, better services. Here’s a third DIO.
The idea is to not that we look to the government, to some “them” ( as when we say, “they should do this . . . or fix that . . .”) , but to look at what we could do ourselves, for our own benefit.
Governments have their own agenda, and so should we. Waiting shouldn’t be on our agenda. Governments are all about top-down.
Our agenda should be about creativity, curiosity and experimentation, about small things that make real
differences.
The first “dispatch” focused on getting our kids (and ourselves) better
educated, better prepared to find careers, fix problems, see the future coming. The great example here are the several towns in Michigan which are banding together to offer their kids free
university. The town pays the bills (with strict standards). This is working, right now. It’s not a pipe-dream.
The second proposed a self-imposed “arts tax” to support and stimulate our region’s great wealth of artists, musicians, and
creators of all types. It
proposed that every household buy one piece of local, original art every year – to keep our region vibrant and alive, through the arts.
These are not mega-projects; they are, by design, modest – but they’re
achievable, and effective.
The third proposal
is equally uncomplicated. Pontiac enjoys (and
supports) hundreds of
professional people working here, from teachers to surgeons, forest evaluators to managers in government offices. They are well-paid, and work hard. But an informal survey will show that they almost all live
outside. They drive up in the morning and drive out in the late afternoon.
 It would be a big boost to our economy – and especially to our region’s social richness—if they lived here, bought homes here,
participated in local events and organizations, volunteered more, and enjoyed Pontiac’s great recreational assets. We would all benefit – and they themselves would likewise be enriched. We encourage them to live here, maybe even help
identify appropriately-nice housing opportunities.
The cultural and recreational opportunities within the Pontiac and its region are tremendous—and a match for any city, in terms of per-person benefit. There are more artists per resident here than in Montreal! There are more cultural events, per-person, than in Gatineau. The professionals suffer the prejudice that rural areas are backwaters. That’s so silly, because it is so profoundly mistaken. Their own presence here will increase the restaurants, for example, they seek; their involvement will improve the schools they want for their kids.
This is one of many
win-win ideas we usually only hear about. Several organizations are already encouraging local residency and involvement. You and
I can contribute and encourage the professionals to stick around. This is another of those almost-magical pull-yourself-up-by-you-own-bootstraps ideas. Just like supporting the arts or improving our kids’ capacity to succeed in the world. They’re modest, pro-active, and they would work, finally work.