Floating Above the Infrastructure

Lake Woolford, Friday Oct. 22
Lake Woolford, Friday Oct. 22

Like many other folks in my neighborhood, I woke up last Friday to discover that I had waterfront property. A water main had broken, and the street flooded up to the curb, and in more than one case, over our front lawns. I was so amazed at the expanse of the water, I could do nothing more than stand at my window for several minutes, and ponder what to do next.
Because I have awesome neighbors, things were taken care of – agencies were called, services were alerted, people whose cars needed to be moved out of the street were awakened. By the time I checked in, there was really nothing to do but wait for the tide to go out. I had a few thoughts, but the one that really stayed with me was the one I had a few years ago, when a program I was watching was interrupted for tsunami warning; this wonderful life, that I love so very much, is as fragile as a fresh egg.
Everything we rely on in this little slice of suburbia is supported by limited resources. Our roads, our electricity, our water supply, all rest on structures that we don’t maintain the way that we should.
I have recently become an expert (and something of a maniac) in deferred maintenance. For the last several weeks now that my residence is simply mine, I have sanded and painted, I have trimmed trees and tossed recycling, I have added curtains and carpets and scrubbed until my hands ached. While adding another coat of paint to a bathroom wall late one night, the movie “No Time For Sargeants” popped into my mind, and I recalled Andy Griffith bragging “I’ve scrubbed them faucets so hard they don’t even say hot and cold no more.”
In the past, the issue was always one of expense. Whatever it was, we couldn’t afford it. The fact of the matter is that we can’t afford not to.
While Golden State Water did respond promptly, we need to talk about preventing this kind of problem from recurring.The city was there, with the fire department trucks and the Public Works equipment. But these pipes are almost a decade overdue, and just like that earthquake we’re all waiting for, it’s not a question of if, but when.

Infrastructure everywhere is in a sad state. The money to keep things in repair simply isn’t there. So while we discover how we can maintain our current structures with our limited resources, it’s also the moment to shift how we cultivate what we need.
The solar panels, the vegetable gardens, the rain catching devices – are not just cute, trendy ways to be “green.”  We need to know that the less we rely on the grid, the better off we are. The fewer people using these resources, the easier it will be to begin the shift into alternative ways to support our cities and our selves.

It was amazing to see the street reappear as the water drained. It was also astonishing to me the number of times I simply turned on a tap, expecting water to flow out of it, when my conscious mind knew that the water was off until the repairs were done. Change is challenging.
And we just can’t afford not to.

And if It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it –
Monday, Oct. 25, Item J-2 on the City Council/Redevelopment Agency Agenda will be about making major changes in the Summer Concert Series. I happen to like the Summer Concert Series just the way it is. I’m devoted. I can count on one hand the number of shows I have missed in all the years I have attended. I can barely imagine anything in Culver City less in need of change. Gary Mandell does an outstanding job. The crowd is never rude or unruly, and I could write a book (hey- that could be fun) about all the helpful people, spontaneous friendships, and wonderful evenings I have had at these shows. Where else in life do you have the opportunity to share food, drink wine, and dance with 300 of your best friends?

Different acts draw different crowds, of course. Some nights, the energy is there and some nights it isn’t. But changing the time or the rules or the venue will just kill it off. If that’s the intention (maybe we can’t afford the summer concerts- maybe the time has come to cut them out of the budget – maybe anyone saying this out loud will be pelted with metaphorical rotten tomatoes) then so be it. But there is so much more here than just numbers.

I cannot believe we have to waste time every single year on debating how to change the concert series. Music enriches our lives in so many ways. Having a venue that is so family-friendly and so charming makes the concert a perfect Culver City event. It does not need to change at all.

If you want to make a statement to the City Council- about music, about water, about anything – come to the Mike Balkman Council Chambers tonight at 7, fill out a speaker card ( left entrance, table with agendas as you enter) and wait for your name to be called.
You can tell them you came to the Crossroads.

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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