My town is divided between the West and East sides. I live on the West Side and would have it no other way. My side of town is the historic part with remnants of once-grand Victorian lemon groves, of wartime population growth, of history that spans over 100 years. The East side was primarily cow pastures in all their peaceful glory until about 15 or so years ago when housing developments pushed the farmers God knows where. The East side is a really nice-looking community, but one that mirrors every other development built in my lifetime.
To outsiders, Chula Vista has a reputation for being gang-ridden and run down. These people are obviously unaware of the peaceful and gorgeous middle-class neighborhoods that populate most of the West Side, but the reputation remains. I don’t really care what they think – I love my town fiercely and unconditionally. But it is true without a doubt that the government has poured all of its resources into the East Side in these recent years (a fact that has obviously backfired in this housing climate, as most of the newest developments remain empty, like a shiny new ghost town).
As a perfect example, I often point out that my high school, which has the magnet program for the Creative and Performing Arts was looked over when the government decided to build a beautiful new multi-million-dollar theatre at Eastlake High School. Where is the logic in that? Eastlake has no magnet for Performing Arts! The Students of Chula Vista High School were hurt and offended at best. We felt the city government made the choice to pour yet more money into the richer schools where it was not needed as badly. Meanwhile we had to – I SWEAR I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP – wipe our asses with paper towels as the school’s daily supply of toilet paper ran out by 10am each morning (and the paper towel supply was gone by noon).
Our city is in a desperate budget crisis right now. They are threatening to cut library, rec center, and other community programs. They are having to cut back on fire funding. They tried to raise the sales tax here one cent for the next ten years, but, sadly, that did not pass. I support their decision to cancel the fireworks show last year and this because, frankly, I think it pales in comparision to the other things we need to spend money on right now.
But then I saw this sign last week. And it hurt and offended me so deeply I am not sure I will be able to put it into words.
I understand that we live in a free country and that ensures our Eastlake residents to hold their own private show. Please don’t respond with that bullshit. Sometimes we have to look beyond what is rightfully ours and into what we should do for others.
This enrages me. Are the residents of Eastlake afraid the poor people might run in and take over? They don’t want us with our torn and filthy clothes, with our overpopulation of children who run around like animals disobeying authority? Are they afraid they might get stabbed or that gangs might let loose with graffiti right in the middle of the crowd? I cannot think of any reason aside from fear which would cause them to remain so elitist in these hard times.
Honestly, if Eastlake is going to have this attitude – to exclude other citizens of their own City from events such as these which celebrate for us all – they can just secede and form their own city. It would be much less hurtful. We are, after all, talking about more than half of the City here – this is not some small country club! This is an entire region which is holding a celebration the rest of us are not invited to. And it is wrong.
This does not effect my personal plans for fireworks viewing – my family has a little park we like to go to which is situated on a hill and so we have views of many shows all the way to Downtown San Diego and beyond. But to be so blatantly unwanted and disallowed from something such as this… is just offensive.
Screw you, Eastlake.