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Inside East Side

By Martin Lamarque

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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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Martín Lamarque, blogging from Belle Haven

Uploaded: 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.

Comments

Posted by Louise68, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Oct 10, 2013 at 12:39 am

Thank you for your excellent blog. And thank you very much
for trying to make Belle Haven a truly safe and wonderful place
to live. I admire what you are doing.

It is sad, but true, that there is an undeclared class war in
this country, and we are all suffering from it. This war shows
its nasty effects locally in Belle haven and East Palo Alto. But
we are all the poorer when we devalue anyone else just because
the other person is not just like us. Racism is also very real, and
has harmed the entire human race. It shows itself locally in the
reaction your neighbors have gotten from city official when Belle
Haven problems are reported to city officials. I would urge you and
your neighbors not to give up. You probably should organize an action
group, with a good leader. It is much harder to keep on ignoring a
persistent group than an individual. Persistence often wins out over
indifference. Try it! What have you got to lose?

Good luck -- and let us know what happens.


Posted by Carolyn Clarke, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Oct 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

I am also a 16 year resident of the Belle Haven community, and I want to thank you for sharing your concerns and perhaps frustration with ongoing East side issues. Not only do we need to "get the attention of the City Officials," we need to become City and other Government Officials. For this very reason, like a turtle I have stretched my neck way out and have joined the race for a seat on the Menlo Park City Council and Fire Protection District Board.

It\'s not because I have the TIME....but I make the TIME! Not that I have the resources....but I have created the RESOURCES...Not that I have the FINNESSE to be the most eloquent candidate...but I have the DRIVE, and like you and many other East side residents, I too want "a safer, cleaner, and friendlier place to raise families."

My vision is to see the East side emerge as an "Abundant Community"...a diverse highly educated and economically self-sustaining empowered community, which works collaboratively to become a distinct, full-service township and a highly desirable place to live.

We must inspire our neighbors and give them Hope.
We must encourage and support those with leadership potential, and work collaboratively to bring about the CHANGE we so desire!
We must gather our youth and mobilize our community, because "POVERTY is not a CRIME," it is actually a GIFT!
We are the ones, not the City Officials that can do it! YES WE CAN!

Please feel free to email me: cac1324@comcast.net


Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Oct 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Hi Louise.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Things have definitively been stacking up against working class people in the last 30 years of trickle-down economics.
The article in the Mercury News today, about the new crop of young people who are homeless, is just the latest sign of the historical disparity we are living in.


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