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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Switching Channels from Same Sex Relationship TV Shows

I eagerly awaited the premier of a dramatic series on television this week.  But, in the first 15 minutes I was ready to switch channels.  The dramatic series storyline includes a gay main character.  This is the world we live in.  But for some reason the writers for the television show decided that the act of these two male characters kissing lustfully was essential to the story line.  Well I don't think it was.  It just seemed another attempt for the television entertainment industry to push out to the viewer the image of same sex relationships being the norm.  Since the industry has decided to push out that image I have decided to push back and will no longer watch that dramatic series unless they tone down the same sex story line.

There are several television shows that  depict same sex relationships.  The entertainment industry for some reason has decided that this is what people want to see.  Men kissing each other.  Women kissing and groping each other.  What was pornography in the 1960s is now mainstream television in the year 2015.  My individual reaction is to watch something else, because I have a choice.  As a writer I can also write stories that don't depict same sex relationships.  I have a choice.  Will those stories ever be produced and be on television?  The odds are against that ever happening, but that isn't important to me.  Just as writers have the freedom to write stories that depict same sex relationships, I have the right to depict stories that don't depict same sex relationships.

What I don't like is the entertainment industry thinking that most people want to see same sex relationships on mainstream television.  The entertainment industry is promoting same sex relationships as being the norm.  The entertainment industry doesn't care if young kids see these images or if the young kids copy these images.

Thankfully we have a choice to switch channels.  I am exercising that choice.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Presidential Debate Follies

I have yet to watch any of the Republican Presidential debates.  The field of Republican Party candidates was more than 10 when I last checked.  Entertainment rather than substantial discussion of issues seemed to be prevalent in the debates.  The entertainment soundbites of the debate is what the media shared.  The candidate who made the most outrageous comments has been the frontrunner. That candidates comments ranged from offensive to border line racist/sexist.  But the popularity polls continued to show him as leading the pack.  That says much about those who vote and what the media cares about.

Thankfully the outrageous remarks candidate is now starting to slide downward in the polls.  Maybe reason and common sense is starting to take root.  The idea of a President who offends others with his/her comments rather than trying to link people together is a scary thought.  Hopefully that candidate will become an afterthought in a couple of months.

Next comes the first Democratic Party Presidential debate.  We can only hope and pray for more substance in discussing issues rather than entertainment and name calling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Black Man's Prayer

I pray that when I have contact with people,  I am not immediately judged based on negative stereotypes, fears, apprehensions, and negative images displayed and promoted by the media about black men.  I pray that I am given the chance to display who I am based on my actions and words. I pray that as I walk along a street or in a store I am greeted with a smile and not a frown. I pray that I am not profiled as being a dangerous and suspicious person.  I pray that I am honored and respected even if I am not an athlete or an entertainer.  I pray that people are not surprised when they receive excellence from me. I pray that if my car should break down in the middle of the night and I seek help, people will not fear me, call the police and I wind up being shot to death because the police too fear me at night unarmed.  I pray that when I stand outside a metropolitan hotel checking my smartphone I will not be tackled by a policeman, thrown to the ground, handcuffed and lead away like a common criminal.  I pray that I will not be shot in the back by a policeman claiming to be fearful for his life.  I pray for opportunity. I pray for fairness.  I pray.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

When Simple Government Fails

Basic services deserve basic replies.  Issues with our streets, roads, and highway are areas where due to the public safety impact you would expect quick, swift responses to problems/issues.  Such is not the case in the State of Indiana.

In the past year I noticed a couple of simple issues with signs, absence of pedestrian crossing signals, and poorly placed street markings on streets/raods near my home.  Building of new homes has increased the number of single family homes in the area.  At the intersection of Olio Road/CR 600W and 96th street is a signal light for traffic control.  Left turn and right turn signals have been installed.  Pedestrian bike/walking/jogging trails have been built.  Several of these trails cross the busy intersection at 96th and Olio Road.  But, despite the increased population and the building of the trails, a pedestrian signal has not been installed at this intersection.  A pedestrian signal does exist at 104th street and Olio Road to assist joggers, walkers, and bikers to cross that busy intersection in a safer mode.

In the Spring of this year I sent a note to the Hamilton County Highway Department pointing out the need to install a pedestrian crossing signal at 96th and Olio Road.  The response was that pending any unforeseen problems a pedestrian signal would be installed in the Fall of 2015 or the Spring of 2016.

Earlier this year I had also sent a note to the Hamilton County Highway Department that the road markings on Olio Road headed south toward 96th Street, needed to be changed.  Road markings that the right lane is for right turns only are too close to the intersection.  Drivers unfamiliar with the area are having to merge over into the left lane at the last second creating hazardous merging conditions.

The common theme in both examples above is that the lack of action could lead to injury or death of pedestrians or motorists.  In both instances the governing agencies have been unable to take action to implement basic responses to improve the safety of the public using the streets and roads.  Of course if there were numerous accidents and several instances of deaths in these areas due to the lack of corrective actions, the responses would be quicker and the problems fixed.  

It is unfortunate that death and injury is a prerequisite to implementing changes needed.  But such is the nature of man.  We don't take an action until something bad happens to people.  Otherwise we think, "well nothing bad has happened so there is nothing to fix".

Citizens should expect basic services and protections from our governing bodies.  My thoughts are that if a governing body can't respond quickly to simple road fixes, we are in trouble if we expect them to respond to the intricate detailed problems that exist.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Home Owners Association - HOA Madnesss

I'm preparing to attend a meeting of our HOA this evening.  The topic is voting to raise the amount we dedicate each month to the reserve fund.  We paid some $3,000 to $4,000 to have a consultant analyze the needs of the community and provide proposed recommendations to the Board.  Our HOA Board had the consultant walk through about 10 Powerpoint slides last month giving us a broad overview of how much money would be needed to replace or repair major components.

After the briefing there were several questions from owners.  Then there was a push by the HOA president to have us vote the following week to approve the proposed increase in funds we pay to the reserve fund.  The actual report was not made available to owners.  I asked to review the report and had to travel to our property managers office to do so.  Within the report was a section with a proposed expenditure schedule.  It outlined when and how much would be spent each year for various repair or replacement of components.  I pointed out to all the owners that this document existed and wondered out loud why voters were not given the information, especially at our meeting?

No response from the Board.  Then today I noticed the minutes from a July HOA Board meeting had a discussion about the Board not agreeing with all of the findings of the consultant.  The Board mentioned in the minutes developing a two year maintenance plan that would be used to decide what to spend reserve fund monies on.  None of this was mentioned at our meeting.

So now in about an hour and a half we will meet, without all the information we need and possibly vote on funding our reserve fund.  Why would the Board not share with us all the information?  Maybe we'll find out but I doubt it.  I've heard about HOA communities being confrontational and at times a nightmare to deal with.  I think I'm seeing some of those concerns in action.

One thing our Board has done is establish a policy where owners are allowed to propose changes to common areas e.g., planting trees or in our case building  a fence to keep trespassers out.  But, our Board has gone the extra mile and now says once owners pay for the changes the HOA will then pay for the maintenance of those items.  What the maintenance costs are is something unknown at this point.  I wondered if someone damages the fence the owner has put up is the repair called maintenance?

I had an idea that additional security lighting should be installed along a dark area of our community. The idea fell flat with some owners embracing the darkness.  So, I backed off and will just do what I can to ensure the area near my condo is illuminated enough for safety.

One thing I've noticed is that the lack of communication and sharing of facts leads to emotions being on edge.  Tones of voices get very unfriendly.  Hopefully this evening calm and reason will prevail.

Next Day.  Well, the meeting was calm and to the point.  Our HOA Board presented a 2 year maintenance plan that was approved by a vote of 51 to 13.  Why the Board did not present the 2 year plan at the original meeting is puzzling.  Streets being fixed and buildings being painted was the emphasis of the 2 year plan.  The $50 monthly increase in what we pay into the reserve fund wasn't a welcome added expense, but to keep the community looking good it was a necessary expense. Next up  in October, discussion and approval of our yearly budget for 2016.