At the start of the pandemic, Local 20/20 invited residents to share how they were impacted, and what values, priorities, and visions they had for our future during that unusual time. A total of 170 …
At the start of the pandemic, Local 20/20 invited residents to share how they were impacted, and what values, priorities, and visions they had for our future during that unusual time. A total of 170 residents responded with 140 pages of fascinating, detailed responses, for which Local 20/20 is very grateful.
The responses expressed a wide diversity of opinions, and at the same time, a number of common themes arose relating to the economy, communities and neighbors, healthcare, environment and energy, housing, community services and resilience, attitudes, government, food, and more.
Comments included positive aspects of the crisis such as, “We’re spending more time on what matters” to concerns expressed, “If anything, this crisis has illuminated the ideological divide in our community. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Some responses noted how resilient our community was to the crisis: “It seems to have heightened awareness, of compassion and caring for the welfare of the community as a whole, and rallied many to support our fragile economy, as best we can.”
Others were concerned about the impact on our community “I am experiencing sadness for our homeless, unemployed, and mentally ill citizens...”
Visions for the future included economic aspects, “A greater diversity of employment opportunities — both in-person and remote”; social justice and diversity; “Diversity ... not just in skin color, but in ideas and perspectives”; and the arts, “A future where art and music are supported abundantly and appreciated as much as any other form of work.”
Resources desired included a range of community services including elder care, day care, and an adequate safety net, and affordable housing.
Broadband was also noted. “If we’re going to work at home rather than commute long distances to work, we need to have broadband.”
Some of the existing challenges in reaching this vision included: “A dichotomy in visions for the future — one more tourist-dependent and the other local-focused.”
And that was represented in some of the responses: “Dependence on tourism and low paying, often seasonal, service jobs” was listed as an existing challenge by one respondent, while another noted “We need to encourage tourism in a friendly way.”
Another challenge noted was the economy. “Extreme budget stresses due to COVID that will make it even more difficult to provide for basic needs, much less creative solutions.”
Our community strengths that were mentioned included, “Our ability to rally behind shared visions is one of the biggest.” “We are creative, boot strappy, resilient, and open-minded people with a conscience but individuals who want the space to do what we do.”
Top priorities included housing, and the need for better communication. “Building a sustainable movement for civic engagement to expand the capacity … of our community members to engage in local government and local issues that impact us all.” The economy was third.
In considering the next three to five priorities to work on, the economy topped the list. “Promoting new businesses to locate here, help locals create new businesses” followed by housing, and next, the environment: “…becoming an expert in ag and forestry efforts to address climate change.”
More detailed summaries of the responses to each question are provided in the report, and an appendix is available of all anonymous responses of those who gave their permission to reproduce them. The report can be found at L2020.org/survey.
(Cindy Jayne is part of Local 20/20’s Climate and Transportation Action Groups, and is a member of the Local 20/20 Steering Council.)