Mayor Ed Grimes handed me a treasure one day. It was a small textbook printed in 1928 from the High School Home Studies Bureau titled "The Blue Book of Civics.” It sits as a display piece in my office, an antiquity, but a useful one at that.
Much of what was written and taught in 1928 still surprisingly applies today, nothing more so than the first chapter on the first page that answers the basic question, “What is a Community?” The answer from the book: “A community is a group of people who live together in the same locality. They have an organized government. They also cooperate, i.e. work together for the good of all.”
If that doesn’t describe Tehachapi, then I’m at a loss for what does.
Our community core is thriving thanks to cooperation. Recently, our second Coffee with the Mayor and City Manager event was a huge success. Our efforts of transparency have not only opened doors for citizens to speak with city leadership about issues, but also provided business owners and others a platform to discuss how they can help one another. It has evolved into a wonderful networking opportunity and one that combines the role of the city as facilitator for the success of its people.
We have been blessed to hear about new ideas and witness firsthand the new collaborations between neighbors. It’s encouraging to see, especially as we grow. I know we have the right group of people making sure our city is successful in a variety of areas. There’s the reinvestment of Tehachapi natives who have found success and are now interested in helping the community at another level. There’s regional impact as well, business development groups and others willing to share resources to foster the growth of our community. Cooperation lives at so many levels.
Our community is attractive to others as well. I’m hearing more about companies and organizations with offices in other cities and the stories of employees at the Tehachapi location getting calls from their out-of-town counterparts asking about employment. They simply want to be here, move their families here and be part of our community.
That Blue Book of Civics goes on to ask the question, “Why do people live in communities?” It answered so eloquently, “Because there are many things they cannot do alone … because people are interdependent, i.e. they depend on one another for the things they need.”
We all need each other and will continue to live in a community where we depend on one another, where we cooperate and work together for the good of all.
Cooperation with our neighbors
Recently, I traveled with city staff member Corey Costelloe to a roundtable discussion with the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance. This group, consisting of five cities and two counties in the Antelope Valley and East Kern region, is in the process of creating their 2018 Economic Report.
This report is produced in an effort to attract new businesses and investment opportunities into the area. It is a chance for us all to tell our stories as individual cities as well as a region. I believe in having healthy neighbors, and as we know in Tehachapi, economic impact in that region can have a wonderful effect on our city.
It was a great discussion as we set the standards for this new report that will be released in March. I believe it will help promote the desirability of this region as we continue to grow together.
As always if you have any questions or concerns, come by City Hall, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.