Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Our Unique Funkyness
The wife and I were talking Leucadia the other night. I like to seek my wife's opinions, she approaches topics with practical logic. She is cool, calm and collected with a dash of passion and sincerity and a refreshing lack of ego. I asked her what she thought of our unofficial town slogan, Keep Leucadia Funky.
As a third generation Leucadian she says she understands what the "funky" means but feels that it is being misinterpreted by the masses. I agreed, the word funky is off putting to some. Before, I didn't care. If "they" didn't get the funky then that was their problem. But now Leucadia has all eyes on her. There are grumblings from the yuppies who live over the hill (on the darkside). They want to gentrify Leucadia, make her more familiar. The R word just won't go away. You keep hearing it, redevelopment--redevelopment.
A wacky neighbor of mine gave me a ration of grief over the word funky. She thought it meant smoking crack in a tye dye shirt. I didn't know where to begin with that one so I just nodded and smiled and back away slowly.
So the wife suggested changing the name of the blog to Keep Leucadia Unique. My ears perked up, "Have you been reading the blog?" I asked. She laughed and stirred the ice cubes in her tea. "I've never read your Leucadia blog." she confessed, "Leave me out of the political stuff."
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Keep Leucadia Funky is the greatest t-shirt slogan ever. Shatto at Deluxe (next to La Especial on the coast highway) has made a few shirts but I'm surprised local merchants haven't run with it more. In Austin Texas you see plenty of Keep Austin Weird t-shirts and bumper stickers. In Ballard, a community of Seattle, you lots of Free Ballard shirts and stickers.
I see plenty of Keep Leucadia Funky stickers and Keep Leucadia Funky license plate frames (with proceeds going to a scholarship). It's a popular expression and I like it, but I'm beginning to wonder if it serves us well.
Leucadia is funky this true, but Leucadia is more than that. Leucadia is unique.
Leucadia is THE last cool quaint beach town in southern California. You won't get the same small town beach feel until north of San Luis Obispo.
I'm not a status quo guy when it comes to Leucadia. I like to see the commercial property owners take some responsibility and invest into the community. I like to see home owners taking care of their yards. I want to see the apartment building landlords invest some of that rent money back into the property. I want to see the city do their civic duty and invest our tax dollars back into our infrastructure. I would like to see the empty weed lots developed into something special.
But redevelopment is not the answer. Bulldozing Leucadia would be a crime because Leucadia is a diamond in the rough. Razing Leucadia would be like stomping on a flower with jack boots before it has a chance to open.
The reality is, most of the buildings on coastal Leucadia just need a fresh coast of paint. It's a shame the facade program doesn't extend north of Leucadia Blvd.
The powers that be, the ones who are interested in forming an RDA, they need to take a road trip up the California coast. They need some perspective. Then they need to drive across America. Then they need to visit some areas that actually have blight. Real blight, not this phony blight of an intersection that should have been improved before Leucadia Blvd connected to El Camino Real and a severly botched attempt to control the flooding.
The irony is, the people who drive through Leucadia without stopping, the people who want redevelopment, they won't stop here after redevelopment. They will just keep driving, but for that 2 minutes as they pass by they will feel better because they only feel comfortable at places like the Forum and the Carlsbad outlet mall. They need generic familiarity. But they won't stop.
Leucadia is not their town, it ours. Let's all move forward together and not lose our souls in the process. Let's keep Leucadia unique.