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A Simi Valley Motto to Live by

July 01, 2001

Recently, the Simi Valley City Council was asked to consider the idea of adopting an official city slogan: "Home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library." If adopted, the new slogan would be placed on city stationery, welcome signs at the city's borders and on the city Web site.

I don't think this is a good idea. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Ronald Reagan. I think he was a great president.

One of the reasons behind this proposal is to help rid the city of the stigma of the Rodney King trial. First of all, I don't think that our city has suffered any long-term effect from that event. If there was any such effect, it was created by media hype, which is fickle in the long run. As in all things, over time those misconceptions fade as the media is distracted by new sensations.

One major consideration I have about the proposed motto is that it will align city government with a particular political party. City government should be apolitical and represent all persons regardless of political belief. I firmly believe that our city government must be free of partisan politics and we should be very careful in not giving the appearance that we favor one particular party over another.

So what makes our city special? Is it the fact that we tend to be the safest city in the nation? Perhaps. But how this happens is where, I believe, we find the key to the answer. The people who live here are the ones who make our city great. The secret to our success is the thousands of people, young and old, who volunteer their time in more than 100 local organizations that help and guide others.

Consider the hundreds of hours that parents devote to the PTA and the various soccer, baseball and other sports organizations that provide guidance and training for our youth. Consider the volunteers at our hospital and the health-care providers at the free clinic who donate their time to help those in need. Then there are all the volunteers at Care and Share who help feed the hungry. How about all the members in the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs who help raise funds for a variety of causes? The volunteer leaders in our city who sit on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Education Foundation, Police Foundation, Friends of the Library--all working toward the benefit of our community? All of the volunteers at the Senior Center who help run that facility, saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars each year while providing needed services for our senior citizens? All the volunteer students who are members of the City's Youth Council help to shape the future of the community.

My point is this. What makes this a great city is not the proximity of a presidential library. What makes this a great city is the people who take their personal time and volunteer to help others. On several occasions, members of our City Council have publicly lauded the volunteer efforts of the residents of our city. I think it's time we recognize that the contributions of volunteers make a tangible difference in our community.

My proposal is that a motto be developed that will reflect the volunteer spirit of our community. If anyone would like to suggest one, I will offer it for consideration during the time the City Council deliberates on this agenda item. You may send it to me in writing: Councilman Paul Miller, 2929 Tapo Canyon Road, Simi Valley, CA 93063.

Paul Miller

Councilman, Simi Valley

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