Friday, March 27, 2015

Chico: City of trees, education, violent crimes and drugs...Wait, what???

Dear city of Chico,
Name the city where these current crimes have taken place:
March 7th 2015: A brawl breaks out at a residence in downtown. Owners report that unknown people tried to enter home to attend party. A fight ensues and a 22 year old male is fatally shot.
March 11th 2015: A girl walking home is assaulted by two adult males. Assailants hit the victim in the face causing her jaw to break in 2 places.
March 16th 2015: A women is found beaten to death on the front lawn of a home in a residential area. The trauma is so great to the facial area that it will take a few days for the swelling to subside to identify the victim.
March 26th 2015: Residents report gun shots being heard in the area. Shortly after male victim is reportedly shot in front of corner market. Was taken to emergency room. There is no information on his condition at this time.
This isn’t Detroit. It is not Chicago or New York. If you were thinking Los Angeles that’s a no also. Hell this isn’t even the police blotter from Salinas, California. Folks this is the current stat sheet of violent crimes for the quiet farm and college community of Chico, CA. Yes friends, that place that a lot of you spent the best 4 to 7 years of your life (We are all doctors when we leave here) and learned social and networking skills that are unrivaled in the business community through the numerous buck nights attended that dot the drinking establishments downtown has been transformed to a place where it’s not safe to walk at night whether you’re a man or a women. As the city council, the police chief and university president continue to blame the Greek System, binge drinking and the bar scene for the community’s issues, violent crimes and homicides are happening at a blistering pace. As you sit there in disgust and ask what has happened to the home of the Wildcats I would like to offer you some answers. Currently I hold no official titles as “mayor” (other than the bar scene), “Chief of Police” or “whatever Paul Zingg is referred to currently” but being an upstanding citizen and team player, I’m here to offer solutions to the problem.
  1. STOP BLAMING THE GREEK SYSTEM FOR ALL OF CHICO’S PROBLEMS. Fraternity members aren’t looking to commit an act of violence towards anything other than a burrito from Tacos De after a night of drinking. The bro tanks, skinny jeans and flat bill hats are a good indication of this. The last thing a sorority girl is thinking about after 6 Scooby Snack’s and a Blue Dolphin is who she can shank for stepping to her. There main concern is that the porches are free of peeps to judge as she makes her way home the next morning. This isn’t just a Greek thing, this includes most students who attend the university. They come to Chico and bring much needed dollars to businesses and along the way transform from young adults to future leaders. They are not the problem.
  2. ADDRESS THE REAL PROBLEM…DRUGS. As the police force continues to focus on shutting down drinking and weed use among students the real drug problem continues to spiral out of control. Oroville and the surrounding areas use to be the home of Walter White but Breaking Bad has decided to set up shop in Chico and call it home. Meth, heroin, crack, etc. has become the go to among Chico’s finest citizens. A college kid puffing on the hippie lettuce doesn’t savagely attack people, a spun-out vagrant looking for his next fix does. Instead of spending city dollars on painting the streets green so bicyclists know where they should ride, hire some extra officers and have them and the current force target a problem that has reached epidemic proportions for such a small, tight knit community.   
  3. CLEAN UP THE HOMELESS PROBLEM. If you need me to explain this issue then you have never walked downtown at any given time day or night or owned a business in the area. Drugs, assaults, pissing and shitting on sidewalks, etc. are reasons to eradicate our community of this problem. This isn’t me being heartless, this is me being real about the problem. You see how that works politicians? Honesty at its purest form.   
I am one of the lucky ones who was able to attend school here and was able to stay upon graduating. Chico has an allure to it that is magical. If you didn’t attend school here or have not been fortunate enough to call it home you are not going to understand what I’m talking about. For those of you who have, you are currently shaking your head in agreement with a smile on your face as you read these words. Leaders of Chico, let’s get this great city back on track. Focus resources on what is inherently wrong with this city and not what will get your name on the front page of the paper or face time as the lead story on the evening news. I along with many others call Chico home. We are homeowners and operate businesses. I would eventually like to raise a family here (I can hear your gasps). Do the right thing, before Chico becomes just another city. On second thought, I’ll accept that Mayor title…
PS. Happy Friday peeps on this gorgeous spring day. Treat yourself to an ice cold beverage at some point and remember….If you want to know what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.
#Chico #Chicostate #wildcats #Paulzingg #Chicocitycouncil #chicopolice #empireliving

Friday, March 20, 2015

Patriotism in the classroom

Dear American education system and Patriotism,
When did it become admissible to ban the American Flag at college campuses? Who said it was alright to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic at a high school on the east coast? What has happened to the way our youth is shaped in this country? The more pertinent question to ask ourselves is when did it become OK to hate the United States in our schools? There are a lot of issues within the American education system. From lower than average test scores compared to other countries when it comes to public education at the elementary to high school level to the rising cost of tuition among our numerous universities and colleges. What has escaped through the crack in this discussion is the “love of country” which was instilled in most of us at the elementary level of our education. As the teaching profession has strayed away from the actual art of “teaching” and has become more of a bastion for educators to implant their own personal views into our youth the moral fiber of our country has continued to deteriorate. What’s wrong with our education system is we have got away from the things that make this country great. The Pledge of Allegiance being recited every morning before class started was as commonplace as bacon, eggs and a cup of coffee across the country not too long ago. Both your home state flag and Old Glory could be found in every classroom across the nation. These things gave us all pride in who we are and where we are from. I know what you liberal teachers are thinking….Who is this redneck??? Now I may love country, beautiful blonde women, guns, ice cold beer and a spring evening combining all those things at the ranch but I am far from what my friends from the South like to refer to as a “redneck”. The closet full of 7 jeans amongst the plaid pearl snap shirts can attest to this. What I am is a person who loves the United States of America and that should be celebrated and not shunned upon. As an American citizen the Constitution grants you rights that others are currently dying for in countries around the world trying to achieve that same sense of freedom. The thing that they all have in common is a love of their respective country and flag. I remember a group of men 239 years ago who shared in this same pride. It’s not a religious thing. It is not a political agenda. It’s not liberal or conservative. It is about pride in the nation you call home whether you were born here or have immigrated to the USA to find a better life for yourself and your family. That flag that should be saluted every morning in classrooms across the United States stands for all that is right and is the reason people risk their lives daily trying to come here to find a better life. You can hate your job and current employment situation. You can hate politicians and the government that they control. We can disagree on with each other’s political ideologies but what should all be agreed upon as a whole is that we love the United States and the red, white and blue which represents it. Here is a question that should be part of the common core curriculum. “When people are taught to respect the United States, its flag and the ones who died to give them the life they have what do you have?” It’s pretty simple…You have a greater country and a future with endless possibilities. You can slap a smiley face on that because it’s going on the fridge. Merica….
PS. Happy Friday peeps. May you find yourself with someone special and a drink in your hand later and remember….The two things that girls want are to lose weight and to eat. It’s your job to figure out at what point in the day those occur.  
#pledgeofallegiance #America #education #teachers #patriotism #empireliving

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Everyday is Ag Day

Dear National Ag Day,
As I walked to the local coffee shop this morning I passed numerous people on the sidewalk making their way to work on this Wednesday. I exchanged a smile and some pleasantries with a few but none of them thanked me. The coffee shop was bustling with business and as I made my way to the counter to put in my order I still received no thank you. The lady at the register took my order and asked how my day was so far but not a single thank you was received by myself in this conversation. This scenario played itself out through the morning as I made my way to the ranch. I had numerous interactions with people at businesses across town and not a single person took the time the thank me. You may be sitting there asking yourself why I am looking for a “thank you” from the general public. Well today is National Ag Day which is meant to celebrate all the hard working farmers and ranchers in this great country and the things they do to keep food on your plate every day. Although a “thank you” from time to time would be nice it is not needed by myself or any of the other over 21 million people who make a living directly related to agriculture. You see, farmers and ranchers don’t need you to tell them thank you every time you see them. They don’t expect anything in return when you sit down at the kitchen table and enjoy the fruits of their labor for dinner at night. Your full belly and the smile on your face is thanks enough. While having a national day dedicated to agriculture is an honor and brings awareness to the nation in which it feeds it is not needed. Wait….Did I just say that??? There shouldn’t be a set date to recognize what farmers and ranchers do to bring you the safest, cheapest and most readily available food system the world has ever seen. It is celebrated every time you put on a shirt in the morning made from the finest cotton to the bacon and eggs washed down by an ice cold glass of milk you enjoy before making your way to work. It’s observed throughout the day with each meal that is consumed no matter how big or small. It is commemorated as you pass the numerous fields, pastures and orchards along the road as you make your way back home in the evening. Agriculture happens every day and it is an honor that I can call myself a farmer. From large operations covering thousands of acres to the small guy carving out a living growing on an empty lot in the city we all contribute to the fabric that is this industry. Being able to do what we do on a daily basis is a blessing that not many get to experience and I am reminded of this every time I pick up a shovel or jump on a tractor or throw on my Muck boots and wade my way through a flooded rice field. The motto “hug a farmer” has been a favorite of mine since I was little so if you see a guy dressed in plaid, blue jeans , boots and sporting the latest in farm head gear today, first make sure he isn’t and hipster and then give him a hug. I guarantee it will put a smile on a farmers face and this is the only thanks we need. Merica…
PS. Happy hump day peeps and if you ate thank a farmer or rancher, it is much appreciated and remember…Real love is putting someone else before yourself. Try it and see the smile that resonates.
#Agday #nationalagday #farming #ranching #CaAg #agriculture #empireliving

Friday, March 13, 2015

There's a little Bill Murray in all of us

Dear Bill Murray,
Have you ever tried to get ahold of Bill Murray? Try his agent? Nope that didn’t work because he lacks one. Ok, I’ll call his manager. All of Hollywood’s elite pay someone to take care of their day to day affairs. What??? No manager either??? Wait….He has an 800 number that you must call to set up a meeting with him?!? Pure genius. I’m here to tell you that Bill Murray maybe the best guy on this planet. Last night as I laid on the couch still trying to shake the effects of Cabo (I hate you) it was suggested that we watch the movie “St. Vincent” starring the aforementioned movie star. This flick not only made me laugh but made me cry and in the end left a smile across my face. The credits may say otherwise but in a way Bill Murray played himself in this movie. I’m not talking about the drunk, angry old guy (well yes, drunk may fit here) what I am expressing is he’s the man on screen that will do anything to bring a smile to someone’s face. Let’s put aside what he has accomplished in his film career which include some of the most memorable roles the comedy genera has seen. From Caddy Shack and Carl Spackler (the Dali Lama) to Dr. Peter Venkman (Don’t cross the streams) along with portraying the greatest bowler this side of Woody Harrelson he has made us laugh for close to 40 years. The random acts of kindness that Mr. Murray partakes in are legendary. On a golf outing in Scotland a few years ago he befriended a college student who he met at the local watering hole and accompanied him to a party. Not wanting to be a bad guest, he washed all the dishes in the hosts sink. Yep, I could see Sean Penn doing that. While on a walk in Roosevelt Island, NY he spotted a gang of peeps playing kickball and decided that being a spectator wasn’t for him so he jumped in and played a couple games with the group. For some reason I don’t picture a lot of Hollywood’s elite participating if this same opportunity presented itself. Popping into a karaoke bar one evening to enjoy a cocktail or six he was confronted by a patron who asked if he would like to join him and his friends for some bad song choices and a couple of beers. Instead of brushing them off, he joined them for a duet and bought a round for the group. How come I don’t think this would be what happened if BeyoncĂ© walked into that same NYC bar? The measure of a man is best shown by what he does for others to make there lives better without benefit to himself.  Bill Murray exemplifies this trait. We all have had someone in our lives touch us the way the lead character “Vincent” played by the incomparable Murray did. On this Friday I challenge you to be that person, Go out of your way to make someone’s life better. Hug a loved one just because. Call your annoying mother and use more than “ok” when responding to her conversation. Buy a stranger a drink. Be Bill Murray for a brief moment and I promise you that the repercussions for your actions will be something that not only will make you smile, but will makes this world a better place….
PS. Sorry it has been so long since we have chatted. Have an amazing Friday peeps and remember…..Always make sure to thank the sidewalks for keeping you off the streets.
#Billmurray #stvincent #chive #kcco #empireliving