Let’s Do It Again: Safe Mendocino Contest Builds on Success of Safe Ukiah Contest

In June, I was talking with Ukiah Police Chief, Chris Dewey. We were reminiscing over the success of the Safe Ukiah contest, and we started talking about whether a Safe Mendocino County contest could produce even more good ideas on ways to keep our local communities safe.

The next thing you know, we’re having lunch with Sheriff Tom Allman and Ukiah Daily Journal Editor KC Meadows, and we’re brainstorming about all the reasons a county-wide contest would be a great idea. This is our home. We care about quality of life issues, and we want to work together to improve things.

While I’ll admit that as crime goes down, housing prices typically go up and that’s good for business, but that’s not my primary reason for sponsoring these contests. I grew up in Ukiah. I’ve raised five children in Ukiah, and I would like them to consider returning to Ukiah to raise their children someday. Unfortunately, the way things are going, that’s not likely.

People who live in Mendocino County have a history of taking care of each other. The more remote your community, the more you depend on yourself and your neighbors to make things happen. I understand times have changed, and I’m not looking to return to the 1950’s, but I believe we can band together and draw a line in the sand and say, “No more,” especially when people who aren’t from here—and have no intention of ever contributing to our community—start asking for money when I’m at the ATM or shopping downtown.

Chief Dewey’s response to the Safe Ukiah contest was to implement Business Watch; it’s like a Neighborhood Watch program for businesses. It uses technology to help business owners connect, and it helps keep UPD informed of possible problems in real time so they can be more effective. I would love to hear what people have to say about keeping other communities safe.

To that end, Realty World Selzer Realty invites Mendocino County residents to submit ideas on how to make their communities safer. Whether you’re on the north coast or south coast, up in Laytonville, Covelo, or Leggett, or in Willits or Ukiah, you can win $500 if your idea is the best one in your area. We’re dividing the county into its supervisorial districts, so Realty World is offering five prizes—$500 each for the best submission in each district.

Even though I’ve been focusing on law enforcement solutions, there are lots of ways to make Mendocino County safer. Get creative. Safety can mean better roads, helping students stay busy and productive after school instead of getting into trouble, organizing volunteers to provide transportation for those who should no longer drive but need a way to get around. How are people unsafe now? How can we fix it? Sometimes simple solutions are the best. Other times technology can bridge gaps that used to seem unrealistic.

If you are serious about this, you’ll have to consider budget and resource issues. Last year, I was really impressed with the time and research people put into their submissions. It was great because it made the solutions viable. We have to consider not only what to do, but how to make it happen here in Mendocino County.

If you’re a teacher and you want to make this a class project, I think that would be great. You grade the grammar, and the judges will review the ideas.

If you’d like to help but don’t feel like entering the contest, consider joining or donating to the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation, a group that supports public safety and helps fund local projects. If this interests you, give me a call.

You can pick up an application and the rules of the contest at the Realty World office in Ukiah or request them via email at safemendo@gmail.com.

If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or visit www.realtyworldselzer.com. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.