Author and thoughtful Los Angeles observer D.J. Waldie is leaving his longtime day job with the city of Lakewood, his home town, at the end of the month. He previously announced his retirement last year, but stayed on the job. Now he writes on his blog at KCET.org that this time he means it.
A year ago, I tried to put those words together for the first time. And I'm still struggling to articulate what I know and feel.
For almost 34 years, my work focused on making and sustaining a sense of mutual responsibility for the ethnically diverse, mostly working-class community in which I live. In my fallible way, I've tried to show Lakewood residents that there are reasons to be loyal to the place we call home.
While I've often written about a "sense of place," loyalty is a greater value, dependent on a "sense of place" but requiring a deeper understanding - what Alfred Kazin memorably called "an insistence to know." Kazin, commenting on the authors who wrote about America during the Great Depression of the 1930s, thought that their "insistence to know" led them to fall in love with the America they found.
"Falling in love" with what you already have is one way I've defined loyalty.
Noted: Jeremy Rosenberg's blog on local think tanks, Think Tank LA., has dropped out of the mix of KCET blogs.