Solutions For Creating Live Performance Opportunities

The first lunar landing came about because of the burning desire to continually find solutions. Imagine if the organized, focused, determined efforts and money that it took to put mankind on the moon were put into rescuing the arts in America. The results would be staggering. What follows is my personal vision:

Step 1. Chuck Perrin’s newest labor of love, Dizzy’s Jazz Nightclub/Creative Artists Clubhouse in San Diego CA, leads the way in helping promote and stimulate the local living arts scene. His motto – no alcohol, TV’s, sports bar, hidden agendas stopping the pure outpouring of spontaneous expression – has created a unique “safe creative space” for musicians, artists and churches alike. Presently he has set it up so that the artists get 70% of the door per night. Now wait a minute! I know what you’re thinking. Working for the door, huh? The attendance varies from night to night (which can happen in any jazz nightclub.) But when some of the prominent local college jazz professors perform there it’s a completely different story. The teachers encourage the students to attend by giving them an opportunity to improve their letter grade. Voila! Literally hundreds of people are jamming in the front door and the bands are making a lot more coin. Wow, what a concept! Now let’s magnify that a million times. Envision all the high schools and college’s arts students (musicians, actors, visual arts, dancers, film makers) all over America having to complete their class curriculum by going out into the community supporting the arts. What has been missing all this time – an audience – is now out there in strength giving their love, support and money. Picture concerts halls, jazz clubs, restaurants, coffee houses, dance recitals, film showings, theatre presentations all getting the thing they need the most: enthusiastic, paying audiences on an ongoing basis. Creating a working model on the local level would be an excellent start. That would involve finding a few participating schools who are willing to initiate the program. Over a period of two years the project could be carefully monitored from the administrative, student and community points of view. The idea could then be expanded on a much larger scale.

Step 2. All businesses that are willing to support the living arts get a tax credit and a more prominent place in the business/artist/community eyes. This would inspire and encourage live offerings and change the bottom line attitude. Both these ideas wouldn’t cost very much to implement: it would just take some shared vision, forward thinking and organized motivation. In closing, I think that the arts students and their families supporting the arts, and a small amount of help from the government, could help us create the cultural shift and monetary support that we so desperately need to reinvigorate our souls and lives. Bye for now… Joe Azarello

Making Our Roads Safer

A 10-point strategy system for implementing new standards for better drivers in California

The roads have become increasingly dangerous. It’s every driver for themselves. Seemingly bored with having to be in their cars every day, they bring their phones, reading, food and pets along for the ride, all at excessive speeds. Traffic safety rules for the most part have been forgotten and people make it all up as they go along, causing road rage, confusion, accidents and death. Isn’t it time to take control? Huh? By combining more structured education, more frequent road and safety testing by the DMV, and stricter law enforcement, we feel the motorists in California would respond to the need to obey the laws and drive more carefully.

1. Presently drivers licenses are renewed every 5 years for many motorists and often they are automatically renewed in this fashion for a number of years without the benefit of a drivers test or written exam. By using the current model of how people fulfill their smog requirements the DMV could designate specific state sanctioned driving schools where people would be required to take 6 to 8 hours of drivers training every 2 to 3 years. These classes would include freeway and street driving tests as well as reinforcing the laws. This new standard would not put any added stress on the DMV because the traffic schools would just fax or Email the results.

This would enable the State of California to create new jobs and boost the economy. The driving school businesses would vastly improve to meet the demands, the insurance companies would profit because of less accidents and the police could turn their attention to other matters. All in all, a win/win situation.

2. Driving/written tests would also include: * Videos of accidents and accident victims stories and pleas * Videos detailing wrong and right examples of common driving errors * Road tests taken on simulated hazardous road condition sites.

3. A portion of all dollars collected would be spent on (A) TV “Raising Drivers Conscious Awareness” ads, (B) road safety billboard reminders and (C) a special traffic division would be created for the sole purpose of keeping freeway traffic congestion controlled and moving during times of road construction, sporting events and accidents. By using helicopters with flashing signs motorists would be given directions and the installation of traffic lights every 4 to 5 miles would regulate speed when necessary.

4. All accident perpetrators would take driving school every year until the accident is cleared from their record, and then they would be tested every 2 years.

5. Elect a month during the year to be names “Pedestrian Awareness and Safe Driving Month.”

6. Make it illegal to talk on a mobile/cellular phone while driving a vehicle UNLESS you have a single ear piece in the right ear so that both ears aren’t obstructed and both hands are free to drive, or you use a speaker phone.

7. All new residents of the state of California would have to be tested immediately.

8. Offer a toll-free number to report erratic or unlawful driving. The caller would need to include the driver’s license plate number and the make/model/color of the vehicle as well as the time/day/location of sighting.

9. People would be made aware of noise ordinances concerning the volume of their car stereos.

10. The concept of driver’s education would begin in kindergarten. The Citizens for a Safer California feel that these ideas could solve a lot of the road problems, save lives and generate an enormous amount of income for the State of California. Most important, lives would be saved. Joe Azarello and Citizens for a Safer California