Now, it’s your turn!

Published Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 by Dave Woods

In this our fourth TG Topic, it's time to turn the attention to the future of TG Topics itself...

When I started Think Grand, I envisioned the TG Topics portion of the movement as a true online community forum — a place where ALL Escondido residents, groups, and business owners could come together to think big and discuss a wide variety of Escondido-related issues in a constructive way.

So far, I've been pleased with the results. We've posted three great topics so far, and what's most gratifying to me is the quality of the reader comments that have been posted after many of the individual articles. In contrast, the inflammatory and unproductive nature of reader comments in certain local newspaper forums has been a hot issue lately, so I'm thrilled to see that TG Topics is beginning to function as a high-quality, non-anonymous alternative.

That said, you may have noticed that our previous topic, Who are we?, was posted on the TG home page for quite awhile without a new topic following it. The reasons for the delay in presenting a new topic are very practical: As a person with a regular day job, a new business venture, and an ambitious volunteer effort in Think Grand (not to mention the need to occasionally take a vacation), I need to prioritize my day-to-day tasks. As I'm sure many of you can appreciate, especially in this economy, that's what's happened for me over the last month — work, business, and personal responsibilities have simply taken precedence, as I believe they should.

As the founder of Think Grand, I knew from the beginning that I would be responsible for creating the majority of the content presented initially in TG Topics, and I've embraced this responsibility — somebody had to "set the tone," if you will.

However, moving forward, TG Topics needs the assistance of thoughtful readers like you in order to thrive and become the incredible resource it can be.

The headline says it all: Now, it's your turn!

Three ways you can help TG Topics

  1. Let me know your honest thoughts about TG Topics
    Be honest, I really need to know what you think! Have you liked the topics and articles presented so far? Is there something about TG Topics that bothers you? How often should we post a new topic — once a week? Once a month? More fundamentally, do you feel you even have time in your life for another media source like this, or are your existing newspapers, blogs, and Facebook interactions enough already? Let me know by commenting below or emailing
  2. Suggest specific future topics in comments below
    Is the proposed charter city effort an important topic to you? Maybe you're more focused on redevelopment opportunities like the proposed ballpark or hotel? Or perhaps good news is more your thing, and you want to see more success stories from exceptional local people and businesses? Get specific and tell us your ideas for future TG Topics by commenting below. Anything goes, as long as proposed topics can be handled in a constructive and informative way.
  3. Go the extra mile... Create an article for TG Topics
    Don't just suggest a topic idea — make it happen! Write an article for TG Topics (or create a video, photo gallery, or audio podcast). Learn more about the guidelines for article creation...

I'll close by leaving you with this thought... Escondido isn't some small town anymore. Instead, we're a city with 150,000 residents. With numbers like that, mass participation is critical. Even if I had all the time in the world, Think Grand shouldn't be just one guy and his website. Instead, Think Grand ought to be our collective movement, a way to truly come together and work to make Escondido a better place. With your help in both spreading the word, and participating in special tasks like improving TG Topics, you're helping to make that goal a reality, and I can't thank you enough!

Join the discussion! 3 comments so far...

  1. I enjoyed Michelle Breier's article this morning in the UT spotlighting Dave Woods' efforts to encourage positive events and activities in and around Escondido. I a retired after teaching math for 20 years at San Marcos Middle and High Schools. When we moved from Poway to Escondido 5 years ago, my students' reactions were, "Oh, Mrs. Bundy! Esco is sooo ghetto." I told them to open their eyes and look around when they are in Escondido. Escondido has an untold number of beautiful pocket neighborhoods. Just look.

    There is something missing from this article, and that is even the slightest mention of the Cruisin' Grand event. We are hot rod enthusiasts and have marveled at the success of this event. Thousands of people have attended regularly this weekly event for several months each year for 10 years. I think if a survey was done nationwide, you would find that this is a rare occurrence to have such a large attendance so consistently at an event that happens weekly for a decade. Certainly, there are larger events that attract 20,000 or more cars, but these are 2-7 day events that happen once a year. We drive our cars to many events in and out of state. Our '32 Ford Roadster has been to Victoria, British Columbia, all over Orange and LA Counties, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Bakersfield, Fresno, Tahoe, San Francisco, Sacramento, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and more. We have encouraged people we have met on these trips to come to Escondido to Cruisin' Grand. Without exception their reactions have been of amazement at the consistent regularity of this event. A fairly typical reaction has been that they thought they were coming to an event that attracted 30-70 cars. Anyone who attends Cruisin' Grand can tell you the only nights attendance is that low is when it rains.

    Cruisin' Grand has successfully addressed one of my personal pet peeves. That is how difficult it is for a family to find something to do that does not cost hundreds of dollars. There is no admission fee. It is possible to get a hot dog at regular as opposed to "stadium" prices. There is a full range of restaurant cost available.

    Another positive aspect of Cruisin' Grand is that it showcases the creativity and ingenuity of your common backyard hot rod aficionado as well as the professional hot rod building talent that lives and works here in Escondido. Some of these local professional builders have produced elegantly beautiful cars costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Among these mechanical works of art rank trophy winners in prestigious national competitions. Listen carefully to the sidewalk conversations on Grand Avenue on a Friday night, and you will hear amateur and professional, 16 year old and 80 year old exchanging ideas to problem solve in their cars.

    . Hot Rod builders, amateur and professional alike, are creative problems solvers. Some of their solutions have found their way in to engineering features of new, mass produced cars. This is a cheap research pool from which we can all benefit.

    The success of Cruisin' Grand is clear evidence of America's Love Affair With the Car. There is great potential in this one event to give Escondido the positive spin that Dave Woods is attempting to do. He will do well to work in concert with Escondido's accomplishments.

    Comment by Sigrid Bundy on November 3, 2011 at 10:16 AM

  2. I have many comments. My first comment is I don't know where to put my comments. Thus, I choose, "It's my turn," because regardless of my subject matter, I'm taking my turn to express my comments.

    First, thank you for taking on this project. It's a great idea and just as needed as it is great. I've had many thoughts about Escondido since moving here about 5 years ago and wasn't ever sure how to express them. All I can say is please keep up your efforts and I wish you complete success.

    I also wish that should the momentum begin to wane, should the topics, feedback, participation begin to dwindle, that you find a way to move it forward and continue the effort with the confidence that traffic will eventually pick up again. Perhaps this website isn't critical as a service, but it can be critical to its goals, of bringing Escondido together and improving our community.

    Don't give up! Don't lose interest! Keep doing something to keep our interest and hopefully, our participation will in turn, keep yours.

    I'll stop here in order that my comments are separated and relevant to the issue, rather than a long rambling mishmash.

    Thanks again for providing this forum. I hope it becomes as relevant and as useful as any community planning group or local association.

    Comment by Manny Arts on November 4, 2011 at 1:43 AM

  3. Again, I'm not sure where to put my comment, so I use "It's my turn" as its the only subject that truly fits my comment.

    When exploring your website I find myself doing a lot of clicking back and forth between pages trying to make sure that I saw everything and read all of the comments. I found it confusing, but it could be that I lack the computer skills to make it work for me.

    Given that, I suggest that the "Topics" page, that shows the list and links to the various topics, Hiking, Arts, Your Turn, etc. include more information about the topics.

    I suggest that you include the sub topics on this page as well - just the titles, I mean. This way, a person can see the overall topic and then see the listing of what's there without having to click back and forth to see whether something under the heading is of interest.

    Therefore, the topics page would show headings as follows:

    Instead of

    The page would show:
    a. and so on.

    Assuming this is technologically feasible, it would sure make it easier to determine if a heading contains information I want to view or not.

    Thanks though - I hope this is helpful - not trying to criticize as I really like and support your concept.

    Comment by Manny Arts on November 4, 2011 at 1:53 AM

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