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Thread: Wee, apparantly I work for the City of "Fearfield"

  1. #1

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    Wee, apparantly I work for the City of "Fearfield"

    http://timesheraldonline.com/article...ont_center.txt

    Just yesterday, a couple of our local ferals (who have made the City's bigeest downtown park pretty much unusable) got into a "dispute" over "booze, a woman, and a bicycle." The feral is now being treated (at taxpayer expense) at a local emergency room.

    Its pretty disturbing.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Re: Wee, apparantly I work for the City of "Fearfield"

    Originally posted by BKM
    http://timesheraldonline.com/article...ont_center.txt

    Just yesterday, a couple of our local ferals (who have made the City's bigeest downtown park pretty much unusable) got into a "dispute" over "booze, a woman, and a bicycle." The feral is now being treated (at taxpayer expense) at a local emergency room.

    Its pretty disturbing.

    Don't worry, once Arnold gets into office he will singlehandedly stop all crime. Haven't you seen his movies?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    It sounds like the article makes you out to be crime central. I am assuming you are speaking in sarcasm, as a pair of ferrals fighting in the park hardly rises to the level of a sustained crime wave

    As per your article listing.

    A) Policing. Your town is going to hire 15 new officers to put in the black and white boxes. Everyobody who is a policeman is OK, everyone who is not, is a potential perp. Things will get worse because no interaction with the community will take place. The people who can help the most will be ignored. (I am a BIG fan of beat cops)

    B) Social oportunities of residents. If you are a parent who acts like a child, how do you expect your kids to behave. Guessing that most of the gang members are in single parent homes, what kind of parent lets thier kids get away with running around like that. Gangs are a sign that parents are failing miserably in thier duties as parents.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  4. #4

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    A) Policing. Your town is going to hire 15 new officers to put in the black and white boxes. Everyobody who is a policeman is OK, everyone who is not, is a potential perp. Things will get worse because no interaction with the community will take place. The people who can help the most will be ignored. (I am a BIG fan of beat cops)
    Not to downplay the difficulties of our police force (understaffed for a county seat with all of the jail-related riff raff that such a status accumulates), but they do have a strong "military patrol and control" orientation. It is sometimes difficult to get them to attend to the seemingly trivial "quality of life" issues and community outreach. As a planner, I get complaints about this all the time. Still, their response is that they have limited resources and they have to respond to the major calls for service. There are no easy answers.

    As for the ferals, nah, this case is just another example in a long list of recent "disputes." We have a small, but significant number of troublemakers that have partially colonized the park in question. I understand that some people do fall through the cracks and deserve and need services. Others, like this pair, I'm not sure what the "solution" is.

    One of our local nonprofits actually hired a very troubled ex-homeless guy to work as staff with their program. Of course, there was "trouble," and another stabbing occurred. This is a nonprofit that was supposed to receive significant funding from the city to build a shelter.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Maybe you need this guy on your police force!

    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    Not to downplay the difficulties of our police force (understaffed for a county seat with all of the jail-related riff raff that such a status accumulates), but they do have a strong "military patrol and control" orientation. It is sometimes difficult to get them to attend to the seemingly trivial "quality of life" issues and community outreach. .......
    People will put themselves out there to help fix community problems if the police back them up. With beat cops, they become familiar with the community to such an extent, that they are consulted on a regular basis and given tips of what is going on. Many communities have found this a help. They can identify and eliminate "drug houses" in hours and days rather than months and years. I have seen neighbors join in steakouts in such places by taking down license plates of anybody going into the house. Problem kids can be identified.

    Police work the hours were trouble occurs most and can adjust accordingly. Save money on cars. Cops can be based IN local schools. Can tie in well with the local business association, redevelopment effort. And on and on.

    An entirely different way of dealing with problems develops that includes the community. It is improved because residents get some power back and the police get extra eyes they didn't have before.

    The military policing style is a disaster and completly inefective. The police don't trust anyone and nobody trusts them. Might as well not have a police force.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  7. #7
    I swear I posted a response here, but anyways -what duke says is right on the money.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Fairfield has a very high percentage of a number of ethnic minorities and the friction that such a multicultural atmosphere can create is not being addressed by the largely white folks in charge, in my opinion. It is bound to have more friction than the roughly 70% white population of Vacaville, which has quite a few gated retirement communities. Rich old folk don't join gangs.

    Solano County is the most affordable county of the 9 county SF Bay Area. As such, it is a "bedroom community" for surrounding counties. Most Bay Area counties have more jobs than workers and workers commute in from surrounding areas. Solano County has the opposite situation: roughly 40% of Solano residents who work commute to a job outside the county.

    This means that a lot of single parents live here because they cannot possibly afford to live near their job. The best friend of my two sons happens to be black and his dad died when he was little. His mom works at a big name company. Her drive in the morning is an hour -- and it is an hour and a half in "rush hour" traffic coming back. Additionally, in order to keep this high tech job that keeps her and her son off the streets, she periodically has to attend to attend training in the evenings. I strongly suspect her child would have been at risk for gang membership if he hadn't practically moved in with us this past year.

    Fairfield is a town of about 100,000 -- and it has an interstate running through it that has 4 lanes in each direction. I thought that was Nuts when I first arrived. But you do not want to get on the Interstate in Fairfield at 5pm on a Friday night if you are traveling within Fairfield. It is slow-moving parking lot. That Interstate and this county is squeezed between the pressures of the surrounding SF Bay Area to the West and South and state Capital and UC Davis to the North-East.

    Those are both areas with International pressures and we are this rural, largely agricultural county. If this county does not get a grip and start dealing with those facts, things are only going to get worse. We are in a vise-grip between those two regions and the fact that we are 'the affordable choice'. But it seems to me that the planning that occurs at the county level fails utterly to take a sufficiently regional view that would give us some hope of attempting to address some of these issues and avoid simply get crushed by all these pressures coming together, with Solano as the Nexus.

  9. #9

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    Michelle: I didn't realize you lived in Solano County? Or am I misreading your post?

    I agree with a lot of what you say about Solano County. There are a lot of stresses in this community.

    While Vacaville is indeed LESS diverse than Fairfield (72% "white only" versus 55% for Fairfield, it remains diverse when compared to most suburban communities. It certainly has its pockets of crime and poor living conditions-it is not a lilly white rich suburb.

    Part of the difference is that Vacaville FEELS more like a community. I can't quantify it or tie numbers to it. There is more of a settled feeling to the community, more of a sense of community that I feel is lacking in Fairfield.

    Fairfield is also more divided in some ways. You speak of Vacaville's gated communities-in fact, there are only two "gated" communities that I can think of in Vacaville-Vine Street Estates (which is only now under construction) and a retirement community near the Safeway.

    Fairfield has a much larger affluent population, many in just that kind of gated community-Rancho Solano (1200 homes) Paradise Estates (300 retirement units for military officers), Eastridge, Oakbrook. This division is not going away. For every single mother like you describe, there is a middle management guy from Contra Costa County who knows that he NEEDS a 3000 square foot house in a gated cul-de-sac-even if it means an hour commute and a kid stuck in a struggling school system.

    It is that population that annoys me, quite frankly, because that is the population who joins the retired military curmudgeons (sorry, Michelle and El Guapo-but they are a very negative subculture in our city) in making statements like "it is all the multifamily the city is building that is causing the problems? No!, you morons! 1. We have built one (edit: actually two) apartment complex in the past ten years. 2. These complexes' rents are higher than the mortgage of oh so smug Murray Bass and his ilk

    The problem is partly caused by the regional forces you mention, but also because we do not (and cannot) build enough affordable housing. Existing housing becomes overcrowded-leading to tension. Add in the poor family dynamics, ethnic tension, the regional drug trade, regional gang recruitment, and you have a fun stew.

    Oh well, I apologize for the rant. If you live in Solano County, Michelle, I would find it very interesting to meet you (and other planners in the region) for lunch coffee some time (depsite my rants, I don't really breathe fire in real life).

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    A) I have said several times that I live in Solano County, or Fairfield or “10 miles south of BKM” and said that you would be at the top of my list for Cyburbanites I would like to meet (in that thread about that) simply because you are “local”. What? Do you have a job or something and can’t keep track of every detail of everything I say in Cyberspace?!!! (I forgive you for seeming to reject me. Clearly, you just didn’t know. lol).

    B) For this highly ethnically diverse county, Vacaville is “lily white”. As a white woman with a multicultural background who routinely gets a rash of scheisse (that’s German for Merde, which is French – trying to keep it clean here) from white folks who do not understand where I am coming from, I am not comfortable in Vacaville and would not want to live there. I feel very at home in my neighborhood, even though I am an ethnic minority here – and we used to get a lot of stares. But as people have gotten to know us, they realize that our skin color is of little importance.

    C) Vacaville definitely has it’s good points. As part of my class on Homelessness and Public Policy, I had to do an internship which would allow me to work directly with the homeless population. I called the homeless shelter here and they wouldn’t give me the time of day. The brand new executive director of the homeless shelter in Vacaville said “Come on up. We will FIND a way to put you to work.” She clearly operates on the principle of “Never turn away volunteer labor.” The shelter has come a long way in the time she has run it. (In short, I agree with you that the shelter in Fairfield is “ate up”. They are fools and it is not well-run.)

    Because of that internship, I still drive to Vacaville to take my donations to Opportunity House rather than donate them locally in Fairfield. And I still sometimes do volunteer work for them, particularly computer stuff. (I have been assisting the Executive Director and the Supervisor in transitioning from their 19th century paperwork system to the 21st century.) Vacaville has a much more charming downtown than does Fairfield and the restaurants there have more cache. That is part of why I characterize it as a ‘rich town’.

    The gated communities in Fairfield are often not ‘upscale’. I live in a gated apartment complex. If I recall right, “Rancho Solano” is South-West of the college. In my opinion, it is only NOMINALLY “in Fairfield”. It is a half hour drive from my apartment to the college and areas around it have been annexed in a manner that makes Fairfield look ‘gerry-mandered’ on a map.

    Pull out a map and look at the sliver of land that is claimed by Fairfield and which connects it to the college and areas around there that have been annexed by Fairfield. It is a largely rural area. Like so many colleges, the college located out in the middle of nowhere, where land was cheap so it could get (and afford) the large tract it needed to build a campus with lots of parking, etc.

    As the largest community college in probably the entire country (with somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,000 students), it is practically a separate “municipality” in its own right – and is better run that a lot of universities. (And is very much a victim of its own success at the moment.) But I don’t see the community college being taken into sufficient consideration by county planning efforts either.

    Then you have the military base – one of the reasons Fairfield has Issues. Crime on a military base if practically ‘non-existent’. But the human needs and drives that create crime cannot be removed from the humans subjected to such a highly controlled atmosphere (military bases are the ORIGINAL “gated community” and they can enforce community standards to a degree that the most draconian gated community would drool over – wanna hear my rant about the requirement to grow grass in your backyard on Ft. Irwin, in the Mojave Desert, just South of Death Valley?).

    Naturally, this means that crime around a military base is inevitably higher than surrounding areas. The first main road North of Ft. Benning Georgia is named Victory Drive. But the locals all just call it VD Drive because of the thriving prostitution business so near the base, whic is full of young studs far from their girlfriend. Additionally, pawn shops and other unsavory but not illegal businesses typically thrive near a military base.

    This particular military base, while geographically small, is of international importance as well and I am thrilled to see that the communities of this county are getting together to hire a liaison to represent the base in an attempt to keep from losing it in the next round of base closings – although it OUGHT TO BE a permanent position, in my opinion. It is the largest employer in the county, employing more people than the next 3 largest employees in this county combined. It is worth more than a Billion dollars a year. It is the “Pacific Hub” for the Air Force. It has a Regional Medical Facility, serving military personell and retirees and veterans in 8 states.

    Additionally, the state of California considers this base important enough that they wrote a clause into a state law allowing several of the local communities to pool their low-income housing funds to build low-income housing around the base as part of their attempts to keep it here. (Rumor has it that if it leaves, it will go to the Seattle area. Pilots care little which West Coast state they leave from when they all have to stop in Hawaii to refuel anyway on their way to parts in the Far East.)

    It really needs its own ‘ambassador’ and the county needs to wise up about how to deal with it. Every planning meeting I have ever attended, I hear statements to the effect of how desperately everyone in this county wants to kiss the butt of the military base and beg it to please not move away, thereby gutting the local economy. But these dummies want to build a train station smack up against the back fence of the housing area on base. And have told me how this is “for the benefit of Travis and to woo them into staying”. Mark my words: if you build that train station, start looking for a job elsewhere, and pronto. The base will be gone sometime thereafter. It is extremely apparent to me, as the daughter of one career military man and the wife of another, who has, therefore, spent my entire life around military bases, that most of the local planners do not know the first thing about the needs of the military.

    (The explanation as to why that train station is an extremely bad idea is kind of long and involved. For starters, you could go to my website and read the brochure that is the result of more than 2 years of research and projects I did in 4 different college classes. You can find it in both pdf format and PowerPoint format on this page: my website The rail plan stuff will be moving soon, but that page will still get you to the page it will be on, when I am done revamping my pages for the third time this month. Ugh. I am sick of revamping my pages.)

    In my opinion, Vacaville feels like more of a community because it is not pulled in so many directions. Fairfield has “municipal multiple personality disorder”: it is pulled South West by the huge community college, it is pulled to the East by Travis, it is pulled North-East by UC Davis (the only big university in reasonable commuting distance for most of Solano County) and the Capital, it is the nexus of multiple traffic arteries, in all directions (Highway 12 runs roughly at a 90 degree angle to I-80, and then there is the train station in Suisun, which is practically surrounded by Fairfield and functionally a part of it), and happens to just about be smack dab on top of the geographic mid-point between Sacramento and San Francisco (although it can take 30 minutes longer to get to SF, due to the Bay and toll bridges and traffic, there is about a 3 mile difference in distance).

    In my opinion, the future of this entire region will be impacted by how Solano County handles the enormous pressures it is under. If it rises to the occasion, the entire region will benefit (well “Two” regions, because the Sacramento area and the San Francisco Bay Area do not see themselves as ‘related’ – we are the bastard child that connects them both and which everyone hates to acknowledge being related to. A guy in San Francisco said that San Franciscans do not count Solano as really being part of the Bay Area. Called it a “Bastard Step-child.”). If it doesn’t, it will become an even worse cesspool for every regional malady that exists. In fact, the future of California as a whole may be impacted, what with Sacramento being 15 minutes from our border and just the other side of Davis. And California is a cutting edge leader for the nation and has, what? – the 5th or 6th largest economy on the planet? The choices Solano County makes could have global implications. But it is being planned like a small town farming community and sees itself that way, for the most part.

    Sorry for the length folks. "It is BKM’s fault " And I plead “antihistamines”. I can’t seem to shut up today.
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 22 Oct 2003 at 8:39 PM.

  11. #11

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    Must have missed your location, Michelle.

    I don't disagree with your characterization of many of the issues. As I get older, I wonder increasingly if many of these issues can be "solved," particularly to the satisfaction of the affluent commuters who help cause many of the transportation problems facing the community while refusing to accept the need for more money.

    As for the train station, the rail line is already an active corridor for the Capital Corridor rail lines. As the train station is about 1/2-3/.4 mile away (if I wasn't lazy, I would measure it out), I'm not sure that is the biggest issue facing the base. (The biggest issue, imho, is that Northern California is the one of the few regions that hasn't voted for the Chickenhawk Cabal-even Solano County voted slightly against the recall and Arnold-so we must be punished!) We can agree to disagree on this one.

    I still disagree with your characterization of Vacaville as "lilly white" and find it surprising that you feel uncomfortable there. I am strictly WASP (Anglo-German midwesterner with German farmer and pilgrim ancestors) My neighborhood is so mixed. My next door neighbor is a Pinoy accountant who works for the County, A Mexican-American household across my condo courtyard; I have a white Airman two doors down, I have a quite crowded but still neatly kept collection of second units and a small cottage with three Mexican American households across the alley. Demographics are all over the place, from very basic apartments down the alley to a showy mansion recently renovated and expanded by a local contractor.

    There are entire neighborhoods in Vacaville dominated by immigrant housing-keep in mind that my statistical figures for "white" did not address the hispanic population count, which often counts itself as white. From observation alone, I would argue that Vacaville has as significant a hispanic population as Fairfield-and the community's heritage is much more tied to the Mexican-Spanish founders than Fairfield (Look at how we celebrate Fiesta Days)

    In talking with a native (surname: Garcia), he feels that one of the differences is that Vacaville has a population of long-time families that have maintained some community traditions. Fairfield seems to lack that. We (the City government) are trying really hard-we sponsor all kinds of events to try to instill that community spirit that seems more natural in Vacaville.

    As for the gating-sure, almost all apartment complexes in both cities are gating themselves off (heck-my condo complex has a gate across our small courtyard ) Still, there is a sense of separatism in a relatively affluent place like Rancho Solano. You are right about Green Valley/Cordelia being almost a separate place. But, these folks vote and shop in Fairfield-and their voices are often loud. Frankly, Browns Valley in Vacaville feels like a separate place to me, too.

    Still, its all a matter of perception and where one feels comfortable. As a WASP, I can't claim to fully understand when a minority person would feel uncomfortable. I would note that a Jamaican-American co-worker admits that he finds Fairfield un-diverse and lilly white. So, its PARTLY a matter of perception

    DAN: I PROMISE NO MORE LONG DEBATES ABOUT MY TOWN

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    Must have missed your location, Michelle.
    Obviously!

    As for the "lily white" thing: I didn't choose to live in Fairfield for reasons having anything to do with that. A lot of folks on the base choose to live in Vacaville and encouraged us to do so when we first arrived. However, for most of our lengthy marriage, we have been a one-car family and generally prefer it that way (although I imagine that preference will change as I launch a career). One of our critieria was that we wanted to be close enough to the base so that my husband could bicycle to work sometimes -- in part because this is a special duty assignment and staying fit enough to pass a PT test rests more on his shoulders than it normally would.

    I profiled the county for a Economic Geography class. Most of the county has a high percentage of Hispanics. But Fairfield has a high percentage of a number of ethnic groups. Military bases tend to have a very multicultural environment, in part because a lot of guys marry foreign wives and in part because the promotion system in the military is more objective than in the civilian world and a lot of minorities see it as a way to get ahead. I just like the "atmosphere" here, for lack of a better word. I can't really quantify it.

    I grew up in Georgia and spent most of my life desperately wanting to leave. For 15 years, I was a military wife with very 'itchy feet' (so to speak): I would get tired of a place and start asking my husband "when are we leaving?" after about 18 months. I arrived in the SF Bay Area and was here less than 3 months and felt like I had finally found a "home". Having spent the first 35 years of my life feeling "homeless", that is quite the statement. So I am admittedly pretty darn biased.

    As for the train station, one of the issues I see is that many people seem to think that locating it near the housing area on base is a 'benefit' for the military base -- a 'perk'. What they seem to fail to realize is that putting it up against the back fence of the housing area is about the farthest you can put it from the residents of the base, in terms of driving distance. The base is a controlled access facility. A "convenient" location for residents of the base would be one that is convenient to people driving out of the main gate -- which is the only one open 24 hours a day. The other gates are open only part-time and are not a reliable access point and are also kind of 'in the middle of nowhere'.

    Additionally, a convenient location would be accessible by public transit from the base. That means putting it along bus route #2, since that is the only bus route that goes onto this controlled access facility.

    One other issue is traffic. Military bases have horrendous traffic 3 times a day. They are federal installations and almost everyone there has the same work schedule. The traffic going onto the base in the morning, the lunch hour traffic, and traffic leaving in the evening is just awful. Building something that will make traffic on Peabody road worse will only make the 3 times per day traffic jam worse.

    As a general rule, military bases do not want development near them. It is a security risk and we get tired of civilians complaining of the noise (from planes, gun shot, etc). The subjective experience of most military members of the surrounding civilian community is that they want our money and they want us to be willing to die (or to mourn the death of a loved one, if you are the spouse), but, other than that, the civilians hate our guts and wish we just go the F*** away. Promoting development up against the boundaries of a military base just heightens the inherent conflict that exists between military bases and the surrounding or nearby civilian communities. "You people just don't understand!"

  13. #13

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    I kind of agree with you. I feel more "at home" in California than I ever did in Fort Wayne, Indiana-let alone Tennessee (sorry, Huston ) Hope I never have to leave the state.

    As for the train station-well, the proposed site is Peabody at Vanden Road. That's not all that close to the base (about 3,000 feet to the base boundary) and Vanden High School, the Travis School District offices, and Golden West Elementary School lie between the station and the base. "Protecting Travis" is certainly the political issue of the hour-but this is the first time-in all of the public comment about that issue, that the train station was raised as an issue.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    "Protecting Travis" is certainly the political issue of the hour-but this is the first time-in all of the public comment about that issue, that the train station was raised as an issue.
    Yeah, well, it seems to me that nobody really asked anyone on the base. I seriously doubt there was a representative from the base at the meeting where the municipalities of Solano County sat down and decided which cities would get a train station. I think Travis had no 'voice' and no real say in the matter when all these people were deciding what location would be 'good for Travis'.

    Ft. Irwin is nearly 40 miles from the nearest town, with one road in and out of there. It is a highly trafficked winding road that takes you up through a mountain pass. Average speed on this 2 lane winding road (with an official speed limit of 50 mph, I think) is something like 70 miles per hour because folks get so sick of the lengthy commute if they do not have housing on base. There essentially isn't any place closer to live.

    It happens to be a county road and is largely unmaintained. The folks that use it the most have no political voice locally and many of them are registered to vote in other states. This is very common on a military base. So the county sees no reason to spend money on maintaining a road for use by all these 'foreigners' (the military personel). It is full of pot holes and is one of the deadliest roads in America, as I understand it. And the school system there is equally pathetic, so much so that petitions were being passed around in an effort to get more base representation in the school council before I left. It was the pathetic state of the schools there which forced our hand and made us decide to homeschool.

    That kind of crappy 'We think we know what is best for you but we do not actually give a damn about you or your needs or your comfort or your perspective, we just want your rent money and please quit making so much noise while training to be willing to die to protect my personal freedom' kind of treatment is typical of what military members experience of the 'local civilian community'. Military members tend to not bother to even try to tell the local politicians and planners what they need and want because we are so used to being ignored, dismissed, trampled on and viewed as 'hobos' who are leaving soon anyway for the next duty station, so we are not really entitled to an opinion.

    Folks registered to vote in other states tend to follow the politics there, knowing that they need to be informed in order to vote, and may have no clue what the local planners are planning because they 'know' that locals really don't care to hear our opinions. We are just 'tourists' and have no say, generally speaking. In fact, I think we would have more influence if we were actually tourists because the locals would have to actively seek our presence. Military members go where they are sent and the local communities are usually much more concerned about Uncle Sam's opinions than about the opinions of the people who live and work on the base.

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