A family get-together on a California Beach led to discussions on a variety of subjects. Coming from Arizona, Utah, and Georgia and being in California, we had wide-ranging dialogue. 

 Whereas Los Angeles demands mask-wearing indoors, we had utter confusion about where to wear a mask in San Diego County. The hotel office required them but seemingly not needed anywhere else. Paying a dollar more a gallon for gas brings home California is a different place. Curtailed services at the hotel and some restaurants pointed to a severe labor shortage. We knew we weren’t in Arizona anymore.

The conversation touched on how Arizona was coping with the massive increase in migrants illegally crossing the border. We shared the problem wasn’t anywhere near the crisis on the Texas border, but that could change. Blocking the Texas border would shift the migrants to our frontier. Of particular concern is the high Covid infection rate among the transients. 

With the grandkids heading back to school, the effect of the Delta variant is on everyone’s mind. Only one of the them is vaccinated. The rest are too young. Our grandchild in Atlanta attends a private school, and the others are in public school Park City, Utah. Neither place is likely to shut down, but masks and other actions are possible. Atlanta is a worry in any case.

The prevalence of crime in Atlanta is a significant concern. While our kid’s neighborhood has been safe, crime is growing across the City. Less policing is taking its toll. Once the police feel unsupported, cops retire, and good recruits are hard to come by. It’s no secret the mayor and others have thrown them under the bus. As a result, the upscale Buckhead neighborhood is in the process of splitting from Atlanta. If it leaves, the City’s tax base will be devastated. This action, in turn, means higher taxes or fewer services, or both. 

Returning to Phoenix, we got the news the U.S. Department of Justice is opening a probe of our Police Department. In all the decades we’ve lived in the City, we have had nothing but excellent city services. Police and Fire are prompt, courteous, and efficient. Yet, no one spoke up for the cops. Not the Chief of Police or the Mayor. Just a few out-of-power city council members. Are we about to join Atlanta and so many other cities with rising crime leading to a decline in livability? 

I wonder how many extended families are having these conversations? If they aren’t, maybe they should. It was great to get out and be together, but unfortunately, problems still are part of our lives.

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