For more than 15 years my community work in Novato has brought me into contact with a rich and diverse group of colleagues, neighbors and friends. As a blogger for Novato Patch, I want to share some of the incredible life experiences I've come to know as a worker, volunteer and advocate in town.
Through my recent work with Stand Up For Neighborly Novato and Live Local Novato Leaders, I've had the opportunity to meet residents who know first hand the importance and value of housing options in our town.
Meet Glenn Oclassen Jr. He is the Vice President of Cloud Adoption for Appirio, the leading cloud computing services company. Appirio acquired the company VelocityMG, co-founded (in Novato) by Glenn, in March 2011. Glenn is a Novato resident, is known as “Amy’s husband” in the community, and is the proud parent of two great kids attending two excellent Novato schools in the Novato Unified School District.
Glenn and I sat down recently and here is what he had to say:
“Recently the mayor of San Antonio, Texas made a comment that really reflects my support of reasonably priced homes in Novato and Marin County: ‘Opportunity today. Prosperity tomorrow.’
That reminded me of growing up as a young child in a relatively rough area, but I had a safe home. The launching pad was in place. Ensuring that such a launching pad is in place for as many children as possible in our community is not merely a benevolent action. It is good business and good for the community. It is simply a matter of investment of existing resources to drive more opportunity for healthy outcomes. This is more beneficial to the community than the allocation of those same resources for mopping up the negative results of lack of opportunity and poverty.
We can invest in the taking care of our working families, seniors and persons or living with disabilities, or we can pay the price with more and more of us living out of town, making long commutes, struggling financially, losing our seniors to communities that are more affordable.
Same expenditure, different result. Let’s invest in our community’s future by making sure we have affordable housing to give our kids the opportunity I was provided so many years ago.
Many of us in Novato take for granted that we live in a safe community, in a safe home, and in a safe county. Sure, bad stuff happens, just like it does everywhere. But the vitriol coming from some in the community, including a few Patch commenters, would make it seem as if we are living in a rough, crime-ridden city. We all know that is simply not the case.
Yet we do have members of our community who have significantly less than most of us have, as well as members of our community who have significantly more than most of us have. The income diversity in Novato has changed over the last decade- a greater distribution across all of the income brackets than in prior decades.
We are also now less of a ranch community, and more of a bedroom community for commuters surrounded by a diversity of business in our own community. This is neither bad nor good from my point of view; it is simply the description of a community that continues to evolve. However, regardless of income, a safe home and the ability to focus beyond the necessities of food and shelter are the key elements to building the launching pad for opportunity.”
Thanks Glenn! Great to spend time with you and so glad you are a part of our Novato!