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The three-headed hydra wants you to fixate on crises elsewhere, not in your hometown.

The three-headed-hydra wants you to spend your time watching national and global crises, not engaged in a result-focused countywide project.

“TERMS OF SURVIVAL” SERIES

This twenty-part series introduces you to twenty key terms used in a local mobilizing process that you and your community will require to survive and thrive during colliding crises. The articles will reference the three-headed hydras of apathy, envy and fear, those people in positions of power who are fighting to keep a broken status quo.

Concept 7: a county’s borders (and how they define our 100% Community initiative)

We have to make a choice. Do we become fixated on global disasters-of-the-day and frustrated with the actions of emotionally-challenged leaders in Washington, DC or focus all our energy on fixing problems locally?

If people took that hour a day, watching so-called “NEWS,” and directed that time toward result-focused and data-driven projects in their hometown, we would be half-way toward securing the ten vital services for surviving and thriving for 100% of county residents.

We would all be feeling a lot more secure with local vital services accessible, as we navigate the era of pandemics and economic disruptions. Trust me, things are going to get a lot stranger and disruptive before we find stability.

Why a county? (Why we’re focusing on a countywide, rather than a state, national or global, process)

The vast majority of us in the US live within a geographic and political boundary called a county. There are about 3000+ in the nation, across 50 states. If we thought of them as countries rather than counties, some would operate with the efficiency of Singapore or Sweden. Others might operate with less user-friendliness like Moldova or Nicaragua. Some county governments, and the cities governments within the county’s borders, generate resources and spend them wisely on the public good. Others not so much.

This leads us to the focus of the 100% Community initiative, as we work to ensure the ten vital services for surviving and thriving within all the cities, towns and communities within a county’s borders. We chose the county model, in order to create a countywide system of care, for some very pragmatic, economic and political reasons.

Our formula for funding: County/City Partnerships

Each county, along with all the cities within its borders, need to work to be self-sustaining. County and city residents need local control. The solution for funding is found by visiting the websites of your county and city governments. Allow me to offer a local funding option, one to discuss with your local elected leaders.

In a typical county of 30,000 people, a county government’s budget may be around $30,000,000.

In a typical city, with a population of 12,000 residents, the city budget might be around $20,000,000.

This brings you to a total of $50,000,000.

I boldly propose that we earmark 1% of the combined county budget (and city budgets of all cities within the county’s borders)for a countywide 100% Community initiative.

At 1%, that would give this collaborative city/county initiative a budget of $500,000. For that investment, we get what’s called a countywide process of continuous quality improvement in four phases (a model used to make businesses successful):

  1. Assessment: of services gaps and why they exist.

Consider the “1% for 100%” funding model and engage all county residents in the conversation about funding vital services. If survival services matter, then it’s time to make their accessibility a priority for local government.

Thinking global, fixing local: One county at a time

Our world is one where our phones, tablets, laptops and desktops all scream for attention, asking us to save humans around the world. One “like” is all any site wants (along with a donation). Our entire 100% Community hypothesis rests on getting change agents within one tiny geographic area on the planet — just one county — (your county) to focus on raising everyone up.

Why a county, you may ask. Why not just focus on a city, or work in only one community at a time? What we found across the nation is that many counties are either rural and/or vastly under-resourced, with punishing disparities and all the problems that come with lack of resources. But a city within that county might be doing much better and have a larger economic base from which to fund solutions. City/county partnerships are our goal.

Impossible! Until it’s not.

As you will read, fixing decades of health disparities and all the problems related to access to services may sound, to be candid, impossible. You will learn that it will take, in each county, only a majority of your city councils, county commissions and school boards. That’s fewer than 100 people who control the priorities and budgets of key services.

As for focusing on only one community, we know within each county certain areas have suffered historically, and they should be prioritized. We again advocate for using our county model, as city, county, school and higher education budgets — if combined and mobilized — can raise up every community within county borders.

Our vision is quite pragmatic. If we get all the counties in one state working well, we reinvent the entire state and make vital services available to all. We have so much to gain by sharing a vision and collaborating county by county. It starts with one or two county residents combining superpowers, networking and mobilizing.

Our colliding challenges will not be solved in Washington, DC by a sea of three-headed hydras. Nor do problems get solved by watching talking heads on national news outlets. The heroes required to make your city and county as caring as possible are living down the block or a short drive away. The local champion we need now more than ever is you.

Recommended reading: 100% Community, Introduction to the Book, Course, Initiative and Movement

The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.

Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? Answers await you here: www.tenvitalservices.org

Written by

A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.

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