“Only in Idyllwild,” we hear the expression often. The fine shops and galleries, and the outstanding restaurants make Idyllwild a special place. The cordial residents and friendly atmosphere enhance the quality of life in this mountain town. Active community members and merchants make a concerted effort to attract the tourist dollars by organizing and supporting local activities.

However, the spirit of Idyllwild is beginning to be threatened. Graffiti and tagging is being found in various locations. Who are the culprits? Are they locals or are they outsiders vandalizing areas in the community? No one really knows. This must be dealt with and stopped before it gets out of hand.

A small group of concerned citizens has already started a campaign to deal with the problem. An individual from the Justice Department was invited to facilitate two strategy meetings. He was instrumental in getting an open conversation started in the audience.

Many issues and concerns were openly expressed — gay and lesbian issues, religious tolerance, concern for neighbors, a neighborhood watch, getting youth involved in the community — to name a few. All of this was accomplished with a great deal of understanding. It’s amazing what happens when people talk with each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

The concept is to get the entire community involved to effect solutions. One significant outcome from the meetings was for neighbors to start talking to each other. A sense of community starts with this simple gesture. Another step is having a community potluck at 6 p.m. July 20, at the Idyllwild School multi-purpose room. [Editor’s note: The community dialogue will continue 6 p.m., July 20. Unfortunately, a potluck dinner will have to be planned for another day and location.]

It’s time for all of the people of Idyllwild to come together and find solutions to the underlying problems in the community, and bring back the Idyllwild spirit.

Don Dietz
Pine Cove
Summer Resident