Teens and Social Media

As a father of two boys who are not yet teens, the questions are already coming up about when can they get a cell phone, when they can have a Facebook account. Some other kids their age already have one or the other, or maybe both. Being somewhat more conservative, I don’t see the rush to allow that into their lives. Every kid and every situation is different and each family has to figure that out for themselves. Our kids are either with us, with family or with friends and there is always an adult nearby. They aren’t out walking around town by themselves, so there is no need for them to have a cell phone. I see younger kids, under 10, all the time walking around, riding their bikes, going to the store, hanging out at parks without any adults around and I don’t think that is a good idea. Kids have plenty of time to learn independence. They are very impressionable at that age and aren’t ready physically or emotionally to be just be out on their own. They don’t have life experience yet. There is nothing that says letting your kids do whatever at 10 means they will be more responsible at 16.  Some parents are reactive and some are proactive. I don’t believe in giving kids everything and then taking away things if they mess up. I think privileges should be earned. A cell phone is not a right.

There have been a lot of stories lately about Internet bullying, teen suicides and the drama that comes out of kids who are not mature enough to handle situations being thrown at them.  Facebook played a part in a teen who was murdered recently that we have been discussing on our website, www.elkgrove-laguna.net/forums/showthread.php?5633-Teens-and-social-media-what-age-is-appropriate

Being a teen is hard enough without adding the pressures of social media and Facebook type websites that really have no benefits to teens. Throw in texting and that instant communication where one mistake can suddenly be broadcast all over the place and it’s just something most kids don’t need. We all want to be “good” parents and give our kids the best things and give them things we didn’t have as kids. We are as guilty of that as any parents and our kids are very spoiled and don’t realize it. But we are pretty strict on what they can and can’t do and we won’t parent based on how others parent. Just because another kid has a cell phone or is on Facebook will not influence our decisions as parents and what we think is best for our kids. Technology has brought us a lot of good, but it has also brought us some bad things. It’s up to parents to be parents.

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Have you ever thought about starting your own online forum?

It seems like just about everyone these days has a blog. Most people want a place to share their thoughts with people publicly, but not necessarily verbally. A blog is a good place to start, it’s free and not a lot of work to set up or maintain. You just add your random thoughts and you can put it out there for the world to see.

What if you want more than that? What if you want to share your opinions but also want to get feedback from others? A blog can kind of do that, but it’s not what it’s meant to do. People can comment and you can respond, but it’s cumbersome. You can join a local community forum. Many communities have one or more, depending on the size of your city. But then you are just one voice among many voices and not directing it anywhere.

You can do what I did and start your own forum. I was a member of another forum for many years and finally decided I wanted to do something myself. I had experience being a member of a forum, but zero trying to actually run one. There were a lot of questions? What type of forum? What type of forum software to use? How to administrate it? How do I get people to join? How do I keep them there? Can I make money at it? What is my goal? All questions I had to figure out.

I knew I wanted a community forum where people in my city of Elk Grove could connect online and discuss a wide array of topics. Issues such as those affecting our city, national issues, sports, entertainment, home improvement, health, food etc. You can also do forums that are more specific such as products or hobbies. There are car forums and repair forums to name a couple. I’ve always been very opinionated so I knew I wanted a forum to express my opinions and also let others express theirs. I also wanted to have an impact on the community in a couple of ways. One, I wanted to help small businesses who can’t afford to pay a lot of money to advertise by giving them an online presence that they may not otherwise have. Secondly, I wanted to help promote issues that I feel are important to the city and the people living here. I felt there was a void in that area here in Elk Grove.

With the help of a friend who is a publisher I decided to write a book about my experiences starting my own online forum. There is also information that will help people even if they are not interested in starting their own forum, such as how to use social media to promote their business or causes.

Power Broker

Here is sample of what you can learn from my book:

• How to get authority, and why you must have it to succeed
• Why small forums are the best online opportunity since 2012
• Why small niche blogs are now almost guaranteed to fail
• The two social skills required for authority–and how to get them
• Killer strategies for growing your audience quickly
• How to identify problems that need to be solved
• Finding solutions people need with crowd sourcing
• 5 Essential Requirements for a successful online community
• How to start your community with just a few people you know
• Prosper without Google PR or top search results
• Top 7 Reasons online communities fail, and how to prevent them
• How to know the right size for a niche
• How to get great content for free
• Learn how to estimate how many members you need to succeed
• How to find discussion topics that people want to see
• How to keep followers and members coming back
• No-fail hot topics you can use with confidence
• How to get noticed by the press
• Why niche forums are now more profitable than ever
• The secret to getting advertisers coming back for more
• More ways to monetize your forum
• Easy guide to setting up your forum, written by the tech wiz who did it
• How to make your Facebook page liked
• Twitter strategies that elevate you to people that matter
• Why you shouldn’t use conventional Facebook strategies with a micro niche forum
• Successful contests online with prizes people love– that cost you nothing.
• Offline promotion strategies that get you noticed by the right people

My book is available on Amazon.com for $2.99. You can download it right onto your computer, Kindle, smart phone or tablet. Click on the link below for more information or to download your copy.

Power Broker: Dominate Social Media. Build Massive Authority. How To Start and Run A Profitable Online Micro Niche Forum

If you want see how our forum is run or you have any questions on how start a forum or use the information in my book, you can visit our website Elk Grove Laguna Forums

Doc Souza

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Why is it that pit bulls are so controversial?

It seems that this is a story that just won’t go away. Every day there are stories somewhere about a pit bull attack on someone. Here is our latest discussion where we have quite a few examples including a woman being mauled to death and that’s just the tip of the ice berg.
http://www.elkgrove-laguna.net/forums/showthread.php?5408-Pit-Bull-Sterilization-ordinance

elkgrovelaguna

Not sure why, but any discussion on our website that deals with pit bulls always ends up being one of the most heated topics. We currently have another discussion regarding pit bulls now, Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas
It seems people either hate them or love them and not much in the middle. With two small kids I would never own one. Too many stories about them attacking not only other dogs and strangers but often their own family members. Any dog breed has a propensity to bite. Contrary to what some people think, dogs are animals and not humans. Animals are unpredictable. Sometimes for whatever reason dogs snap. The issue with this particular breed of dog is what happens when it does snap? The damage is often very bad and sometimes fatal. The question seems to be is it a problem with the breed or is it just bad owners?…

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Should the City of Elk Grove take over fire and parks from the CSD?

If not now, then when? At some we will need to have this discussion. In most cities services like parks, fire, and police are under one umbrella and that local body controls everything. Elk Grove is a fairly young city, only turning 13 this year, and has had it’s share of growing pains that included a city council that was not popular with a lot of citizens. 4 of the original 5 are now gone and the lone remaining council member, Jim Cooper is running for Assembly in 2014. By most accounts the current city council has done a much better job, of course depending upon who you ask. If you ask the regulars at the council meetings you will likely get a different answer because to most, development is an evil word and most all should not be approved. I bring this up first because over the years on our website or others, whenever the topic of merging the parks and fire with the city comes up, the first comments are about how people don’t trust the city, and how they are afraid of what the city will do with the parks and fire. Much of that is based on the initial city council who were not responsive and lacked transparency. Also the initial council seemed to be controlled by a city manager and contracted planning staff.

During this time the CSD has for the most part received a pass from most local activists who do not hold the CSD board to the same level of accountability that they do the city council, in my opinion. In discussions on this topic I always got the feeling that people were afraid to criticize the CSD out of fear it would fuel a merger or takeover by the city. Also during the early years of city hood the City Council and CSD had some major disagreements, over parks, median landscaping, fees. It was during this time that the CSD made a decision that was not in the best interests of Elk Grove residents and taxpayers. That was the decision to merge with the Galt Fire Department. To myself and many others, this decision was primarily based on the thought that merging with Galt Fire would make it more difficult for the city to take over parks and fire from the CSD because now the CSD was more than just Elk Grove. The CSD boundaries were already different than the city of Elk Grove, but adding in another city 10 miles south of us made it that much larger.

During that debate we asked what were the benefits to Elk Grove in merging with Galt. The only benefits we were told about was that since all local fire departments provide mutual aid to each other, improving Galt’s fire department would help Elk Grove residents in the event Galt fire needed to aid the Elk Grove fire department. Elk Grove also receives mutual aid from Sacramento City Fire and Sac Metro Fire who have equipment and facilities comparable to Elk Grove. With 6 fire stations in Elk Grove and only 2 in Galt, I am not sure how often Galt was called in to mutually aid Elk Grove. Sac City and Sac Metro likely have closer stations.

The real beneficiaries of the merger were Galt residents and Galt firefighters. Galt firefighters received increased salary and benefits to match their counterparts in Elk Grove. Galt residents got upgraded equipment and facilities and better trained firefighters. This came at the expense of Elk Grove taxpayers. Galt residents voted down an attempt to raise taxes to improve their fire protection. The merger was pushed by the then CSD board and administration. It also had the support of the firefighters union, but many Elk Grove firefighters were not in favor of it. A lot of them reluctantly went along with it because of the fear mongering over what some said might happen if the city took over the fire department.

The merger took place and one of the first decisions made by the then CSD GM and the fire chief (who was not popular with his own firefighters, for a variety of reasons) was a name change. They removed the name Elk Grove from the fire department that had proudly served this area for so many years. That didn’t sit well with many of the long time members of the Elk Grove Fire Department who saw the name change as knife in the back and a way to get back at them for not being supportive of the merger. In protest some still wore their old jackets for events in Elk Grove like the Santa Parade and rescuing Santa at the Dickens Faire until they were told not to by the fire chief. Working at the Galt fire stations is something most don’t want to do. They prefer to work in Elk Grove.

All this matters because now the CSD board is putting the safety of our community at risk with a decision to brown out, or take out of service, one engine on a rotating basis in the city of Elk Grove in a cost saving measure. With only 2 fire stations, Galt was not forced to participate in this and will keep both stations fully staffed. Benefit to Galt, loss to Elk Grove residents.

Why are we at this point? Like many government organizations the CSD lived well during the good times, and spent money on lots of improvements and possibly equipment that wasn’t needed at the time. CSD gets its money from property taxes and according to the budget posted on their website, revenue is down about $6 million or roughly 16% since 2007. To their credit they have survived without going into the red like some municipalities. They have made cut backs. the Parks department staff has had to take furloughs and no raises. They have cut positions and some parks left to die because of a lack of funding. According to the 2012-13 budget, overtime in the fire department was just around $1.9 million or 11% of the payroll. That seems like a large amount. The district recently announced it was hiring more recruits to be able to cut down on the amount of overtime. In 2006 the CSD also purchased 97 acres in Wilton on Dillard Road for $4 million. This is outside the CSD boundaries. Now the land sits vacant, they can’t sell it and have no intention of developing it into a park. They overpaid for it in the first place and no are paying interest on a loan on the property, and according to comments of the CSD in 2011, the only income was from rent being paid by resident living in a house on the property. The purchase came at around the same time as the merger with Galt and was seen by some critics as another poison pill type of move to keep the city of Elk Grove from taking over because the land was outside the CSD and City boundaries.

I believe now is the time to think about consolidating the parks and fire under control of the city of Elk Grove. There would be some savings in elimninating some administrative and staffing positions that may not be needed. Possibly selling or finding another use for the existing CSD building on Elk Grove Blvd. It would also put control of the safety of Elk Grove residents back in the hands of Elk Grove citizens and taxpayers. It would once again put the name Elk Grove back onto the uniforms of our fire department.

You can also visit our website to vote in our poll and participate in our discussion,  Should the city of Elk Grove take over parks and fire from the CSD?   

Doc Souza

Elk Grove Laguna Forums

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The Kings Saga (updated 5/15/13)

When the Maloofs announced they were selling the Kings to Seattle, I said from the start that this was something personal against Sacramento. They felt somehow they were wronged by the city leaders and residents here because they didn’t get a new arena for free. Kevin Johnson wanted to put together a group to buy the Kings after the failed attempt to move to Anaheim and build a new arena, but the Maloofs said the team was not for sale. Then early this year they announced they were selling the team to Seattle. They made no attempt to sell the team to keep it here. Why is that? I think it was out of spite. They don’t want the team to have a new arena and possibly be successful here in Sacramento without them. They would rather the city have no team than a team without them. The Maloofs have been non entities here the past few years. When times were good they were on the sidelines jumping up and down, high fiving everyone. When times went bad they disappeared. They did nothing to improve the team. They hired lousy coaches, made bad trades and overpaid for mediocre players. 10 years ago the Kings were a team players wanted to play for. Now they can only get role players and bad coaches.  The economy played a huge role in the lack of fan attendance, but a winning team would still be drawing near sell out crowds. The team has been awful the past 5-6 years. No heart, no teamwork, no talent and no owners.

Now the mayor has put together a group that will buy the team, keep it here, promote the team internationally and has the money to improve the team and build a state of the art arena, but the Maloofs are still insisting on selling the team to Seattle owners. If the money is the same, why do they care? Do they want to be known as the owners who ran the team out of town? They are obviously petty individuals. They don’t want to see a team stay here, get a new arena and maybe even be successful. If the team moves to Seattle, the Kings name is dead. In a few years no one will care that the team was here. How many people associate the Oklahoma City Thunder with Seattle? Of course die hard knowledgeable sports fans do, but as time goes by the Kings will be forgotten by most people just as the Sonics name has.

No one knows what would have happened if the Maloofs announced they wanted to sell the team. Would Sacramento have put together this same dynamic type of partnership to buy the team and build arena? Maybe, maybe not. The pressure and deadline of trying to find new owners made everyone react more forcefully. Maybe the Maloofs feel they were burned over and over by the city and didn’t want to do it again. It just seems a lot of this is personal and spiteful. They know how much the fans love this team. That’s been obvious by the reaction these past few months.

Let’s hope the NBA owners will see how important it is to the community to keep the Kings here and that the team can be successful, in a new arena, and the Maloofs will forever have to see the Sacramento Kings name. I can’t see the NBA letting the team leave given everything that has transpired over the past couple of months. The mayor and the area have stepped up big time. The fans have shown their support with the Here We Stay and Here We Buy campaigns.

Update 4/29/13

The NBA relocation committee voted unanimously against the Kings moving to Seattle. What does this all mean? It should mean the Kings are staying in Sacramento, but will it be that easy? Will the Seattle group give up or fight on? It’s not likely they will win a fight with a group they need permission to join, but Chris Hanson released a statement tonight saying they are not giving up. Will it ruin any chance they have of getting an expansion team?  The NBA owners hold final approval over any deal. I don’t blame them for being upset. They made an offer for the team, and the Kings owners accepted it. But the NBA is an exclusive club and they reserve the right to approve any sales and also prevent teams from moving. Most cities would have given up, but Sacramento didn’t. Seattle deserves a team, but not this one.

What will the Maloofs do? I still firmly believe that they are petty, vindictive people who really don’t want the team to stay here.  I don’t think they will just quietly hand over the team, take their money and walk away. I think they want to burn some bridges and leave a scorched earth. I don’t trust them. If they can find a way to screw this up they will. They have tried for the past few months to move this team and prevent it from staying here, even going to the point of lobbying the other owners to approve this (that sure didn’t work) and trying to undermine the efforts to keep the team here by criticizing the offer from the new owners. They don’t like Kevin Johnson and it was their hope to move this team and give the fans here the finger. I don’t know what else they can do besides walk away. Doing anything other than that will show what kind of people they are. They are essentially a reality show. “How to blow your family’s wealth.” That’s what they will be known for. It’s obvious the other owners and the commissioner are tired of their act and the vote today confirms that. Let’s hope in a 2 weeks when all the owners vote on this that they send them packing and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Update 5/15/13

The NBA owners voted to deny the move to Seattle, 22-8. There was no vote on the sale of the Kings to the Sacramento group. During his press conference, NBA Commissioner David Stern measured his words very carefully when talking about the Maloofs, saying they aren’t forced to sell the team, but he expects an agreement in 24-48 hours. Afterwards local reporters spoke to George Maloof who said the family was disappointed because they wanted to sell the team to the Seattle group. They would stand to get an additional $100 million so I don’t blame them in that regard. When asked if their backs are against the wall or if they feel pressured to sell, Maloof said no they don’t feel pressured. When asked if they could still keep the team he said that is one of the options. He also said they tried to sell to a Sacramento group but no one came forward. That is contrary to what everyone else has said.  They repeatedly said the team was not for sale. So now here we are again with the Maloofs in control not sure what they should do and Sacramento Kings fans still can’t fully celebrate. It’s something the city and the fans have been through over and over and will continue to go through until the Maloofs are gone.  Will they finally give up and sell or will they continue to push this spiteful chapter to another level? They are not to be trusted. Until they are removed from the team there can be no true celebration.

Doc Souza
Elk Grove Laguna Forums

Author of: Power Broker: Dominate Social Media | Build Massive Authority | How To Start and Run A Profitable Online Micro Niche Forum

Power Broker

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This is 40 (movie review)

This is 40 stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. It’s a continuation of the movie Knocked Up. The movie is rated R. There is shower sex scene right off the bat and some simulated oral sex later in the movie. Also lots of profanity and crude language, references to sex. Definitely not a family movie even if you have kids in their late teens. Mostly for adults over 35 who can relate to situation.

We had heard a lot of good things about the movie and that it was really funny. The movie is about the couple turning 40. The wife is in denial and insists she is 38. That seemed like a funny premise for the movie. They have two daughters. The oldest an early teen and youngest about 7 or 8. The teen daughter is bitchy and fights with her sister a lot. A running gag through the movie is the older daughter is watching the series Lost, all 100+ episodes in a short time and its affecting her life and her parents want her to stay off her iPhone, iPad, computer etc.

The parents fight a lot and are going through a marital mid life crisis. The husband is kind of a jerk and has some funny moments but mostly comes across as a pig. The wife is kind of ditzy and seems like she is high or on meds. They each run their own small business, neither of which is very successful. She has a clothing store and he runs a small record label. Megan Fox plays an employee at the clothing store. The wife is clueless to their financial situation and the husband is lying to her about it. His father, played by Albert Brooks, is a moocher who lays a guilt trip on his son so he will give him money which makes the couple’s financial situation even worse. John Lithgow plays the wife’s father with whom she has had no relationship. Both of the dads have remarried and have young children.

The couple is going through marital troubles, financial troubles and everyone in the family is fighting and they are having a 40th birthday party for the husband which sets the stage for the ending.

The movie has lots of funny moments, but not enough to make it worth seeing at the theater in my opinion. At almost 2 hours and 15 minutes it has some slow times with little or no humor and a plot that has no direction. There is a lot of gratuitous profanity and the humor of hearing the F word over and over does get a little old. I’d give it 2 stars out of 5. It could have been much funnier if they played up the turning 40 angle more and less about couple’s financial issues.

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Why Gun Control Will Not Work

This could have been written anytime after a crazy with a gun decides to kill innocent people. After the Stockton school shootings, Columbine, Aurora movie theaters, mall shootings and most recently Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Anytime there is a tragedy we search for answers on why it happened and how we can prevent it from happening again. We did it after 9/11. Security was increased and other measures were taken to not only make air travel safer, but prevent a person or group of people from using an airplane as a weapon of mass destruction. It forced us to deal with being inconvenienced. Longer lines, limits on what can be carried on a plane. Air travel is not a right, it’s a choice.

Gun ownership is different. It is a right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment in our Constitution. We can’t ban all guns. That’s not legal and it’s not possible. It’s also not the solution. All across the country the debate goes on about what we can do to prevent future massacres. It’s been a hot topic on our website, Elk Grove Laguna Forums as well. Should schools have armed security guards? Gun control. We have had some very good discussions on these subjects. There have been many suggestions on how we can either prevent this from happening or making it less likely. The reality is we can’t prevent these things from happening unless people are willing to curb the civil rights of innocent people. Let’s look at some of the suggestions.

Changes to the mental health system. More awareness would be great. Does that mean more government? Does it mean more government intrusion in our lives? You can’t just force an adult to seek help or take medication. The number of people who turn psycho and go on a shooting spree is very, very small. Are we going to lock up people just in case they may one day turn into killers? Are we really interested in restricting the rights of innocent people?

Gun control. A complete ban will never happen. That’s off the table. We already have restrictions in place. Some types of guns and ammunition are already banned. The shooter in Newtown used his mom’s guns that she purchased legally. Those guns wouldn’t be banned under proposed gun control regulations. We need to stop thinking like rational people. A person who shoots innocent children is not rational. Banning guns will not stop criminals from getting them. Murder is illegal and that doesn’t stop them. The mass shooters go into it knowing they will either be killed or kill themselves when they are caught. How are you going to stop someone with that mentality?

The Cato Institute published a paper on how armed citizens can prevent crime. They gave examples of this happening.

More security. That could provide a last level of defense, but is not a guarantee of safety. People mention that Columbine had an armed security guard and there was still a high death toll. Maybe it would have been worse. Two days after the Newtown shooting, an off duty officer shot a suspect at a Texas movie theater who had already shot two people. It may have averted another mass shooting. On New Years Eve in Old Sacramento an armed security guard shot and disabled a suspect who shot and killed two people. It may have prevented more killings or the suspect from escaping. Would it work at schools? Who knows. It could be a deterrent. It may make them think twice but at the same time we know our schools are not completely safe. Most recess areas are in view from the street.

Another suggestion is having teachers or principal’s armed. That could be a complicated issue and deciding how to do it would be the subject of intense debate. Not all parents will be in favor of that. There would need to be strict criteria on where the weapons will be stored etc.

Where does this leave us? What can we do? Maybe a little bit of everything. Some restrictions on automatic weapons are likely. More mental health awareness is necessary. That has to start with families and friends. More security at schools and possibly public places are likely as well. Most of this is out of our control, which is frustrating to everyone. We all have a desire to fix this.

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