Making Ukiah Safer in 2014

As some of you may have read in the paper earlier this week, my company is sponsoring a contest to make Ukiah a safer place in which to live and work. Is this self-serving? Sure. The publicity is nice for Realty World Selzer Realty. However, my motivation goes beyond publicity.

I’ve lived in Ukiah my entire life. I grew up here. I went to school here. I’ve been in business here for almost 40 years. During that time, I’ve seen the character of Ukiah change and it has me concerned.

When I was a kid, not only did we not lock our house when we left—even on vacation—I don’t think we even had a key to get back in if we had locked it. Today, our police officers and sheriff’s deputies are over-worked, writing reports on crimes that used to be unthinkable in Ukiah.

These days, when you call to report a burglary, you may hear, “Sorry, no officers are available at this time.” They’ll send someone out to take a report when they can. The officers are busy responding to emergency 911 calls or dealing with crimes in progress.

Another change from when I was growing up is the fact that I feel like I need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to the grocery store. The roads are in such disrepair that I wonder what else the City doesn’t have time or money to attend to. To me, poor roads are just one indicator that things are not as they should be.

To make Ukiah a desirable place to relocate, whether you’re a doctor, business owner, auto mechanic, or secretary, you want to live in a community that is safe and has reliable infrastructure. Not long ago, that was Ukiah.

Sadly, on more than one occasion, prospective home buyers have come to Ukiah with a job offer in hand, but after driving around Ukiah—seeing transients and having their teeth jarred by potholes on local streets—have decided to forego the employment opportunity. This realization is so disappointing because I know what a great place Ukiah is to live. But there is no question that it could be better.

During a recent tragedy in Ukiah, I saw our community come together around a family in a way that doesn’t happen in every town. So much good still exists here. It’s still a great place to raise kids. If you can find work to support your family, it still offers an incredible natural environment, fun community events, and a kind-heartedness that feels unique to our valley.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the boiling frog analogy, but it fits here. If you put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, it will not try to escape. If you put it in boiling water, it will jump like mad to get out. I feel like we are the frog who lived in the cool Ukiah waters of years past. The water is hot and starting to boil, but the changes have happened so gradually that we are all complacent. My concern is that if we don’t take action now, it may be too late. We’ll be cooked. It’s time to jump. Please consider submitting your ideas on how to make Ukiah safer.

If you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at or visit our website at If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.

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