Every time I watch my two boys take a lesson with their coach, Matt Gibbon at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, it reminds me of my personal experience 25 years ago. I was a professor in China before I came to America in 1990. In the beginning, I couldn’t find a teaching position and had to try whatever I could to survive. I worked in a restaurant, delivered Dominos Pizza and washed cars. My basic needs were making enough money for my stomach and a place to live! I learned some English in China but I had never come across the word “Tee.” China was very poor and golf was a dream in an unrealistic world!
When I found a teaching position at a college and could afford to buy my first set of golf clubs, I made my first trip to a public golf club in Seattle. A gentleman at the front desk asked politely with a smile: “What is your Tee time, sir?” I thought to myself, oh, my God, what kind of luxurious sport is this? People can have an afternoon tea even before going to the course. So I replied excitedly: “What kind of tea do you have? Green tea or Jasmine tea?” To show him I knew some good British English, instead of using the word “cracker” I even asked him: “What kind of biscuits do you have?” He was at a loss at first. Then he started to laugh and laughed until he cried. I was mad and used some impolite words I had learned: “Why the hell are you laughing at me?” Finding I was not happy, he managed to stop laughing and explained to me the difference between “tee” and “tea”.
Last week the Rancho Santa Fe community met at the Garden Club to discuss traffic signals vs. roundabouts for Paseo Delicias. The supporters of traffic signals showed lots of documents and gave reasons for having signals, while those who were in favor of roundabouts said how beautiful it would be to keep the rural life of RSF with roundabouts. No matter how each side argued, in my opinion, we must look to Mr. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in shifting through the current debate on this topic.
Professor Maslow (1905-1970) the Father/Founder of Humanistic psychology stated that there were 5 needs for human beings: physiological, safety, love, self-esteem and self-actualization. In other words, people are motivated to secure the most basic needs like having enough food, water, shelter and warmth first before pursuing higher needs such as playing golf, riding a horse, or enjoying a variety of other social activities. Generally speaking, that theory will fit all the countries in the world, including America and specifically Rancho Santa Fe.
Maslow wrote his hierarchy of needs in 1943. What are the current basic needs for Americans after 70+ years, in 2015? With the population exploding from 132 million in the 40’s to over 320 million in 2010; with the computer age upon us, traffic and the Internet have become two additions to the category of basic needs for all people. When people shop for a house, their first and most important concerns are traffic and Internet access because they want to avoid traffic jams and want access to information about the world. Especially, they want their children to have some basic services at home. People can only afford to enjoy the luxury of playing golf or riding a horse during their free time or when they retire only after those basic needs are met. The importance of traffic and the Internet in the eyes of most people are just like food, water and shelter. By only spending $1 million dollars to finish the traffic signals within two years, we can solve your basic and urgent needs immediately. Why do you want to wait at least 6 years or maybe another 10 years and spend $6 million dollars to build those so luxurious roundabouts? How many additional 6 or 10 years do you have in your life?
Moreover, the traffic in Rancho Santa Fe is not only getting worse but can be very scary. It is like a battle zone for the residents who live around the road Paseo Delicias! Especially for those parents with children, they are struggling to get in and out on this road in the early morning and later afternoon like soldiers. When a pile of cars pass the STOP sign at El Montevideo and drive eastbound over 50 mph, it is extremely dangerous. I have noticed that there have been quite a few accidents along this road since we moved in. Recently, my wife complained and even suggested to check other neighborhoods—like Fairbanks Ranch! I learned the American saying: “A happy wife, a happy life.” However, I have fallen in love with this lovely town. I am now in a Catch 22!
The reason I enjoy this small town is not only because of a 5-star public school and beautiful golf club, but more importantly, because I started to know more about the residents in this community. They are polite, warm-hearted and ready to help. The board members are engaged and truly care for the residents. When I send an email to them, I always receive a quick response. When I ask to meet with them, I have never received any negative signals from them. You feel that you are talking with an old friend that you have known for 20 years! I can see that they really serve the residents—heart and soul! I explained to my wife that I have confidence in them.
They know what the basic needs are and what the luxurious things are. They know how to prioritize the needs of our community! I also told my wife that most of the residents who do not even live around the road Paseo Delicias would put their feet into our shoes and vote for traffic signals. Because they not only want to enjoy playing golf or riding horses themselves, but they also care about the basic needs of their brothers and sisters in this community. The straw poll vote on April 29, 2015 proves I’m right: 77% of attendants voted for traffic signals! That is the real beauty of Rancho Santa Fe: ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE!