Every person or family that moves into the Central Valley has their reason. For some, it’s not a permanent move. For others, it’s the place they will call home and continue their life path.

Personally, my family falls into the latter category. Although I was the first to be all-in calling Los Banos my home, eventually our town slowly grew on the rest of the family. Today, my oldest children have successful lives, families of their own and a town they call home.

As you read this, you may ask, “What does this have to do with commuting?” Well, there is a correlation between commuting and where you decide to call home. 

For some commuters, the Valley is where they live, and that’s that. However, if you decide to go all-in on your town, you may get interested in its history, surrounding interests and ultimately city government.

In the days before Facebook and other digital platforms, people found out about their town via internet research, local broadcasts of the city council and the local newspaper. I did all of the above with great regularity.

Some of the events, groups and city government really got my attention. In fact, I reached a point where I asked myself, “How could I be involved?”

Remember, if you are a serious commuter with 15-20 plus hours on the road weekly, there is little time left for your city involvement, not to mention many of the happenings that occur while working or commuting. On the weekends you may simply be too tired.

After raising my family, I faced a difficult question, “How can I possibly become involved with my city?” And I found a way. Los Banos is my hometown, and as a commuter I still want to give back.  

Well, an opportunity arose in Los Banos on the Planning Commission. Yes, I joined the Los Banos Planning Commission.  I have to say I feel great gratification in a position that allows me to altruistically offer my service, and the city has found a commissioner who accepted the position with great pride and a high level of passion.

The Los Banos Planning Commission is perfect for my schedule as a commuter.  The Planning Commission only requires two days out of the month, and generally two to four total hours monthly.

I view this as being part of a team helping to positively shape the future of my city through careful planning, upholding standards and practices and being cognizant of codes while making decisions.

My main point to commuters is this: If you should decide to give back to your city and community, there are several opportunities. Sometimes these avenues have a huge impact, yet require very little of your time.

Personally, I have found my niche and find it very rewarding.   I highly recommend if you desire “a way to give back,” start at your city’s website for possible commission opportunities. There are quite a few, and who knows, it could be possible that you are that missing voice.

Safe travels, my friends.