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An open letter to Los Angeles Times reporter Alana Semuels

By: From Robert Cook Special to The News Messenger
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An open letter to Los Angeles Times reporter Alana Semuels May 2, 2011 Dear Ms. Semuels: Thank you for visiting Lincoln and reporting on the city’s recognized claim as the fastest growing city in California. The snapshot you presented of Lincoln, however, was unrecognizable. It’s true Sun City Lincoln Hills residents make up a substantial portion of Lincoln’s population, and the community does include just about anything active seniors could want. But the comment claiming the mature population is a challenge to vital commerce in the city is simply not true. Sun City Lincoln Hills residents not only shop and dine in downtown Lincoln, some are business owners. Kathy Dorsey, proprietress of the Wardrobe boutique and her husband Terry Dorsey, owner and president of Dorsey Capital Management are examples of mature business owners. Sam and Sherri Melchner, owners of AAA Optical Outlet, are also residents of Sun City Lincoln Hills and Lincoln proprietors. Danny and Debbie Avila do not live in Sun City Lincoln Hills but own and operate a very successful hair salon and day spa located in downtown Lincoln that counts upward of 50 percent of its clientele as Sun City Lincoln Hills customers. You mentioned the commerce that does exist is not exactly big box. Please, Ms. Semuels, surely you do not suggest Lincoln’s promising historic downtown should include a big box store in its core. There are popular big box and chain stores located a few miles away within Lincoln, and you will find plenty of Sun City Lincoln Hills residents sliding their credit cards at our local Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Target. You’ll also see seniors conducting lucrative transactions in the local banks, filling grocery carts in Lincoln supermarkets and frequenting the outstanding major medical facilities that sprang up in Lincoln thanks to the number of mature residents who are known to prefer to use local shops and services. Think about it – retirees don’t shop miles away on their way home from work. They shop where they live. As for contributing to the city’s coffers, the renowned Citizens on Patrol (COPS) program consists of retiree volunteers who save the city a significant $300,000 per year by taking over the non-hazardous police responsibilities so the sworn officers can perform duties critical to public safely. That’s just one of many cost-savings Sun City Lincoln Hills residents provide to their community. The mature and junior populations in Lincoln may not splurge on the same things but seniors do contribute greatly to Lincoln’s commerce and should not be hidden in the shadows of your inaccurate snapshot. Sincerely, Robert Cook, Executive Director Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association