9/02/03

Courtesy of the  The McKinleyville Press, McKinleyville CA

By Jack Durham
McKinleyville Press Editor

      In these days of shrinking budgets, it's crucial to get the most out of every dollar spent.
     With this in mind, gubernatorial candidate Darin Price is proposing a "Community Credits" program which would encourage citizens to volunteer and reward them for their efforts.
        With a small budget, donations and volunteer labor, Price says the program could go a long way in meeting the needs of communities throughout the state.
        "Community Credits are kind of like the old Blue Chip Stamps in my mind," said Price, who is the only North Coast candidate seeking the governorship.
   For those too young to know about Blue Chip Stamps, they were once given out by retailers as bonuses with every purchase. The more you bought, the more stamps you received. Eventually you would save up enough stamps and redeem them for merchandise, ranging from trinkets for kids to toasters, radios and, for those with really sore tongues, TVs.
       Price's "Community Credits" program would work in a similar fashion, but instead of receiving credits for making purchases, citizens would receive credits for community service.
       Locally, citizens could receive credits for volunteering at the McKinleyville Senior Center or Sheriff's Citizens on Patrol, among other programs.
      In big cities, Price said, the credits could reward those who volunteer at homeless shelters or remove graffiti.
        Volunteers would accumulate credits which they could then redeem for items, services or discounts.
      Price said one possibility is that the credits could be used to get an official thank you from a city council. Or they could be redeemed for items   donated by local businesses. They could be saved up or donated to someone else.
    "If you had enough credits, you could apply them to co-payments for prescription drugs," Price said.
    "Local flexibility is the key for this to work," Price said.
    If the recall effort is successful and Price is elected to replace embattled Gov. Gray Davis, the "Community Credits" program would probably start small in a few select communities and grow from there.
       "My idea is to get the most service out of every dollar," Price said.