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January 5, 2007

Sheila, my staff and I want to wish a Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you. I sincerely hope that 2007 will be a happy and prosperous year for you and all your family.

Several years ago, a friend of mine shared some information with me that I passed along to you. It seems fitting to once again repeat the message given the fact that the world we live in is so turbulent right now - the streets of Iraq - the streets of the Middle East - the streets of Palm Beach County.

"If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this: The village would be home to 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south, and eight Africans. There would be 52 females and 48 males. There would be 70 nonwhite and 30 white. There would be 70 non-Christians and 30 Christians. There would be 89 heterosexuals and 11 homosexuals. Six people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all six would be from the United States. Eighty would live in substandard housing. Seventy would be unable to read. Fifty would suffer from malnutrition. One would be near death. One would be near birth. One (yes, only one) would have a college education. One would own a computer. The need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent."

Most of us have been taught to accept people as they are and to understand that people are different. We have been educated that history, cultures, climates, economics and religions all play a role in how a person looks at the world. However, sometimes we need to be reminded that the demographics of the world can be compared to the demographics of a village of 100.

From my first day as a County Commissioner, I have had a Norman Rockwell picture in my office. Some of you have probably seen it. It portrays people of all races and religions - children and adults. There is an inscription, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I hung it there to remind myself that I represent all of the people of District 5 as well as all of the people of Palm Beach County. But even though I see it nearly every day, I was struck by the information about the village that my friend gave me. That is why I'm sharing it with you.

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