MODESTO — Here's a list you won't see in Forbes magazine: cities with current Super Bowl quarterbacks.
The Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Stanislaus County, of which Turlock is a part and where the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick went to high school. Kaepernick's parents now live in Modesto. So we can claim a tie for first with Audubon, N.J., hometown of the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco.
Yes, it's a short list.
Here's another: cities with movie stars premièring films this weekend.
OK, Modesto is at the top of that one, too, with Beyer High grad and former Modesto Junior College "Wizard of Oz" scarecrow Jeremy Renner starring in "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters."
(Not to ignore Timothy Olyphant, also from Modesto and Beyer High, currently enjoying small-screen success in the cable series "Justified.")
Sure, these are stretches, because all of the aforementioned people ply their trades elsewhere. But such myopic rankings are certainly more uplifting than the lists the valley usually makes, and usually in Forbes:
Most miserable cities
Worst air quality
Best places to have your car stolen
Worst business climates (unless you deal meth)
Worst places to find a job
Most out-of-shape people (based on gym memberships per capita, fried pork rind consumption or whatever)
We've made all of them at one time or another, and some like the auto theft rankings repeatedly. They are to be avoided. The question becomes: How does an area vanish from the list makers' radar?
Last week, new Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll visited The Bee for a meet-and-greet with the editorial staff. He's been here only a couple of weeks, but it didn't take him long to form an opinion about the city and the area.
Many of the people he's met are wonderful, he said. They greet you, and it's like you've been friends for a lifetime. But among others, there is a general apathy about neighborhoods, crime, the city in general.
Worse yet, as I've noticed over the decades, there's an attitude of defeatism among some valley dwellers that they don't deserve better, if only because they don't demand more of themselves, their neighbors, politicians and authorities.
Carroll described it as people throwing up their hands as if to say, "Oh, well, there's nothing we can do about it."
Yes, he said, law-abiding people can do something about it.
They can use The Club or electronic anti-theft devices to deter car thefts. Authorities gave out 2,000 of the steering wheel locks in 2010 and saw a 12.6 percent decrease in auto theft by 2011. So they gave out 1,600 more last year.
And residents can make sure that crooks know they are being watched, because when people look out for one another including, but not limited to, neighborhood watches crime rates decrease and the quality of life improves. Get license plate numbers and good physical descriptions, and contact authorities. We've written numerous stories over the years about witnesses who stepped in to stop purse thefts, muggings and even apprehended suspects until the police arrived.
Get visual, get involved but be safe and smart about it.
Carroll cringed when asked about the actions of two Modesto residents who last week tried to stop a crime. They pursued the suspects and, according to reports, both parties rammed each other's vehicles in moves akin to a county fair destruction derby.
The cops eventually caught the perps near McHenry Village. The so-called vigilantes escaped injury, though their auto insurer no doubt will put some hurt on them when their next premiums come due. More important, they were fortunate no innocent bystanders were killed or injured during the chase, which was similar to one here last summer.
A central Modesto resident spotted some thugs lurking in his neighborhood early one August morning and called the police. They responded but lacked the evidence to make arrests.
Later, when the prowlers spotted the resident who had called authorities, they bashed his car with a baseball bat and then fled in a stolen SUV. He gave chase. The SUV tried to turn onto 17th Street from I, but failed to make the turn.
It slammed into a couple sitting on a bus stop bench, crushing the woman's legs, breaking ribs and nearly killing her. The SUV launched her boyfriend 15 feet into the air, fracturing his leg and spine.
The police made arrests. The victims continue to recover.
And in November, a 52-year-old Keyes man was struck and killed by a pickup as he tried to confront illegal dumpers on his family's property near Keyes.
Those tragic events ultimately will show up in the crime statistics that Forbes and others will use as the basis for the negative rankings this area can't seem to escape.
So when something good happens when a local leads his team to the Super Bowl, stars in a Hollywood production or does anything that reflects positively and nationally on the community embrace the moment and the list, however short it might be.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.