Benda:‘Hush Up and Roll Up Telluride Needs Us All!’ | Guest Commentary
by Andrea Benda, Town of Telluride Councilmember
Aug 01, 2007 | 409 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Telluride hyped itself as “The Town Without a Bellyache” not so long ago. 

What’s happened?  Two weeks ago Mayor John Pryor read the midyear State of the Town address, emphasizing our collective strength and the accomplishments possible through cooperation.  Town Manager Frank Bell highlighted the distances achieved toward our 2007 goals.  Quite an impressive report card for Town staff, council, and the many commissions that make this Town hum! 

Did any one hear or read these milestone reports? I haven’t seen one letter or email about them. Many comments (and some downright nasty remarks) have focused on the “Impeachment Issue.” How disappointing that few people realize that Town Council did not initiate this proposal! Town Charter mandates that when a citizen-initiated petition is brought to the Town Clerk, certified, and then presented to Town Council, only two options exist:  pass an ordinance (on two readings) or send the issue to the ballot in the next election. Council has no option to throw out the petition. Believe me, this council knows and understands the many challenges facing Telluride and the focus necessary to deliver solutions. But we must respond, using the Charter as our framework, when citizens initiate a petition.  

So maybe folks didn’t understand that and we need to do a better job with providing civics lessons. On it. But, constant negative grousing about everything else continues. I’m not talking about constructive criticisms, the kind we’ve observed at two recent gatherings of Telluride business owners, managers, and employees. The great ideas that spring forth from such cooperative communications make a real difference in the betterment of our whole community. 

I’m talking about the mean carping some citizens dish out for many of their waking hours.  The “us” and “them” attitudes.  Antagonistic words and behavior toward neighbors placing sandbags or fixing a road. Come on! WE are “WE” here! It’s time to hush up and roll up – sleeves, that is, for the work at hand. 

What does it take to make a good community?  A recent article by Sam Mamet in Colorado Municipalities outlines the “Ten Commandments of Community, Diversity, and Togetherness” Sam collected from former Colorado governor Richard Lamm. 

Desperately needed reminders for Telluride now:

“A great community needs great leaders, but more importantly needs great citizens.” Are you a great citizen? Do you know the biggest issues facing our Town? Is there something you can do to help? If you are already part of the solutions, thank you! You are the backbone of Telluride.

“Thou shalt not ask what your community can do for you. Thou shall ask what you can do for your community.” Sound familiar?  It’s an old saying from the activist 1960s where many of us cut our teeth. A nice way of saying “Hush up and roll up”.

Volunteer in your kid’s camp, team, classroom, library. Pick up your pet’s waste. Turn off your auto at a construction stop and read your book during the wait. Volunteer or write a check for a local nonprofit (there are more than a hundred to choose from!).  Learn to say hello in Spanish, Russian, Navajo and say it with a smile to your neighbors and workers (100 years ago it would have been Finnish, German, or 25 other languages). Attend a Town Council meeting. Get involved on one of Telluride’s dozen boards and commissions. Shop locally. Go to a movie, the museum, an art show, the library. Look around at Telluride’s natural abundance and stunning beauty. Be grateful. Add to this list!

Or would you rather sit around and complain, point fingers, call names, dig up dirt (and I’m not talking about the Spur!), write spiteful emails and letters to the editor? Come on! We have a bountiful harvest to celebrate. Do something constructive. Hush up and roll up. Telluride needs us all!

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