Rethinking Local Government’s Stance
by Art Goodtimes
Jan 28, 2010 | 607 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

HELPING BIZ … Just like the economy, my job has turned around. I was elected to preserve the character of our rural/resort town region, and to make sure growth didn’t overwhelm the county – which back in the late ‘80s and ‘90s seemed to be happening … But in 2010 we’re in a severe downturn, bordering on a depression. No more boom time in Telluride, at least not for the immediate future. The bust is here and going into its second year … So, rather than using government to see how we might restrain the market economy from running roughshod over community values and the environment, it’s time for us to think about government in a new way. And maybe, for some of you cut from more conservative cloth, you think it’s how we ought to think about government all the time – lean and mean … I’m not a big fan of mean. But I think lean has a legitimate place in government operations. You don’t want excess – just what’s needed for the job. And in general, in running county government, I think the past few boards of commissioners have tried to be sure that this county pays fair wages (equivalent with employees in similar jobs in the state) and provides decent medical insurance while continuing to provide the services local citizens expect county government to provide – roads, planning, zoning, environmental protection, building, social services, filings, licenses, nursing, extension services … Because we’re lean, it’s hard for county government to find funds to do much beyond its mandated duties. But that’s exactly what we’ve tasked staff to help us do – to go beyond the statutes and help local businesses … I have some ideas, taken from what other counties have done. Staff has some ideas. But one way or another, I expect to try and find ways to assist the local business community in these hard economic times. Why? Because they provide the jobs we need to keep our local economy resilient from outside boom/bust cycles … If you have your own ideas on what county government ought to be doing to help business in this downturn, please contact me at 728-3844 or <commish3@sanmiguelcounty.org>.


ARTS BREAK … One thing we did come up with as a board, that doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything, was to provide a new venue for local artists during our regular board meetings. Around noon, depending on our schedule, we’ve begun hosting a local artist to give a 15 min. performance/presentation. It’s when we usually eat our box lunches. Plus, it happens right before “public discussion” and we hope it encourages the public to come, watch the performance/presentation and then use the opportunity to talk to the board about local issues or concerns – something that government needs to hear in order to stay relevant and responsive … San Miguel County Poet Laureate Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer kicked off the series two weeks ago, and this week poet Ellen Metrick read for us in Norwood. Future slots are open to artists of all kinds. The board usually meets three times a month – twice in Telluride and once in Norwood. The public is invited to join us … If you’re interested in getting on the schedule, give me a call or drop me an email.


SAN JUAN BREWPUBLIC … Seems any decent town in these parts has got to have its own top-notch brewpub with carefully crafted personalized brews. Cortez has a great one. I love the brewpub in Dolores. Ridgway has just opened a fine one, where its mayor serves up suds, hisself … And even little Norwood has (or is about to have) a hopping newly redone brewpub, dancehall, café and video rental, Two Candles. Cheers!


WILDERNESS … U.S. Rep. John Salazar has done the impossible. He's pulled the New West and the Old West together for a wilderness bill that works for nearly everyone involved. It’s how the game of politics is best played on the federal level – finding the radical middle … You're not going to see that kind of grassroots effort from many politicians. But John is a farmer Democrat. He knows how to work hard and defend rural values. And he knows how to utilize the streams of power in the halls of Congress just as effectively as the flows from the acequia share on his San Luis Valley ranch. We're darn lucky to have him as our congressional representative … I encourage everyone to read the full text of his testimony before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in support of HR 3914, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act – I’ll be happy to provide a copy to anyone interested. It’s a blueprint for how to collaborate with constituents on land protection measures – rather than running over them as Pres. Clinton did with the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument in Cortez, where the controversies continue to simmer. Salazar’s work on HR 3914 ought to be the organizing model for legislators who are serious about representing all their constituents and yet moving us forward in the crucial act of preserving a precious small remnant of the wild – in the face of a global industrial juggernaut with a voracious appetite that’s only hiccupped before its next meal … Sign me up. As a Green, I support John Salazar for as long as he wants to represent Colorado’s Third District.


THE TALKING GOURD


After Li Bo


The Birds

have long lifted up

as a flock & flown


Only a lonely Cloud floats by

the Two of us

lost in our looking


the Mountain & I

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