Gauging Social Capital In the Headwaters | Up Bear Creek
by Art Goodtimes
May 29, 2007 | 372 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NUMBER 17 ... Paul Major of the Telluride Foundation was in attendance for a morning panel discussion on building social capital at Western State’s 17th annual Headwaters Conference in Gunnison last weekend, where I got to speak on collaborative efforts as important community institutions, showcasing the Public Lands Partnership of San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose and Delta counties. Of course, Paul could just as easily have spoken to that topic – the Telluride Foundation having become one of Telluride’s premier examples of social capital ... Personally, I find calling the phrase “social capital” a curious one. A number of sociologists have championed its usage to underscore the important, indeed essential, function of nonprofits, citizen initiatives, foundations and other kinds of community groups and projects by attaching value to them in the same way that our capitalist system attaches value to economic inputs and outputs. One speaker at Headwaters even proposed a social capital impact statement for projects and actions that have the potential to change the social landscape – say, the approval of big box stores, as Montrose has done, or the doubling of density in a county, as Ouray is considering. I think a social capital impact statement would be a great addition to San Miguel County’s Land Use Code for any Planned Unit Development or Special Use Permit in the county – a formal study to look at the potential of an action or project to change the social dynamics of a community.

ESSENTIAL HOUSING ... That was the name that Gunnison folks have been using to frame the discussion we’ve long characterized as Affordable or Employee Housing for our local deed-restricted market. Such housing is indeed essential to the community and identified as probably the most important instance of social capital in a resort town like ours – if workers, artists and community volunteers are to be able to live in the community they work in. If they aren’t, community health and well being suffer, sustainability slips out of reach and transportation woes multiply ... However, our essential housing programs don’t always work to the intended benefit of those we mean to serve. I met a woman (let’s call her Rebecca) who participated in a self-help housing project in Gunnison, overseen by former San Miguel Housing Authority head Shari Templeton. For Rebecca, it had been a disaster. It took a year and half to build, not the six months she was promised, with all the financial and logistical complications that entailed. Her sweat equity – far more than originally envisioned – was never fully accounted for in the project. And when she eventually sold, she about broke even for hard costs – the 3 percent price cap giving her nothing in the way of an equity return on her labor and investment ... “It was a mistake,” Rebecca told me wearily. “I should never have bought in the deed-restricted market.” And yet, as she agreed, for many working folks in resort communities, what other choice do they have? She strongly suggested that any first-time homebuyers in the deed-restricted market be sure to get professional help to read through contracts and legal documents to be sure they know what it is they’re getting themselves into.

GEORGE SIBLEY ... Western State President Jay Heldman gave George an award for all his years of service as founder, director, chief cook and bottle-washer for the Headwaters conferences. I added one of my finished coil baskets to a lovely piece of student artwork that Heldman offered. And at the Passing of the Gourd ritual on Saturday night, several people spoke their heartfelt gratitude to Sibley for providing this wonderful example of social capital – building community throughout the Headwaters region.

ROSE MORSE ... With the studio help of Telluride troubadour Martin Thomas, the West End’s own Paradox Rose has announced her latest CD release, Cowboys & Angels: “There’s a young Eagle needs to learn how-to-fly, hold on, be strong, like Don Juan... ” The Rose ropes, writes and sings her way past the Trickster: “He’s dressed his best ... and ready to go.” Because she’s the real thing. “Listening with her eyes.” It’s the Slickrock Madonna. Listen up!

WEEKLY QUOTA ... “There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” -Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961

SPUD HARVEST ... It looks like I managed to grow seed for all 49 heirloom varieties of potato that I have in my inventory at Cloud Acre this year – rare spuds being my small local contribution to the coming peak oil crisis and global warming phenomenon. If we have to move to local crops without a lot of petrofuel transport, Solanum tuberosum will be a great mountain staple. Easy to store through the winter. Nutritious staple. Does well at high altitudes ... Not that my yield was that good. Only 176 pounds harvested from 300 mounds. Just a little better than eight ounces per planting. Two or three pounds per mound is my target. But this season we had too much rain. Many of my varieties didn’t like the constant moisture. Although, as always, a few did spectacularly – Desiree, Peruvian Purple, Kerr’s Pink, Red Gold, Dazoc, Caribe, Alaska Frostless, Blossom, Early Rose, Dakota Rose, Lone Cone Erstling, Maroon Bell and Pink Wink ... I should have some of all of those to sell or trade next spring. Find me (or come by Lone Cone Road) to get some.
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