Monday letters: Council doesn’t listen, it can happen here, Responding to ‘AJ,’ Wiley’s story
Council’s lost personal touch
On Sept. 7, I went before City Council and asked if they had any updated studies regarding increased traffic and water supply issues due to the 20-year drought and the prediction of no relief in sight.
I told them it would be nice to have these tools in their toolbox for making educated decisions on future growth. After my three minutes without any response from council, I was told that staff would get back to me.
As has happened in the past, no response as of now. For the last 15 years, council has slowly cut off citizens who come before them to get answers to their concerns they might have or at least some kind of response that there is hope that it will be investigated. What happened to the time when a citizen could come and talk to council about a problem and walk away with the satisfaction that council shows that they care.
When I was on council, we had citizens come before us at the start of the meetings and at the end of our meetings, in case they were unable to be there for the beginning. So what if the meeting lasted to midnight? What happened to the councilmen giving reports from their assigned commissions at the start of each meeting? This was a way for citizens to find out what was going on in the different commissions. Council should pay attention to what the commission members are saying. They are generally expressing the citizens’ concerns and ideas. Emails are poor substitutes for personal interactions.
The pandemic let council off the hook for a year of no personal contact, but that is over. Having coffee with the public is nice but not a substitute for the exposure that one gets at a council meeting. Workshops during the daytime hours do not get much of a turnout.
Get back to listening to the citizens, and you just might avoid what is taking place currently. I see from the legal notices in the paper that there are another 360 units waiting for approval.
Don “Hooner” Gillespie
It can happen here
I recently read “The Cellist of Sarajevo,” a disturbing fiction about surviving, or not, during the three-and-a-half-year Siege of Sarajevo. The story is compelling because eight years earlier, the 1984 Olympics were hosted by Sarajevo. In 1992, ethnic and religious war broke out as the former Yugoslavia countries tried to define themselves. There was no reasoning, no ability to work it out in words, no shared reality. One tribe took to the hills surrounding the city, bombing and using snipers to attack the residents. Eventually the UN and President Clinton brokered a peace. The city was in ruins.
What is most devastating is to realize that a place can go from “civilized” to Stone Age in a blink of an eye; that it can happen anywhere, including here. The behaviors I’ve read about attacking and threatening school board volunteers, threatening their family members, making jokes about cutting people’s heads off, or printing their heads with gunsights overlaid on them — these are not idle, “free speech” expressions. These are behaviors that embolden people to act on them, to take out personal frustrations with acts of violence, behaviors that do lead to thug behavior and mob mentality.
These are dangerous acts. Take a breath, reflect; do you really want to take the U.S. to a place where voting doesn’t matter, where laws no longer matter, where it’s every person for themselves? I don’t.
I am dismayed, disappointed, frustrated, exasperated and sad that nearly half of Americans cannot embrace the common good, cannot behave in civilized manners, cannot put themselves in others’ shoes, cannot take in (verified) new information and change their mind or adjust their behavior.
Many of us struggle, not knowing how to reach people, not knowing how to get us back on track, not knowing if behaviors will deteriorate to survival mode instinct. None of us are innocent bystanders; choosing not to choose or be informed is also a choice; we are all responsible.
Responding to ‘AJ’
Questions for AJ (PI letter to the editor, Nov. 8), the grocery worker (and other vaccinated people angry at unvaccinated people):
First, you don’t have a job and none of us eat without farmers, ranchers and truck drivers. Are you OK with unvaccinated people processing and delivering the food to your stores? (Bloomberg.com, Nov. 5)
Second, are you concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine you received?
“All three COVID-19 vaccines available to Americans lost some of their protective power, with vaccine efficacy among a large group of veterans dropping between 35% and 85%, according to a new study.” (LA Times, Nov. 4)
Third, can you confirm you received COVID-19 from an unvaccinated person?
“People who have a Delta virus and happen to have ‘breakthrough’ infections can carry these really high levels of virus and can unwittingly spread the virus to others.”
The sad reality is spreading a narrative and pointing fingers is more important today than seeking truth. Nature and the LA Times may soon be labeled as Russian misinformation sites for these articles. I will probably be personally labeled something along the lines of “far-right radical” or “conspiracy theorist,” since that is the default label for people who present any conflicting science/stats.
Labeling and blind anger towards certain groups is a desperate attempt to make sense of complex issues. Rather than question and potentially come to an uncomfortable conclusion like “maybe this vaccine is not very effective” or “maybe I actually got COVID-19 from another vaccinated person,” it is easier to simply direct anger at unvaccinated people.
I wanted to thank Mike Vidakovich for such a heartwarming column (PI, Nov. 10) about our horse Wiley, aka Seabiscuit.
Most of the local hikers on Mitchell creek have their own names for our horses. I sometimes don’t realize how much they are a part of the neighborhood and the joy they bring to those daily hikers.
Maybe for my own healing I felt the need to tell you about that horse.
He was born 32 years ago on our small ranch the same year as my eldest daughter, so needless to say we all grew up together. When he was a young colt I held my breath many times thinking he was about to buck Bruce off, so fitting he was to his name. But as he grew up with many hours in the saddle, he became a trusted member of the herd. He took care of my daughters on many packtrips across the Flat Tops or up the Fryingpan for countless years, and even some boyfriends who had never ridden and packed a few elk out besides.
But what I will miss most is his nickering, as he was very vocal about his wishes. On those packtrips, I never worried in the night, because if anything was askew, he would be sure to let us know. If he would catch me coming out of the house, I would hear that nicker as he stared at me as if saying, “I could do with some oats, lady.”
And in the winter when Bruce would come to feed him, he was watching and letting him know it was about time, as he was hungry. He was the patriarch of the herd. So he wasn’t just a horse, he was family, and with all of us it’s hard to play God with any of our pets.
Thank you, Jay Merriam, as your article did give me comfort. We broke all the rules for Wiley and let him live longer than any of our horses, because he was a special guy, but it was his time, and he had a great race. Thanks for so many awesome memories, Wiley. RIP.
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