What a lovely gesture.
Our county commissioners Tuesday voted to send a letter of welcome on behalf of the citizens of Archuleta County to the new owner of Boot Jack Ranch.
A neighborly thing to do.
And, we believe, a somewhat misguided thing to do, on a couple of counts.
First, the majority of property purchased by the new owner is in another county — Mineral County — with a smaller portion in Archuleta County. We suppose its a nice idea to send out a howdy-do when someone purchases a nearby parcel, but if you don’t follow it up with a hoedown, have you done all you can?
The letter notes the ranch is, “one of the jewels of southwestern Colorado,” and adds that it is “on ‘our’ side of the pass” and that “we feel a certain affinity for the property and its natural beauty.”
For what reason would such a letter be sent to someone who just purchased a serious load of land? Is it merely a howdy-do, or is it a door opener for a variety of other advances, a harbinger of other queries, many, if not most of which would seek some sort of handout. The letter, after all, goes on to note how appreciative “we” are of the fact the previous owners offered “the Music in the Mountains events to be held on the grounds, which allowed many local residents and visitors to experience its natural wonders.” No mention of the truly significant charitable contributions David and Carol Brown made to our community follows this observation.
When the sale of the property was complete, we were told the new owner bought the ranch as a family retreat. With the implications of this letter, what kind of “retreat” is this?
But, our bigger concern is how the gesture reflects the BoCC’s attitude toward the rest of us. You know, “we” — the residents here who do not have the fortune to allow us to buy incredibly expensive pieces of land.
Have any of us received our letters from the BoCC lately?
How many people who recently relocated to Archuleta County got their letters in the mail?
How many people who purchased a retirement home here and moved here recently received a welcome letter from the BoCC? Second homebuyers?
How many folks who moved here in the hope of finding a job, and who now live in a small rental unit while they battle a dismal economic situation got a letter welcoming them to the county? For that matter, how many residents who were forced to depart in search of work got a letter saying ”Sorry to hear you are leaving?”
What about the legal immigrants who moved here recently, the workers sweeping the floors at the grocery store, or cleaning the motel and hotel rooms, or cooking in local restaurants? Perhaps they can save their letters and put them in a scrapbook to show the relatives.
What about Pagosans born and raised here? No letters, we imagine, unless they win the lottery. And then, the letter will probably hint that they should sponsor a festival to be enjoyed by the small number of local residents who can afford the ticket price.
Just how much money do you need to have before our county commissioners decide your arrival is worth notice? Before “we” officially welcome you?
We elect our representatives to embody the ideas and aspirations of all of us, to seek the greatest good for the greatest number. If there are derrieres to which our elected officals’ lips should be attached, they are ours. And the members of the BoCC don’t have enough time to kiss them all.
Perhaps they should simply get on with tending our real business. A competent job, with no discrimination, will suffice.