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I read Bill Hudson’s article series titled “Barriers of Progress.” A sad read for anyone; a shocking read for anyone of Hispanic heritage. I followed up by listening to the audio of the meeting to make sure that Bill wasn’t embellishing the story.
My conclusion is that Bill Hudson was overly fair.
I am appalled and offended. This was not some off-the-cuff remark but a PowerPoint presentation of the CDC’s months of research. They invited the community to attend a formal presentation. In this presentation, one of their stated “hopeful” trends was a 50 percent reduction in the Hispanic population of town. Apparently, they are hopeful because young Hispanics are moving out of Town and “new young families” are moving to Pagosa Springs.
The PSCDC is a corporation that receives public funding for their initiatives, which is unfortunate if their initiative is to gentrify Pagosa Springs. Only two members have privately apologized for the blatant racism they expressed at this meeting, but the damage has been done. Their true opinions have been revealed, and it is difficult to move forward with a sense of trust and well-being for a group that has set forth their disparaging view of the town of Pagosa Springs.
I also couldn’t help but notice the complete and comical contradictions the PSCDC is peddling. The Hispanics are impeding growth? I beg to differ. The Hispanic population has faced opposition and condescension when they have supported change and growth in Pagosa. It wasn’t Hispanics who tried to stop Wal-Mart or opposed every Reservoir Hill project or the David Brown development of downtown, etc. It wasn’t Hispanics who “occupied Wal-Mart” by shouting and bullying Wal-Mart representatives at the Fairgrounds with hostile and embarrassing behavior.
Maybe the PSCDC should follow the model of the same folks they claim are the “barriers”. They should learn from the leaders that have helped build our community. Creating a downtown infrastructure without putting us in massive debt. Leaders that put in place a fair sales tax arrangement, and invested every dollar they could in downtown improvements and river recreation, new pedestrian bridges, the river walk, ball fields, new parks, the skate park, paved roads, the community center, town hall, and the trail system on Reservoir Hill.
Better yet, the PSCDC should disband. They have no business getting another public dollar. The Town and County need to hold the PSCDC accountable for their institutional racism.
History teaches one lesson clearer than any: The biggest barrier to human progress has been racism.