Dear Editor:

Thank you, Karl, for echoing the rising voice of the citizens of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County!

Addie Greer’s letter three weeks ago entitled “Unkept Promise” and your editorial “The bus needs new drivers” prompted me to finish this letter, because the two are connected.

The promise that Addie mentions, and many of us see and feel, seemed to me at first more of a promise unmet (as in yet to be) rather than a promise unkept. But I discovered (the hard way) that the great unmet, unrealized, promise of our community that excites and inspires newcomers and causes them to get active, was a promise more often withheld. For those folks who have been here longer, talk of that same promise exposes a deep resignation that nothing will ever change.

If you have been here long enough (but not long enough to have been deemed to have a valid opinion), you get the message that many others before have received: “This is not your bus. Thanks for your ideas, expertise, money, efforts, we’ll take it from here. Move back and sit down.”We’ve all felt it, and some believe it. Even some who have been here for generations. Fewer every day. I never have, because there is no future in it at all. Just a re-living of the past.

Some call it the “Pagosa boom and bust cycle,” as if it is natural and inevitable, when it is neither. It is imposed by “leadership” or lack thereof. If the destination is not clear (vision), and those in front can’t navigate (strategy), you naturally walk in circles and end up in the same place again and again. It’s just that the loop takes us so long that the place (or problems) where we end up look new.

Millions of dollars in investment has come and gone, but more is waiting for Pagosa to break this loop and start forward. Until then, we will limp along as we have until now, being told falsely, and believing that we can do nothing about it. You are very right that the next town elections will be another chance to break the circle of failure, keep the “promise,” and thrive.

Michael Whiting

Editor’s note: To be accurate, the editorial referred to all elected bodies (as well as most occupations) and all upcoming local elections, town and county.

This story was posted on August 15, 2013.