Holiday Message from Mayor Stephens

If you are reading this, perhaps we made it through the Mayan Apocalypse.  But you never know as guessing one day a couple thousand years into the future may be an inexact science.  However after seeing Mayan architecture, engineering, and how they tie it into the natural world, I wouldn’t put it past them to nail it. But I’m still planning as we are all waking up and getting back at it again tomorrow.

The air of my holiday season has been changed drastically with the senseless act in Newtown, CT, and even more so and forever for the over two dozen families in that town.  One look at my two school aged daughters brings a tear to my eye.  That is a small town, not by Salida standards with 27,000 people, but there is not one person unaffected.  I can’t begin to imagine the calamity, I can only send good thoughts their way.

Here at home, we have much to be grateful for.  Personally, I’m raising two wonderful, happy, healthy daughters who are my pride and joy.  They are active and healthy, both play two instruments and are good students, and they love each other dearly.

We finally received some snow, which in the drought we are in is great news.  More importantly, Monarch is open and many local folk are back to work, and one could just feel the energy of it over the last week.  I was able to go on Sunday with my girls and enjoy our first winter day since last March.

And in spite of the lack of moisture for the last year, visitor numbers for the ski area and the whitewater/fishing industry seem to have been holding as strong as we could hope.  That tells me that there are a lot of hard working people making the best of things, and also a lot of people out there who really enjoy coming to our valley.

Times are changing in our world, both big and small.  Voters chose to make marijuana legal by a decisive margin. Over 9,000 Chaffee County voters reelected the President by 20 votes in the most divisive campaign of my life, even more so than the Bush/Gore elections. They also chose to keep the current county leadership intact. My only hope is that everyone will acknowledge the will of the people and move forward together, rather than continue knocking down the opposition.

The City of Salida has an election in 2013, we will decide if we wish to govern ourselves on our own terms.  There is some incredible talent vying for the charter commission.  I truly hope that the voters will consider the issue on it’s own merits and the potential to take our destiny into our own hands. I find it exciting that will have the chance to create a historical guiding document that will take us forward through this century.

When I explained to my daughters that home rule is a chance for our town to decide how to govern ourselves on matters of local concern rather than be held to the laws of the state, one of them said “well gee dad, who wouldn’t be for that?’  May the will of the voters continue to be heard.

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine, and may we all look forward to prospering together in 2013.  Please never forget we are in this together, let us hope it is not tragedy that brings that out.