Thought I'd reply to this letter.

Comments

Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

Did you happen to read the letter from Doyle Ross in the August 5, 2011 edition of the roundup? If you'd like to do that, the title is, "What are my benefits?"

It was an interesting letter. I'll quote a couple of parts of it for you:

"I am retired military, and have lived in many cities and towns in my lifetime. My wife and I moved to Payson three years ago, and we both feel it is the greatest place we have ever resided. This town has everything we need, a wonderful hospital, doctors, restaurants, shopping, friendly people."

I might haver said that myself.

The letter's main point is how Doyle will benefit from the up-and-coming ASU campus. He asks, "Please tell me just what benefits I personally am going to derive from this new campus?"

For those of us who have been living here a little longer, the answer is simple, of course. We've seen the ups and downs. But i can see how a newcomer might have a lot of questions. So anyway, here you go, Doyle:

Payson will gain a great deal of tax revenue from the new campus. And the more revenue that comes in from that source, the less the rest of us have to pay. You see, taxes are very high up here because of the fact that very little of this county is private land.

We have roads that need repairs, and facilities like the Humane Society, the Senior Center, and others that are just barely making it because of a lack of funds. And we just have no way to come up with any new funds for them. We are maxed out.

Have you noticed? Our property taxes are about as high as we can afford to let them go. And we don't have an industrial base to help with that problem.

The new pipeline to bring water to Payson is going to cost in excess of $30 million. We have to pay for it; we need the water. Before you arrived, back around 2004, all was gloom and doom about the future of Payson because we just did not have enough water to sustain our usage, much less to grow. Blue Ridge seemed almost like a miracle. We could hardly believe our good luck. But it doesn't come free of charge.

Right now, even if the need were very great, people would probably turn down any kind of bond issue.

The police department and the fire department are running on a shoestring. We have reduced staff and we are even having a hard time funding the new fire station we already built.

Our schools have had to cut positions, close the doors of a school, and consolidate the principal's position at two others.

The state has cut money for everything, and it doesn't look like the cuts are finished yet, much less that we may start getting our fair share again any time in the near future.

There are over 300 homeless kids in our schools, which means that we have a large population out of work. The new campus will provide jobs for people who desperately need them.

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

Payson, Arizona, was once a thriving community that relied on two sources of revenue: Cattle raising and timbering. We had a sawmill here, which was a going concern and a mainstay of the local economy. You could go out into any of the many grassy areas of the national forest and find herds of cattle browsing. Unwise environmental laws have destroyed both of those means of making a living, has left the forest around us in a bad fire situation where no thinning is taking place and, as wildfires run rampant, the feds are just now beginning to realize the error they made.

As to health care, you may not be aware of this, but many of the doctors who see patients here fly in from other places in the state, and right now the airport is in financial trouble. If we are forced to increase fees we may lose some very important health care. That has already happened, by the way. We have recently lost three specialists, a proctologist, a neurologist, and a pain care specialist, and we hope it wont get any worse.

Payson has searched desperately for some kind of anchor business to stabilize its economy, but finding one has been very difficult. It had to be something which used very little water, took up as little as possible of the small amount of building room left, was not connected to the unreliable construction industry, was non-polluting, and would not suffer from the ups-and downs other businesses suffer from so much these days. ASU is the long-sought-after solution.

Payson is limited in size by the fact that is it entirely surrounded by the national forest. While it may eventually build out to about 35,000 or so, that is not large enough to attract the kind of shopping that thousands of retirees, like you and me, gave up to come here. The additional of some 2,000 to 6,000 students will help.

Payson desperately needs a bypass to rid us of the traffic problems caused by through traffic, which have become horrendous on weekends. But local businesses have been dead scared to support a bypass because some of them could be badly hurt, or might even go out of business if there were a major downturn. Having an additional, full time, body of consumers in town would at last enable a bypass.

There are plenty of other benefits for those of us who live in and around Payson, but I think that hits the major ones.

Doyle, the "average Joe" around here has been sweating over some of these problems for upwards of twenty years, and finally we see a solution on the horizon, one that won't change Payson much, and will only change it for the better.

I have personally lived in two small "college" towns in my life, and they were both great places to live--not much different from Payson in being small, quiet, communities.

Hope this helps to put things in perspective for you.

Feel better?

I genuinely hope so.

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Pat Randall 3 years, 4 months ago

It is my understanding there was a bond issue long ago to pay for the fire station. If the humane society would get rid of the old and sick dogs and cats that will never be adopted they would have more money. But no, keep them penned up and miserable.

I am so tired of hearing about homeless kids. They are not living out under a tree.
They are living with loving family or friends. Life is not a bed of roses. I stayed with my sister a lot of the time I was going to school so my parents didn't have to drive from the Doll Baby Ranch and back twice a day. I learned my ABC's, and did not feel homeless.

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Pat Randall 3 years, 4 months ago

Tom, One of the reasons the airport is not built out is because of all the regulations the town decided to put into effect some years ago. Poor planning and it ain't getting any better. In July of 2004 there were buildings up there that were built against subdivision restrictions. Buildings that were not up to fire code.
Chemicals that weren't allowed. I went into two buildings in July of 2004 side by side almost identical and one was required to have restrooms and the other was not. Good ole boy system? I went into and looked in windows of a lot of buildings at that time and could hardly believe what I saw in some of them. I was looking for my stolen trailer and grandsons Dwarf car.

As far as saying the town can't grow because it is surrounded by Forest is crap. Most of what is here now was traded Forest Land. Swiss Village for one place. The high school was Forest service land when the school was built. There is a very small part of Payson that was homesteaded. Find you a map of Payson or a Forest Service map from the 30's or 40's and see how much land was privately owned.

As for losing Drs. they must not have been very good or they would have been able to make a good living here. Try getting an appt. with the drs. that are here. There are plenty of patients. People will not keep going to doctors if they aren't good ones. They can be to the best in less than 2 hours.

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Rex Hinshaw 3 years, 4 months ago

Tom, Thank you...well said. Pat, Even my chill pill hasn't worked this time. The Humane Society does not adopt out sick animals. They may try to treat and heal an animal and then adopt it out. Older animals deserve a chance to be adopted. Finally, your claim that the Humane Society keeps animals "penned up and miserable" is EXTREMELY offensive. They do the very best they can with what they have....they will have a new facility soon....and will be able to do even better. You really don't want to get into a debate with me about animal care....trust me.

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Pat Randall 3 years, 4 months ago

Rex, I never said they adopted out sick animals. Spending $100.00's of dollars on old animals that won't be adopted is stupid and a waste of money. Send them to doggie heaven and take care of the dogs that will be adopted. I will debate you any time about how to take care of animals. And if you don't beleive me ask Dr. Hallman at Star Valley Vet how many trips I have paid for him to go to Alaska. Or the dog heart specialist in Mesa. Dog ER in Mesa that put a plate in one of my dogs broken pelvis and broken leg. My dog George that was 17 yrs old that I had from the time he was 8 months old was bleeding from both ends had to be put to sleep because he was to old to go thru surgery. He was cremated and buried with my husband last Nov. The dog I got after him from Ariz. Schanuzer Rescue died in my arms at Star Valley Vet. of a massive heart attack. ASR didn't bother to tell me he had a bad heart murmer, damaged disc and had to take heart and thyroid medicine which I gladly paid for the nine months I had him. He also was cremated and will be buried with me. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. No one takes better care of their dogs than I do.

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Rex Hinshaw 3 years, 4 months ago

Pat , I acknowledge your experence in caring for your pets over the years. That's not exactly what I ment with my comment. My father and his twin brother are both veterinarians. When I was young, my dad's animal hospital was in our home. When I was a little older, my job was to clean the kennels and assist my dad with operations. I went on many farm calls as my fathers assistant. It is that background I was referring to and my exposure to the realities of life and death in the animal world. I have seen many animals put to sleep, but I have seen many have their lives extended through good medical care and a loving enviornment. We probably agree on more things about animal care than we disagree...I'm happy to leave it at that.

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don evans 3 years, 4 months ago

Over the last 19 years in Payson, we have adopted five adult dogs ranging in age from 2-6 years of age. All were house broken already, and wonderful pets from the parson humane society. Our current dog is now 12years old. the very first dog lived to 18 years!

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Pat Randall 3 years, 4 months ago

Rex, I lived on a ranch most of the time in the summers when I was a kid and my husband and I owned the ranch west of the Doll Baby Ranch for 13 yrs. so know a little about other animals besides dogs. There were no vets. up here at the time so we did our own doctoring. Help deliver calves, and all that goes with it. Sew up animals that were cut. Vaccinate the calves at branding time and dehorning. Ate mountain oysters cooked in the branding fire.

                                         Gotcha again. (:
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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

"If the humane society would get rid of the old and sick dogs and cats that will never be adopted they would have more money."

I wouldn't want to work in the Humane Society for the same reason I wouldn't want to be a doctor. I'll never forget Doctor Hollingsworth back in Texas. I had three or four of his kids in my chemistry classes, so we got to know each other well. One day when I was in seeing him he told me that he was giving up private practice and going to work at the Texaco refinery as a company doctor. When I asked him why he told me the truth. "I'm tired of having my patients die. Out there at the plant I'll be treating splinters and mashed thumbs."

"I am so tired of hearing about homeless kids."

I suppose it's a definition used to get grants.

"They are not living out under a tree. "

Actually, that sounds good to me.

Rex, I've always admired vets. There was one down in Mesa that we went to who had I don't know how many animals--cats, dogs, birds, and whatnot--in his place. I supposed they were there because he chose to take care of them rather than put them down. When our most beloved pet ever, a white cat named Fluffy of 18 years, could no longer make it (liver cancer) he came to the house and put her down. Was one of the worst moments of my life.

I admire Doctor Gonzalez too. His love of animals shows.

By the way, I suspect you're right, and that you and Pat have more in common on this subject than otherwise.

Don, maybe you're getting old. :-)

When you said that about adopting adult dogs I suddenly remembered that I saw a movie once where they showed people and their dogs as part of the movie for some reason or other, and the owners resembled their pets. Especially one guy who had a bulldog. I remember people in the audience laughing. Might have been a Peter Sellers movie.

Anybody remember that one?

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Rex Hinshaw 3 years, 4 months ago

Pat, So we do have more in commen....working on ranches...and by the way , I just had some mountain oysters this weekend....goooood.

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don evans 3 years, 4 months ago

LOL, I probably do look like my old dog. I call her my Mutant Dog!. She is mostly Pembrokshire Corgi and looks it. Bent bowed front short legs, belly almost dragging on the ground, and will eat until she drops if you let her. My young dog is a pure bred small American Cocker Spaniel we got from the Humane Society in Colorado on a trip.

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Pat Randall 3 years, 4 months ago

I didn't see the movie, but watch people that have dogs and they do take on the looks and personalities of each other. Before anyone says anything I have curley hair like my little Schnauzer and picky about who I like and am nice too. (:

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

"I didn't see the movie, but watch people that have dogs and they do take on the looks and personalities of each other."

In that case, anyone got a bald eagle for sale?

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Dan Varnes 3 years, 4 months ago

QUOTE: "Spending $100.00's of dollars on old animals that won't be adopted is stupid and a waste of money. Send them to doggie heaven and take care of the dogs that will be adopted."

You got that right, Pat.

Running a "no kill" shelter is a great example of using your heart instead of your head. I was recently in the humane society kennels and it's a sad, noisy sight to see. It's little more than a warehouse for dogs that don't appeal to most people and are just "existing" and taking up space.

I feel sorry for a lot of the dogs that DO get adopted. The new owner buys a food bowl, a chain and a stake. The dog now barks incessantly. What a "humane" thing to do. The dog would be better off dead.

There will never be a shortage of floppy-earred, yapping, mixed-breed dogs and "friendly" Pit Bulls. Much of the humane society's present "inventory" needs to be put down. It's the only practical course of action. Make room for the next, never-ending crop that is breeding right now....

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Kim Chittick 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Pat and Mr. Varnes. I too, was recently in the Humane Society kennels and was appalled. I recognize that the people who work and volunteer there are doing the best they can with what they've got. But, back in the kennels, I ws only able to stay for less than 15 minutes. The incessant barking and fighting and howling between the kennels was intense to say the least. While I despair at the thought of animals being euthanized merely because they are no longer "convenient", I also despair at the thought of animals being hungry. All of the dogs that I saw in the kennels were full grown and not a one of them appeared to be an animal that I would feel safe adopting. That being said, I have nothing against the Humane Society. Years ago I adopted the best cat in the world from them. He gave me 16 years of love and companionship and I still miss him. But, sometimes, practicality must rule over compassion.

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Melissa Durbin 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Mr. Doyle, and by the way the whole ASU conversation "went to the dogs" sorry I couldn't resist after reading what was wrote and the quotes..... ya'll are very entertaining, agree or disagree.

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Dan Haapala 3 years, 4 months ago

Tom, If the reader you had responded to read this, do you think he might be confused? All that you initially expounded upon is true and accurate. Based on the responses, not closely related, I believe you could add, young people who would want to help in those volunteer capacities that care for animals. Even UPS air shipments would, I believe increase and would help. Perhaps even a bus system to transport people (students) to the valley. I can't think of one thing that wouldn't be improved by another institute of higher learning in our community.

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mike szabo 3 years, 4 months ago

Tom, you stated "Payson will gain a great deal of tax revenue from the new campus. And the more revenue that comes in from that source, the less the rest of us have to pay." My question is. Do you really believe this? Will we pay less taxes when the new campus is up and running. If so what taxes will the people currently living in Payson see reduced?

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Dan Varnes 3 years, 4 months ago

It happens every single time: When you give more tax revenue to politicians, they will always find a way to squander it. ALWAYS!

Does anyone really think that our group of local politicians will be any different?

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mike szabo 3 years, 4 months ago

I think everyone's property taxes will go up when we have an $ ASU $ campus. It just gives them a reason to raise the rates.

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Dan Varnes 3 years, 4 months ago

The local Payson-politician track record has been to raise taxes every time the opportunity comes before them.

From bed taxes in motels to property taxes on our homes, they never, ever miss a chance. It's always "for our own good," of course.

Yep.

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Rex Hinshaw 3 years, 4 months ago

Varnes, " Much of the humane societys" inventory" needs to be put down" That has to be one the most callous statments I have read on this blog. You where at the shelter....why? To adopt?.... to help?...Why? The new facility will improve the conditions of the animals So Varnes,....which ones do you want to kill?

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Dan Varnes 3 years, 4 months ago

MY QUOTE: "Much of the humane society's present “inventory” needs to be put down. It's the only practical course of action."

QUOTE, "Hinshaw">>> "That has to be one the most callous statments I have read on this blog."

Yes, Hinshaw, sometimes, the truth can sound rather callous. But that certainly doesn't make it any less truthful.

If you truly believe that a "no-kill" shelter is the best choice for our area and should continue to absorb any and all animals that show up on it's doorstep, then please explain how this will be funded. Use logic, not emotion.

QUOTE, 'Hinshaw:' >>>"You where at the shelter….why? To adopt?…. to help?…Why?"

Hinshaw sure asks a lot of questions! I was there to adopt a dog.

QUOTE, 'Hinshaw'>>>: "So Varnes,….which ones do you want to kill?"

Previously answered, but I'll repeat it again for you. I'd get rid of the multitudes of "yapping, mixed-breed dogs and “friendly” Pit Bulls that are only taking up space and have little chance of leaving.

How else do you propose that they make room for the next crop of unwanted animals that careless Paysonites are inevitably creating right now?
.

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

"Do you really believe this? Will we pay less taxes when the new campus is up and running."

Now that question I like! It strikes at the heart of the issue, which is how will the ASU campus benefit Payson, and it takes an objective look at the reality of taxes, as does Dan's.

My answer? Yes, I believe that the ASU campus will save us tax dollars. I'm not saying that taxes will go down, but the simple reality is that revenue must come from somewhere, and in the absence of a viable economy the people of Payson are the "somewhere."

I'm not quite as jaded as some of you folks where taxes and politicians are concerned though; probably because I have lived in places which, unlike Payson, had viable economies.

Port Arthur, TX, had refineries. Taxes there were rock bottom. For example, there were NO school taxes; the district just told the refineries how much it wanted every year and they paid it. And property taxes were a non-subject. I can't even remember what mine were.

Natchitoches, LA, had a small state university. Again, taxes were rock bottom. The number of people who were employed at the university was very large. The town, about the size of Payson, thrived. With an anchor industry, the town had a positive, confident attitude, and all the while I was there I never heard a single complaint about taxes of any kind.

I've seen it, you see, so I believe it.

Payson, and all of Arizona, compared to much of the nation, is an economically depressed area. We were settled so late in our history, and are so lacking in the basics that create viable thriving communities (plentiful water, arable land, rivers, resources, climate), that tax-wise we are barely hanging in by our nails.

People from other states look over here, see how cheap things are in comparison to where they are, and flock here, thinking they will take advantage of it. The trouble is, the more permanent residents we gain the more it costs for the infrastructure to support them. And that is especially true here because people coming from elsewhere expect the same things they had elsewhere.

Newcomers often complain that the town is changing, but fail to realize that the change is due to their arrival. Personally, I chose not to live in Payson for that exact reason, having watched the issues in the Roundup for 15 years before I came here.

(more)

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

I live on a dirt road, drive 16 miles to go shopping, have my power go out every time it thunders (really!), do not get mail delivered, and have to mail-order many of the things I use, and am quite content to do it because that is the price of living in a small rural town in Arizona.

How many newcomers to Payson would accept that? Not many. They'd be screaming for paved roads, and yelling that Payson is seventy years behind time.

People want to live in the country, but they want to change the country until it looks like--and costs as much--as the city they left. Most people wouldn't even think of living on an unpaved road. And yet, the minute somebody says taxes have to be raised to give them what they demand they scream the town is changing. For 15 long years I listened to that, watched the population of Payson spiral upward, and decided to pass on it. The result of that attitude, plus the restrictions on the amount of private land, cause property taxes to be literally the only cash revenue other than sales taxes and state revenue sharing. The result is obvious: While housing may cost less initially because the land is cheaper, the tax rate on that housing is going to be higher.

The ASU campus is a step toward a rebalancing of the percentage of business versus private property. We don't want--and can't get--most industries because they are noisy, polluting, water intensive, use up space needed for housing, and require more private homes for employees than Payson can provide at reasonable prices. A small college campus is an obvious exception.

As to the Humane Society, there obviously has to be a point at which a decision has to be made. I would imagine that anyone who works at the Humane Society is the kind of person who would postpone that decision as far as possible in hopes that an animal will be adopted. I suppose that's just the nature of things. Anyone who could work in that atmosphere would have to be an animal lover. Might as well factor that into the equation. No way to change it.

As to barking dogs. Yes, somebody needs to do something about that.

I know one thing that would help: It would be nice if the people who breed and keep animals would take responsibility for them. And it would be even nicer if there were some way to trace our strays--and hence many of our Humane Society animals--to the out-of-towners who dumped them here. I've seen it with my own eyes. I watched a car stop on Bradshaw Drive up here in Pine. A door opened, a dog ran out, and off the car went, hell bent for 87.

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

The "close the gate after I'm in" syndrome is one of the most insidious problems that small, growing towns have to deal with. People see a place, move to it, and buy a home because of what it is. In terms of one person the change wrought is negligible; it terms of the number of new people that arrive in just one year the change wrought can be very great, though it remains largely invisible.

It's a straw-and-camel's-back problem, a prime example of what's called "catastrophe theory." When you graph things like population growth against--say--road repairs, the curve for the population growth rises slowly and smoothly, but the road repair curve stays almost flat, and then takes a sudden leap upwards to a new level, where it stays flat again until, a few years later, when it takes another sudden leap upward. That's true of a lot of things, and many of them alter the very reasons people moved to some location.

Another example that may help to clarify the situation in Payson is to consider what happens with schools. You have--say--three schools. That situation lasts and lasts as the population slowly rises. And then--seemingly right out of the blue--you need four schools. There is never a moment when you need three and a half, or three and three quarter schools; the jump is in whole numbers, and that comes as a shock to the budget. It not only requires money for construction, it changes neighborhoods, traffic patterns, the number of buses needed, the administrative overhead to operate the school, hiring a new janitorial staff, police patrols, fire inspections. Someone in the super's office may decide there should be a new staff position. Payson is a little less the Payson it was just a few years back.

And this kind of thing keeps on happening. And not only in government al functions; in private enterprise.

Can anyone remember how many grocery stores Payson had in 1995? And what kind they were?

How many and what kind of restaurants?

Take that back to 1985. Ask the same two questions. The answers says a lot.

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Dan Varnes 3 years, 4 months ago

"Can anyone remember how many grocery stores Payson had in 1995? And what kind they were?"

I remember Bashas, Safeway and I.G.A.

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Dan Haapala 3 years, 4 months ago

Plus three circle K's and the dented can store at the twin pines plaza. Too many places coming to mind and I'm getting a headache.

Know what you mean Tom. The one constant thing in life....everything changes.

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 4 months ago

Right, Dan, and...uh, Dan.

And if those stores were all Payson needs, why do we now have a huge, full service Walmart, while we still have a Bashas and a Safeway?

Just as you say, more people mean change. People arrive, look around, like what they see, and expect things to stay that way, but their very arrival changes the things they are looking at.

Hey! Something just popped into my head. Anybody remember the Heisenberg uncertainty principle?

Sounds hauntingly familiar, doesn't it?

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Dan Haapala 3 years, 3 months ago

Are you referring to the idea that when you concentrate on one thing for clarity, those related things become unclear?

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 3 months ago

Dan,

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is involved with particle physics. It says that when we try to measure a particle's speed we interfere with its direction, and vice/versa. It just sounded so hauntingly familiar that I thought I would mention it.

I suppose if it were applied to everyday life it would warn us that when going somewhere to settle we should be aware of the fact that out very arrival changes the place. On a small scale, I'm willing to bet that every one of you have seen someone move into your neighborhood some time or other who changed it in some way.

Come to think of it, consider the lawsuits you've read about or heard about where someone sued because someone else new cut off a view or something. And, oh hey! Think about Mesa Del complaining about the new water filtration plant cutting down on how much edge they had to walk into the national forest. People seem to always want everything to stay exactly the way is was when they arrived, even though their arrival may have changed what was there before. Look at the guy next door to me. Built a big old house that shut off my view of the north rim.

And no, I didn't complain. Who cares?

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Dan Haapala 3 years, 3 months ago

Most of the grass and weeds were taller than me. I had four friends that lived on our block, the grass and weeds were taller than all of us. They were boys. There may have been girls living in the neighborhood but I didn't notice. Our house backed up to the field and access was easy. 100 steps out, we were invisible, no one had any idea where we were or what we were doing. All we were doing was sitting down. Being alone. Being free. I was five years old and my friends were near the same age, who counted. The field was 20 or 30 acres that had not yet been turned into homes. Things change. Within 10 years the fields were gone, we had moved, no one remembered but me and perhaps Danny Scott. When my dad took me back to that house where I spent my first five years, I didn't recognize it but he said, 'more people live here now and that's a good thing, they produce' Throughout my life I've come to realize that I must control what I want or live without. If I buy a property with a view and their is property between my view and me, I must buy it or live knowing the view will leave eventually.

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Tom Garrett 3 years, 3 months ago

Dan,

That's not only a fair and logical attitude, it's an admirable one.

Too bad more people don't think like that.

I was shocked, for example, when I heard Mesa Del up in arms about where Payson was going to site its water treatment plant. Here's a group of people whose water woes are the biggest problem they have. Here comes a permanent answer to their problems. And what are they looking at? Oh dear, I'm going to be missing a hundred feet of access into the national forest!!!!!

Phooey!

It would serve them right if Payson ended up putting the purification plant down near Home Depot.

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