Everyone in the United States has a right to express their opinion, but the one broadcast at the Web site "paysonaz.com" sure is a shortsighted and mean one. The anonymous author of the site expresses a whole bunch of sour grapes about how Payson has changed -- none of it for the better, and all because of evil real estate agents, in the eyes of our mysterious penman.
This perspective is not new or even rare -- and it's surely debatable. What is alarming is that unsuspecting Web surfers are likely to tap into "paysonaz.com" in their search for information about our town. They'll be getting a skewed impression of what this place is really like. Here is the rest of the story:
Payson is a growing town with all the pains that go with change. But it retains the friendly character that has long been a hallmark of the community. It's almost impossible to go into a grocery store in town without running into someone you know.
We get letters to the editor and nominations for Good Guys all the time from non-residents who gush about how friendly and helpful Payson residents are. The pages of the newspaper are constantly filled with good deeds done by local people -- such as the efforts of Payson Habitat for Humanity volunteers reported in Tuesday's edition, or the good work of Payson firefighter Dawn Zurcher, detailed on today's front page.
We've got traffic, for sure - on summer weekends, on the Beeline and Highway 260, when tourists buzz through. But you'll never find yourself behind more than one or two other cars at any stop sign in town. Our neighborhood streets are quiet and peaceful.
Water has been an issue, but town officials have attacked it with gusto. New water sources have been developed, storage reservoirs constructed, and new residential development no longer burdens the existing water system. Despite a very dry winter, residents and businesses had fewer water restrictions placed on them this year than in the previous two summers.
Surely, the town faces some challenges -- but it's not the going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket place that "paysonaz.com" would have you believe. As letter-to-the-editor writer Al Ayers points out in his letter on this page, perhaps Mr./Ms. Paysonaz.com needs to get out among the good people of town a bit more.