With all the disparaging comments about Mayor Ken Murphy's conduct at the Ox Bow during rodeo weekend, including my statements, I believe it is vital to ascertain why Murphy would be willing to "put himself in harm's way."
From talking with Mayor Murphy as well as reading his comments on the Payson Roundup about restoring Payson's position as the "Festival Capital of Arizona," I see a public official who is willing to put his head in the chopping block for the betterment of Payson.
I have lived in Payson for a little over a year, but, as an outsider, I can readily see that Payson has problems with many low-paying jobs that are well below the national poverty standard. When I talk to people in the Valley and ask them what comes to their mind when I say Payson, Arizona, the usual reply is "Where is Payson" or "Never heard of it."
I truly believe Ken Murphy has the unselfish desire for Payson's businesses to prosper, improve wage conditions for local men and women, and promote Payson as the place to live and work. Sure, Murphy could have been more diplomatic in his conduct, but sometimes it takes a person who will take the unconventional approach and be willing to sacrifice for the common good.
America has grown into the world's most powerful nation because of independent, outspoken politicians like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, etc. I'm not saying we should add Murphy to Mount Rushmore, but doesn't Payson deserve to improve its economic condition and grow as a vital city of Arizona?
If it takes a person to be "loud and boisterous" to wake up Payson from an economic deep sleep, then that's a small price to pay for progress and growth for the citizens of Payson. It takes guts to be an independent, outspoken public official in a time of back-slapping, business-as-usual politics, but I believe the people of Payson deserve better from their political leaders.
You be the judge.
Roy E. Nethken, Payson