I would like to commend the town council of Payson for being open-minded, flexible and progressive.
At the council meeting of April 10, it was my privilege to see democracy in action.
All humans have preconceived ideas about things. Being people, they also have resistance to change. All too often, pride, stubbornness and political camps dictate how, and what, things are done.
It takes a big person to be honest enough with themselves to say, "Hey, I might have been wrong." Actually, absolute right and absolute wrong are rare things indeed. When reality and common sense are factored in, it is usually a percentage of each.
Changing your mind doesn't mean you were wrong, it indicates you recognized a better, or different, way.
I personally want to thank those on the council, Mayor Ken Murphy, and all those who were willing to help the June Bug Blues Festival to continue. It is a good thing; it truly helps a lot of people in many ways.
To those of you who may not appreciate the value of having a large music festival in our town, or may not particularly like blues music itself, consider this scenario: a small baby starts crying in a restaurant. To some people's face comes a frown, raised eyebrow or disapproving stare, an intolerant glance. To others' faces a smile, a soft memory shows in their eyes; they hear the sound of life anew and nod compassionately to the parents. I've witnessed this scenario countless times, and pray to God I will always have a heart that hears the sounds of life and living and appreciate it.
Thank you to all the music- and culture-loving supporters who attended (the council meeting), and a special thanks to those who spoke up to help our local economy and community to become a better place, a more balanced place.
Payson could be the Branson of Arizona -- a town with cultural events, sporting events, theater and plays, a thriving economy.
Payson was once the festival capital of Arizona. It was not a pit stop; it was a destination, a cool place to be in more ways than one.
Remember, people make towns; towns don't make people. The people of this town need to make it something and, while they are at it, make it something special.
"Shakey" Joe Harless, Payson