It was interesting to read your editorial about the efforts to improve Payson's image.
One thing seems obvious to me. If you are trying to "impress" tourists or nonresidents with the community, the first thing to do would be to clean up the town. Get all the streets in decent condition. Put in sidewalks -- at least on the arterial streets. Trim the shrubbery and weeds at all street corners for better visibility. Enforce ordinances that require abandoned or non-running vehicles to be removed.
Any stranger who drives into town and sees rough streets with potholes, pedestrians walking at the edge of the asphalt and a deep runoff ditch (been out on East Bonita lately?) full of weeds and shrubs hanging out into street areas, will immediately assume that this is a town that doesn't have much pride or self-respect.
I believe you might remind the council and residents that an attractive, well-maintained community invites every visitor to stop for a while. Why worry about one TV news clip or one statement by an individual. Who will even remember that two months from now?
If you really want to do a good thing for Payson, spend every minute trying to find a way to get the entire community working together -- just as the mayor is doing -- and discourage the efforts at one-upsmanship, which are obviously still at work. The common ground is that Payson is home to all residents and a feeling of community pride seems to sometimes take a back seat to commercial success. There is surely room for both and perhaps the Payson Roundup can help show the way.
Ruby Finney, Winchester, Ore.