County Politics Still Shortchange Rim Country


Gila County politics are absurd. In what other world does an area (like Payson) that supplies the majority of property taxes and has the majority of the population receive less representation than the rest of the county?

Why, in Gila County, of course.

Where should we start? Perhaps with the Main Street decision that left Supervisor Tommie Martin outvoted on where her offices would move. Payson community leaders attended a board of supervisors meeting to voice their support for expanding county offices into the Womans Club. Because of dissenting votes by Supervisors Shirley Dawson and Mike Pastor, the county opted for the more expensive, albeit more beautiful, choice — First American Title on Highway 260.

Then there’s the spat about the lobbyist. Dawson voted against a federal lobbyist because she said the county needs a grant writer. Then she proposed hiring a “management consultant” to find money for a southern Gila County Job Corps.

The inconsistency is annoying, and we wish Dawson would have returned our phone calls so we could understand her reasoning.

If a bridge over Tonto Creek wasn’t in Pastor’s district, we predict he would have followed Dawson’s suit and let go of a lobbyist who has helped make the majority of our county’s assessed valuation more safe from fire by bringing in millions for forest projects.

One resident at a recent Citizens Awareness Committee asked if Payson would eventually become the county seat if Globe’s population continues to decline and Payson’s continues to rise.

Turns out, all it takes is the electorate to organize and get that measure on a ballot.

That’s a good idea, but more vitally, Rim Country residents must be vigilant during the redistricting that will likely follow the 2010 Census.

Some officials claim that when portions of Rim Country were taken out of District 1 and placed in District 2 and 3 respectively during the last redistricting, the change evened out the representation. Bunk.

If that’s true, then why are Rim Country interests repeatedly outvoted? Why is the Payson electorate looked at as an annoying fly to swat away as Globe goes about its business?

We pay for everything, we have more people, we should demand our fair representation.

Events support community, if we support the events

Wow. What a weekend we’ve got coming. Rodeo, rodeo, rodeo — some of the best riders in the country will climb on bulls, twirl lassos and dash though a maze of barrels on $100,000 horses trained to do things no sensible horse would do.

Out at the airport, World War II vintage planes will be provoking ohhhs and ahhhs, and firefighters will be jumping out of helicopters at the Aero Fair.

And those are just the headliners. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will have a rummage sale for vital charities, kids can get all excited about growing vegetables at the Plant Fair Nursery, hikers can marvel at the scenery on the Houston Loop Trail, folks in Pine will dedicate a new community ramada made with materials that could actually save the forest, the Payson Library will host a story-telling event for kids, the Humane Society will hold its wine tasting fund-raiser…

Hang on a minute. Gotta catch our breaths.

But we figured we’d better bring this up, after counting heads at last night’s wonderful Women’s Rodeo — which drew only about 100 spectators privileged to watch some of the most marvelous riders in the country race across the Payson Event Center arena.

Now, we know that it’s also a great weekend for lazing on the patio — maybe fishing the East Verde or strolling along Tonto Creek.

But we hope you’ll take advantage of the wealth of activities — and, in the process, support the organizations that have worked so hard to put on such a crush of events, many of which directly benefit the community we all love so much.

So go early. Go often.

You can have a grand time.

Support the community.

And still leave time to watch the sunset from that patio.


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