As Viable Today As It Was Then

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When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The wait continues

Cue the cheers!

What? Not yet?

When, dear Lord, when?

So the interminable negotiations between Arizona State University and the Rim Country Educational Alliance will continue for “a few more weeks,” according to sources familiar with the latest spin of the wheel.

Now, if we’d heard this news in 2010 — or maybe 2011 — we’d be dancing in the street. Reportedly, both sides have resolved all the major issues. Now, they just have to work out some technicalities, settle on the final language, sign a draft agreement and get final approval from the Arizona Board of Regents.

Of course, we fully expected the deal to go before the Board of Regents last December, then in February. By April, we fully expected the Alliance to seek other partners.

So, we’re not quite sure what to make of the passage of the latest deadline for coming to final terms with ASU. Of course, we earnestly hope that this time the lightning on the horizon is the dawn — and not another distant wildfire burning through the thickets of best-laid plans. The logic behind a partnership between the Alliance and ASU remains as compelling as it was four years ago, when our hopes first rose.

Bringing ASU to town would provide the short-term spark needed to turn Rim Country’s economy around. We’ve learned the painful lesson of relying on a boom-bust economy.

Perhaps more important, the Payson model provides a vital way to start the construction of a state college system intimately connected to the existing universities. Such a model remains the best possible way to meet the state’s need for a near-doubling of college degrees in the coming decades.

Even so, it appears we must wait a little longer for the unambiguous news we’ve longed to hear for the past two years.

Ironically enough, the timing may all work out after all — thanks to the strange chronology of the U.S. Forest Service. Some 12 years ago, Congress approved the eventual sale of the 260 acres the Alliance needs to build the university. The push to get the Forest Service to act on that congressional directive to sell the land for a campus started two years ago, then stalled as a result of confusion and indifference by the Forest Service. The effort revived with the happy arrival of Payson Ranger District Head Ranger Angie Elam, lurched forward, but then stalled again for lack of money to pay the Forest Service to supervise the consultants they hired.

Fortunately, generous donors have provided enough money to at least get the environmental assessment going again. Even so, the Forest Service likely won’t act until roughly October.

As it happens, that’s just in time for the next Board of Regents meeting.

So, send the band home and pack up the pom-poms — but keep them close at hand.

We must wait just a little longer, oh best beloved. Lucy wouldn’t pull the football away again. So patience. Patience. Think of all the character we’re developing.

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