There are two very immediate issues: The first is the wildfire danger in our watershed. In the dry season we’re at risk of a catastrophic fire that could not only consume buildings but harm our water supply, and then cause major on-going problems of restoration that could take years.
And this could deal a severe blow to our visitor economy, which is also the second immediate concern. That is, the national financial crisis, plus high gas prices, may affect attendance at the Festival next season (at least) and how much people spend when they’re here. Once we lose the vitality we currently experience when the Festival is in session, we lose some of our attractiveness, threatening future seasons – and this key part of our economy is not very capable of absorbing an economic ‘hit’.
The most important concern I have, however, is the casualness with which we allow ourselves to get caught up in divisiveness. This particularly shows up at election time, when it can be a powerful political strategy to exploit. But the cost to the community is that we fracture the relationships and cooperation we need to make our community successful and afterwards we meander, bickering, without much purpose and little forward direction. I think that’s what’s been going on the last few years and it’s why I’m running for Mayor. I believe in bringing people together, in letting go of negative things that have happened in the past and finding ways to collaborate on a promising future – which, as I said above, is staring us in the face, just waiting for us to commit ourselves.