Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

March 12, 2002

This morning was definitely a harbinger of spring. Not only was the temperature reasonably warm, not only was there plenty of daylight at 6 a.m., but in addition my neighbor accompanied me for the second time in a row. Usually he heads right back to Palm Springs, California, after just one cold walk. Last week he was so bundled up he could hardly move. Today he wore only about four layers.

As usual, we discussed local issues. Because Santa Fe is having a very dry winter, like so many other places in the country, the impending summer water crisis became our main topic. I told my neighbor that for the last three decades or so, every time we have a dry year, the city powers (mayor and City Council) grind the discussion to a pulp and in the end accomplish nothing.

When Santa Fe first started seriously discussing the need for additional water sources all those years ago, every suggested solution was soon discarded for one reason or another. As a result, the water problem has never been solved. If the council only realized that there is no perfect solution, and that doing something is better than doing nothing at all, we’d be much better off. But no, the problem is discussed endlessly, until finally election time rolls around again and the new members start the process all over again.

What is funny and sad at the same time, I told my neighbor, is that the voters finally had the sense to kick out a councilor who talked the city into buying the local water company, under the false belief that the rates could be lowered. Well, we voters, who always are looking for ways to save money, agreed to buy the water company—and the result has so far been a disaster.

Not only have the rates increased dramatically, but the City Council has also spent a great deal of time managing the water company, time that could have been better spent solving the many other problems the city has created for itself. Problems such as a golf course, a recreation center and the downtown rail-yard property the city bought—all of which are losing money at light speed.

Oh well, with all its problems Santa Fe is still one of the best places to be. Dry or not, it’s still beautiful.

As we reached our most distant point and then circled back toward our stop at the French Pastry Shop, always the highlight of our walk, I asked my neighbor, "Why are we occupying our minds with such sad thoughts on such a beautiful morning?" He saw my point; and from that moment on, my mind concentrated on the difficult task of deciding which pastry to eat today.

I could tell that my neighbor’s thoughts were running along the same line. I also knew that our indecision would not last long, because unlike the city powers and the water shortage, we both preferred grinding some delicious pastry to a pulp instead of worrying endlessly whether we picked the right one. Any pastry is better than no pastry at all!

Have a great day!


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