By Don Henninger
As we wind down a year that we’d just as soon forget, let’s start thinking about what we can do to make 2021 one that we’ll want to remember.
Along those lines, here are a few stocking stuffers to help us greet 2021.
–I hope more citizens stay involved in civic and government affairs. The voter turnout last November was remarkably high in Scottsdale, over 85 percent. That shows that residents are willing to engage in their city on important issues. Too many people in our city are complacent. Their votes were important but their voices in between elections are, too.
–I hope that people who do nothing but criticize things – especially those who do it anonymously – realize they do more harm than good. If you have a complaint, air it and let us know who you are so we can work on it together. That may take a little courage, a trait that some have yet to demonstrate.
–I hope our new City Council finds more things that members can agree on, rather than things to fight over. At least that would be a good way to get started when our new mayor and three councilors take office Jan. 12.
A recent article in the New York Times made the point:
Author Heidi Larson wrote: “When confronted with a different view, try to find something you can agree on. You don’t have to change your views. Just be open to the fact that others have theirs, too. It may sound counterintuitive. But it’s the only place to start.”
That’s a path to progress. And it’s one we all should take to heart.
–I hope we appreciate the unique upside of living in Scottsdale: among the lowest taxes and highest property values of any city in the Valley along with the highest level of services and amenities. The reason for that: a vibrant and diverse economy. Growing the city’s economic base is the only way we’ll get to continue enjoying those advantages.
–Tourism is a big reason for that. And the year will not get off to a fast start, as most of the major events in the first quarter have either been postponed or will be held without fans – which means without visitors. The tourism sector will get healthy again – just as we all will after the COVID virus is no longer a threat. But it reaffirms why a diverse economy is important to sustaining our lifestyle.
–I hope we show more appreciation for our first responders in the year ahead. Our police force is among the best but it took some strong criticism last spring. Our firefighters are top of the line. Don’t take then for granted. Our health care workers are unsung heroes, too. A thank you to them from time to time will go a long way.
–Many of our small business owners are unsung heroes, too. Many of them rely on tourism. With a slow first quarter virtually assured, the year ahead looks challenging. Perhaps the city can find more ways to give them a break as 2021 begins. Why not pull together a small group of them to identify ways the city might help them survive a slow start?
–I hope that you all have a safe and healthy holiday season and find new ways to connect with friends and families while we continue the journey to end the COVID-19 nightmare.
Before you know it, a new year will be here. A fresh start. Let’s find more common ground in the year ahead and work just as hard on the things we agree on as we have on the things that have divided us.
Don Henninger, executive director of SCOTT, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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