Fernando Shipley facilitated an initial meeting for those wishing to participate in projects to improve Globe at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 in the Globe City Council Chambers. He wanted to discover who was interested in improving the life and looks of Globe and how they wanted to proceed in the matter. They could organize as a commission or committee under city authority, or the they could organize as a 501c3 non-profit.
He asked City Manager Paul Jepson to outline the pros and cons of the first two options. Then Linda Oddonetto spoke, bringing up a third option: an unofficial committee that partnered with an existing 503c such as the Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation, of which Mayor Gameros, who was also in attendance, and Oddonetto were board members.
The aim was to get funding, establish and complete projects without having to go through all of the red tape and restrictive policies that hobble city run projects. Money and time would be inevitably wasted. Competitive contracts would have to be awarded and supervised at much higher cost. People couldn’t just run out and buy materials and tools cheaply so that volunteers could complete moderate sized projects under restrictions incumbent on a city run project. Mayor Gameros added that the city’s goals were long term, but a nimble independent entity could do things immediately.
Shipley asserted that he was not a talker as much as a doer, and that expensive studies of which the city had 13 upon the shelf often resulted in no action.
Shipley was in favor of starting small, with projects that could be started immediately and completed. It was his experience, he said, that when he had started out with an initiative in the past, few people showed up initially, but after a series of successful small projects, over 150 people got involved with a big project. People could engage in a part of a project and could avoid parts they didn’t like.
Shipley talked about the Teepee, which was an heirloom or an eye-sore depending on the observer, and how he engaged a group of youths in its restoration. The kids helped with planning and preparatory work. But although much of the construction was done by city agencies, the kids could look with pride on what they had accomplished for the rest of their lives.
Kris Fewell from the Salvaged Youth Ministries said that they would be happy to set up booths and participate in events with their high school aged members, but got little warning of when and where they would be. Various means of improving notification were discussed.
There were a couple of possible projects mentioned. Regina Ortega a friend of the family of Catherine Canez who was tragically drowned in a flash flood, explained that more signage was needed to alert people to the dangers of flash floods in washes that were used by drivers in the area. Ortega emphasized that the signs needed to be compelling, stating that “lives have been lost.”
The issue was not just signage she said, but early warning of rain in a given location, since water could come roaring down under a clear sky from rain falling far away in the upper reaches of the watershed. The mayor and city manager assured Ortega that the subject would be brought up at the next city council meeting on Aug. 13. She attended the meeting with Canez’s parents, John and Bea Sanchez.
Ortega also spoke of on-going efforts to make sure that Canez was remembered, in the form of money from a gofundme.com account that would be used “all for Cathy” and largely to help the students she had taught and students in the community not just as a onetime event but continually. Ortega also wanted a sign commemorating Canez at the site. According to Canez’s page at gofundme.com, much of the money would go to the Miami High School, school to work program.
Members of the curb appeal group that had caused code enforcement officer Yerkovich to be hired, brought up the issue of historic houses that were not in the downtown area. The group felt that that the dwellings needed to be redone so that they fitted in with the historical nature of the neighborhood. Participants discussed the tension between historical uniformity and property rights. And Shipley warned them that anything important that was accomplished was certain to be opposed by somebody. Just a heads up, he said of difficulties that were inevitably caused by human nature itself.
Councilman Freddy Rios, Code Enforcement Officer Michelle Verkovich, Police Chief Dale Walters, and Assistant Fire Chief Dave Bejarano contributed to the meeting.
Shipley envisions that after the 6 p.m. meeting on Thursday, Aug. 15, a further meeting will be held in the last week in August or the first week in September for “all of the people who want to go forward and accomplish something.”