Public Safety in Mackey Camp

Public safety in Mackey Camp is an important issue to the residents who live there. But Supervisor Humphrey has not acted on this urgent matter. Gila County needs elected officials who will serve all the residents of Gila County.

I have great admiration and respect for the working people of Gila County. Mr. York, of the Gila County Highway Department, would run the grading blade up the hill in Mackey Camp to remove the ruts that would form after a hard rain. I can see him now, with his crumpled old work hat, aviator sunglasses, long-sleeved tan work shirt, blue jeans, and an unforgettable smile. He always had something nice to say to the people who lived in Mackey Camp.

Presently the Mackey Camp road is in bad shape and fire trucks, police, and other emergency vehicles, would find hard to respond to a call. Now the road in Mackey Camp is impassable. This has created a public safety issue for the people who live there. Residents complain that their cars were ruined by driving up and down the hill. They told me that they tried talking to elected officials in the area but are ignored. Cynicism runs deep in this rural mining community.

Not all roads are equal. Just up the hill, Cherry Flats Avenue, a dirt road, is kept in pristine condition. It is about fifteen miles in length; there are no homes located on it. It appears that Gila County Government has diverted funds to Ice House Canyon and Six Shooter Canyon, affluent areas outside of Globe. These roads are in excellent condition.

In time I became disillusioned with Gila County government, which responds only to constituents who wielded power and influence. In school we learned that local government is supposed to be responsive to taxpayers and residents; elected officials should listen to citizen concerns and minimize the role of politics in decision making. Gifted public officials find ways to eliminate red tape and the heavy hand of bureaucracy. I miss the time when Supervisor Guerrero or Supervisor Casillas worked to serve the public interest.

In contrast, I have always received exceptional service from the City of Glendale, City of Tucson, and the City of Las Cruces. Whenever I call the public works department, my calls are handled promptly and efficiently. Whether my call is related to garbage pick-up or street repair, I have come to appreciate the customer service orientation of public servants. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Gila County government.

We never received notice that road maintenance to our area would be suspended; I requested that the Gila County Board of Supervisors resume the past practice of grading the Mackey Camp road. Over the years, the Gila County Board of Supervisors have promised to fix the road. Empty promises to address a pressing public safety issue is not acceptable. The reality is that the current condition of the road has made it impossible for fire trucks, police, and other emergency vehicles to respond to Mackey Camp calls.

Ernest Escobedo