The City of Santa Fe is passing resolutions all the time. Resolutions aren't the same as ordinances, however. They aren't laws, and they don't have any real bite.
City resolutions are a lot like traditional New Year’s resolutions, except the city rarely makes them with any real profundity of self-examination, and it doesn’t traditionally make commitments for the coming year—at least not the calendar year. But if it did, what should the City of Santa have resolved to do in 2011?
If the city budget is analogous to a body’s torso—the center from which everything emanates—it looks like we’re going to have to commit to shedding, oh, several million pounds before we have a body worth showing off at the beach again. There ain’t no diet pill for that kind of cutting; it’s going to require tough decisions and discipline.
…but maintain muscle.
We don’t want to trim so much fat that we lose muscle mass. When it comes to peeling lard from the budget, everyone threatens police and firefighters before moving on to libraries, recreation facilities and funding for quality of life, economic development and support of the more esoteric items that make Santa Fe worth fussing over. Let’s keep all that muscle intact and focus on the real flab, such as city employee vehicle usage, fee structures and collections, and—oh, look: 150 city employees sitting on their asses—maybe their subsidies are less important than basic services and quality of life?
Be more green…
Santa Fe does many things right when it comes to being an enviro-chic jewel in the Southwest, but the minute you rest on your laurels, you stop improving, right? Maybe, in the spirit of self-improvement, we could look into municipal composting pick-up for residences? Maybe we could stop allowing new Taco Bell franchises? We could at least prevent tens of thousands of square feet in new heat-sink paving and bad drainage to be built surrounding them. Maybe we could push hard on an end run around the federal government to enable residential solar financing districts?
…and more safe.
The biggest green problem is also a safety problem. Despite great strides made in the past, pubic transportation still sucks. Even a city that can’t afford shiny, levitating bullet trains and cross-town transportation beams should be able to engage its populace and entrepreneurs in a creative exercise in imagining the future of real “PT” in SF.
Spruce up the wardrobe…
We are killing it when it comes to the vintage ensemble. Santa Fe wears a gown like no other city, and it’s a beauty worthy of international adoration. Of course, it’s just the one outfit: the brown one; the really, really old brown one that’s all bumpy and rough. We’ll never get rid of our famous frock, but it could be time to give something else a style trial.
…and do some budget redecorating.
Speaking of green and style—it’s high time the two merged. This ought to be the year in which the devil on our shoulder who thinks double-paned insulated glass and solar panels should never be seen in the historic districts gets kicked off in favor of the angel of common sense and energy efficiency. If people think the historic district is pretty now, imagine what it would look like free from power lines.
Watch the diet…
The Santa Fe Farmers Market is like a Jedi knight among farmers markets: old, powerful, weird and delightful to audiences of all ages. And the local-food movement is really taking off, in large thanks to the Santa Fe Alliance. Both of those are city-supported efforts, but considering all of the local food festivals in places such as Portland, Ore., Oakland, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland, aren’t there steps that could be taken to promote eating (and growing and selling and producing and distributing and distilling and…) local?
…but indulge a little bit.
If we’re going to keep getting sister cities and “creative economy” partners in far-flung paradises around the globe, can’t we at least make them cook for us every now and then?
Speaking of our sister cities and creative economy adventures, we should start ignoring the naysayers who decry travel for city officials. It’s the best way to truly open the eyes to new experiences. Just ask any college student.
…but not too far.
There’s no need to blow the budget on frequent trips to the Far East. There’s a lot to learn from cities that are kicking our ass close to home, such as Boulder, Colo., Austin, Texas, and…Albuquerque.
Learn a new language…
Everyone always says they’re going to, but no one ever does. The language that already-multi-lingual Santa Fe is most missing is: cooperation.
…and practice regularly.
Because cooperation—whether on effective budget cuts, travel costs or anything in between—is a tricky language, at least if last year is anything to go by.
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