Dan Werwath loves beer and baseball. “Who doesn’t?” he asks SFR. “Communists, that’s who—and rich old people.” So when a number of residents testified at City Council against allowing beer sales at Fort Marcy Park for the games of a tentative semi-pro baseball team, he created a Facebook event to counter them.
The Pecos League argues the economics of baseball require beer sales, but the proposal is controversial to some. Werwath, who does government and nonprofit consulting work, says the people opposing the idea are a vocal, privileged minority who have the time and means to attend council meetings.
Younger people without those luxuries can vent their support for beer and baseball on Facebook; Werwath plans to present all Facebook comments to City Hall on the day of the final vote, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 9.
The idea really came from the fact that, so often, a really small number of vocal people end up dictating city policy. They’re the people that can show up. They’re generally the people who are against something. And I have a big sense that a lot of young people aren’t getting their voices heard. They’re not engaged in the political system. So it seemed like a logical way of trying to engage younger people in the political system.
We have a huge problem keeping young people in this community. Young people are working their asses off to be able to afford to live here. We as a community need to
start making decisions about what we do and how we engage younger people in
A lot of it is because I think older, wealthy people dictate how the city is going to be run. The people that would enjoy a semi-pro baseball team, they’re young families with kids. And what are they doing at 5 o’clock on a Monday night? They’re feeding dinner to their kids. They just got home from work. They’re helping kids with homework. They don’t have time to come down and squawk about this stuff.
It’s certainly not [the most pressing issue]. But it’s symbolic of a bigger thing. In terms of politics in this town, it’s something I think is very important because we just need to start drawing lines and say these are quality-of-life issues. The city says on paper that they want to recruit and retain young people in Santa Fe, but every time something comes up, they choose these other ways of doing things. So they don’t put their money where their mouth is.
I don’t think it’s really about serving alcohol in the park. I think a small segment of people are against it because of the alcohol issue. And I totally respect [that]. But I don’t think that limiting access to alcohol is a productive solution to the problems we have with alcohol. I don’t think creating less places where you can get alcohol solves alcohol problems. [People are] just going to go down the street. They’re going to drink their beer at home. They’re going to drink their beer in the car. That’s not the issue.
The big issue here is land use. People who live in the immediate neighborhood, they don’t want to see this happen in their neighborhood. It’s not something that interests them. But the reality is, that’s a city park. My tax dollars pay for that park. And it’s not an issue of whether they want to have this in their neighborhood or not.