I’ve never witnessed a more eloquent defense of community values (as in neighbors caring for neighbors) than at the Pinal County Board of Supervisors on August 16. (See for yourself: https://pinalcountyaz.new.swagit.com/videos/269374, starting about 1:3.)
When County officials threatened to bring the “Cease and Desist” hammer down on the Way of Bean Coffee Club and us, members of the club, my blood started to boil. To be honest, it felt like a gut punch. And it’s happened before to our town as Justin Palmer, lifelong Oracle resident testified. Justin tried to educate the supervisors and county staff about our recent history in which the Board of Supervisors fought two of Oracle’s most successful businesses - the Zip Line and the Patio Cafe. He went on to state “I can’t believe this is even on the agenda - this is not an issue; so I would hope you would let it go and let it be because we seem to be able to run our town ourselves just fine without a whole lot of help from the county.” Sadly they didn’t seize on his history lesson or his generously offered face saving escape hatch.
Strangers to Oracle in the crowd were genuinely moved by what they heard. Their comments included praise along the lines of “this is what our country needs”, “people who disagree with each other are talking over coffee at Way of Bean”, “look at the left, right and center come together for the community”, and finally, “I want to join the Way of Bean Coffee Club.” Amen, brothers and sisters, amen.
Courageous and gratifying to all was the refusal of Way of Bean owner Kristina Olivarez to cow tow to the insulting posturing of county officials who admitted they don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to private membership clubs. In the face of their ignorance of constitutional law and the enterprise concept Kristina has chosen to advance, she stayed cool. Wow! God bless her for that. That’s way more restraint than I or likely many of the rest of the 60 or so citizens present could have exercised. Kristina didn’t explode even after the officious deputy county attorney strutted out his gobbledegook and the five supervisors split for an executive session.
After all this came the final word of the day from the supervisors: Come back in three months, they said, and BTW the “Cease and Desist" order will hang like the sword of Damocles over Way of Bean Coffee Club and us, its members.
For myself I take it personally as I suspect do a lot of others around here. I think the supervisors are in for a rude awakening as the stupidity of their rigidity becomes ever more clear.
Kaz and I moved to Oracle in 1979. The house we bought dated to the late 1940s. With little advance knowledge of the place, we set out to build a new life together, intending to settle in and raise a family.