When you stop to think about it, Oracle residents’ passionate defense of Way of Bean Coffee Club at the Pinal County Board of Supervisors on August 16 makes a lot of sense. On the one hand, Oracle has a long history of tensions with county oversight of local matters; on the other, Way of Bean Coffee Club fills a gap in the menu of spaces available to residents and visitors alike that is widely appreciated.
Several of these spaces are interesting and successful hybrids: Part business, part community gathering places. I’m thinking of Sue and Jerry’s Farmers Market; the Patio Cafe; Triangle L; Rancho Robles among others, Together with the Oracle Community Center, the Oracle Historical Society, the Oracle Community Learning Garden, the Oracle Center for the Arts, Rancho Linda Vista along of course with our faith communities, prospects open up for gatherings diverse in focus, appeal and size. Way of Bean fits so neatly in because it’s right sized for conversation, small concerts, readings, meetings, openings and the like. In other words it fulfills a need largely unmet by other venues.
That’s how free enterprise is supposed to work, right?
The key to all this seems to be entrepreneurial talent, energy and inspiration. Most of us know that to survive and thrive as an enterprise of whatever sort in a small town is really hard. It’s way more than being in the right place at the right time, It’s carving out relationships over the long term with mind bogglingly hard work. No exceptions here.
Which brings me to the role of local government. Given that the disposition of local government is mostly rule making and punitive in nature, small business is up against it. Every election cycle there’s a lot of talk about the importance of small business; you know - about jobs, community services and the like. But when push comes to shove it’s the big players that get most of the positive outcomes. Right? The reason is obvious.
Is there a small business in Pinal County that can afford to hire arguably the most powerful lawyer/lobbyist/flak catcher in our county, Jordan Rose and her Scottsdale based firm? If so, I’m not aware. Is there a small business in Pinal County with the resources to flood the coffers of politicos up and down the ladders of power? If so, I"m unaware. I rest my case.
Which is why it’s so important for ordinary citizens to weigh in as we did on August 16.
(Come to think of it, surprise, surprise, that’s the whole point of my book - Sometimes David Wins; Organizing to Overcome Fated Outcomes.)
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.