Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When You Ride Back in Time in Jerome

The white carriage pulled by 2,000 lb. Barney and his 1,800 lb. carriage mate, Babe, is a familiar sight to throngs of tourists in the historic mining town of Jerome, Arizona.

For quirky personal reasons, a Jerome City Council member, Nancy Stewart, is attempting to dismantle this business seen and enjoyed by thousands.

In this town, "getting rid" of a business is done through:
1.) retroactive regulations,
2.) selective rule application, and
3.) an absurdly detailed "conditional use permit" aimed at the business owner, Bob Peterson.

A good friend who is "Village Administrator" of a small town (in a different state) remarked that administrators are responsible for following up complaints relating to "the public good," but should have the sense to stay away from personal agendas.

He guessed the Police Department had better things to do than walk around taking the temperature of streets 4 ft. above the pavement.

Some issues:

a) While the regulations being explored will apply to horses used in a carriage business, they will not apply to horses used for recreational riding by, for example, the "Vice-Mayor" of Jerome, Jane Moore.

b) Someone will have to explain the ergonomic differences between a horse carrying a rider and a horse pulling a load. The horse is working either way.

c) What is the difference between the pack horses (and mules) working at the Grand Canyon and the horses working Bob Peterson's Ride Back in Time? I suspect the packer franchises run by the National Park Service have received more scrutiny than The Town of Jerome could ever hope to bring to this situation.

A woman, knowing the situation, remarked, "the pet Nazis are out."

Another townsperson quipped, "there are people in this town who would like horses to join them at the dinner table."

A letter to the editor of a regional newspaper is more to the point:

Please Do Not Destroy a Man’s Livelihood and His Way of Life with Horses

I have ridden many times in Bob Peterson’s carriage. I have been around horses for the past 36 years and have owned many horses myself. In my opinion Bob takes very good care of his horses.

The horses he drives are made for hard work in fields or to pull very large wagons, not just a carriage which I can move around by myself (and I am not a large person).

May I ask, unless these people who are complaining are professional horse people, not just people with a backyard pet or making a prejudgment based on gossip or their unprofessional judgment, what right do they have to try to take a man’s livelihood away from him.

THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OF THIS LETTER AND ME IS THAT I WOULDN'T SAY PLEASE! This activity is ethically bankrupt and a foolish pursuit for the town.