The first true election in the last 16 years for Forest Lakes Metro Board of Directors positions was recently held. The subdivision overwhelmingly voted for the status quo.
After residing in Forest Lakes for the past five years I find this disappointing, but not sad. The sad comes later in this article.
As I drive up the U.S. Forest Service road in Beaver Meadows at "O dark thirty" to access San Juan National Forest for a morning of turkey hunting, it weighs on me that the road is actually better maintained than the generally potholed and wash-boarded road into and around Forest Lakes.
What a great discussion for the folks of Forest Lakes to have. Along with several other issues, like gating the solid waste transfer station that is used as a regional landfill, developing a clearer budget that people can understand, properly maintaining the mail stop, improving the school bus drop off/pickup area and putting out a survey to see what Forest Lakes members are thinking.
Now for the sad stuff. I'm not a social media fan.
Now I'm even less so. I created an account about three months ago to hopefully have some of the above-mentioned discussions.
What I realized is that many people can't have meaningful discussions in a public forum.
Most reasonable threads about the above issues resulted in swift labeling, name calling, and online bullying.
Things somewhat like "Don't let the door hit you in the but when you move to xxx." The "Three Amigos" are (fill in the blank). "What really chaps my a-- is..."
Supporters of the elected board members put out a flier calling the new candidates "Bozos" and generated fear mongering. This wasn't online, I'm just using it as an example because it was posted publicly in several places.
Meaningful conversation isn't allowed and possibly not even desired.
Emotionally charged misinformation is typed on a whim.
It was posted that Edgemont Ranch Estates had horrible potholes and exorbitant fees, which I believed, until I actually drove through Edgemont and realized the opposite is true.
Their roads are beautiful, their mil levy about one third of Forest Lakes.
Our roads are the ones full of potholes. Total fees as a percentage of property values are arguably higher in Forest Lakes.
If we can't discuss maintaining a mailbox stop in this little microcosm without vicious personal attacks, it is easy to see why we can't discuss immigration reform or other more significant issues at the state or national level.
We feel good about teaching anti-bullying and acceptance programs to our children in school and then show an example in the adult world of how not to handle anyone who has a different opinion than one's own.
My only hope is that this is an example of the vocal minority in Forest Lakes. I'm disappointed we likely won't see many improvements in Forest Lakes in the next couple years.
I'm sad that some residents of Forest Lakes showed a poor example of neighborly behavior.