Although political divisiveness seems to be overwhelming our country, most of us here on the border are fortunate to get along pretty well with each other.
We don't get news about the the “border crisis" from television, we get it first hand in our daily living. Most of us don't consider ourselves to be living with a crisis, but we sure have seen things change. The razor wire defacing the border wall is annoying and maybe even insulting, but most of us are learning to put up with stuff like tiresome border lines and bureaucratic discourtesies as a fact of life.
It is also true that the failing local retail economy and reductions in tax revenue hurt Nogales, but we are adjusting, surviving and hopeful for new opportunities in the wake of change. I know nothing about international trade or the produce industry, but I believe the folks involved will make their way through all of this.
This letter is not about doom and gloom; it is about the reasons that my wife Janis and I love living in Nogales after 15 years. City services are not perfect, but they are closer to it than any other place we have lived or visited as world travelers. Family, church and schools are intertwined as an important part of the community. The town is chock-a-block full of neat old neighborhoods on rolling hills with picturesque views galore. Social courtesy is important to Nogalenses and it feels good. People take time to greet one another and show an interest in each other's well being. On and on, the list of positive things to say about Nogales is longer than we want to write.
A good community is no accident. It's important to acknowledge the people who do things to help make this town so attractive to us. For starters, it seems that a thankless job is that of city mayor and council members. They work for little reward other than that of doing a public service for the town they love. We don't personally know any of those folks, but believe they are doing the best job they are capable of doing and we are grateful to them. In the past 15 years we have had dealings with most all city departments. We have enjoyed being treated with respect and courtesy by every city employee we’ve encountered.
To keep things in balance, Nogales also needs its critics and fault finders who express their opinions in our newspaper's editorial page. We need our newspaper reporters to keep a constant eye on local government. We need both supporters and detractors to attend public meetings to encourage our leaders to do their best.
Yes, we feel good about our adopted hometown on the border. More united than divided, it's a very good place to live.
Tom and Janis Bell