Notes From The Cellar–Economic Estrangement

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The Methow Valley is a beautiful place, but it has its problems.

There are issues more important than, say, an ugly house on a hill.  Like the absence of affordable housing.  Like the lack of living wage jobs.  And while I won’t be touching on those subjects right now, there is one that relates to the recent KTRT shortfall and the situation other local businesses still face.

I believe that more and more of the folks that make the Methow their home are disconnected from their community.

Now, I don’t mean disconnected socially.  There are plenty of events and places to see and be seen, plenty of small talk and gossip.  I think the estrangement is economic.

What I mean is, they are out of the important loop local business owners know all too well: a dollar spent here, stays here.  Said another way, we relay on each other to survive.

So while folks may know their neighbor’s “business”, they don’t support their neighbor’s business.

Which leads me to K-Root’s recent drive for donations to survive.

Now there are many well-funded non-profit organizations in the Methow: for music and theatre and the arts; for outdoor recreation; heck, there’s even one that helps rich landowners set aside some of there spare acres for tax breaks…er, I mean, posterity.  So why shouldn’t KTRT dip into some of that money?

Well, it did, and quite successfully.  But if the economy were more robust, perhaps your favorite radio station at 97.5 fm would , in turn, be well supported by advertisers, or at least enough so the radio station wouldn’t need to beg its way out of a jam (something most small businesses can’t do).

And the solution doesn’t require slogans or stickers from government-funded focus groups, or delicacies and artisan goods meant for consumers in those far-away cities.  It’s very simple: shop where you live.  Buy what you need from the nice people you talk to, and about, every day.  They’re trying to raise families and pay wages and maintain a quality of life we all enjoy here in The Valley.

So, unless you want all your neighbors to be second-home owners, and unless you want the only working people you see to be the ones who wear uniforms as they deliver your internet-bought goodies, it’s time to decide to actively support this local economy.

I’m not saying KTRT, or any other local business, has made all the right choices along the way.  But at least they’re trying.  And in these trying time, we all need to try harder to help each other out.

Or maybe you’d rather just donate.