Charlee Farley asked again at the August 8 council meeting that the town do something about feral cats. In response to her plea for action, retired veterinarian Steve Finch spoke about the complexity of the problem of controlling feral cats including possible high costs and difficulty in identifying which cats are feral and which are not. A Feral Cat Task Force was then established to look into possible courses of action and make recommendations at a future council meeting. Farley and Finch agreed to serve on the task force along with India Aubrey.

Also at the August 8 meeting, Ms. Aubrey requested that council postpone the primary vote on the No Border Wall Referendum because of confusion about what a yes vote would mean. Council declined to take the requested action. Despite the confusion, the townsfolk approved the referendum at the ballot box on August 28 and council put the divisive issue aside until the September 26 meeting when they debated approval of a No Border Wall resolution drafted by Mayor Ike Isakson from documents adopted by several cities in the Southwest. The discussion elicited some comments from the audience that the town had no business discussing national political matters of this kind, but the discourse was civil and the resolution was adopted unanimously.

The September 26 session also saw extended discussion on two issues related to this year’s Patagonia Fall Festival: limitations on participation of political organizations and candidates and the closure of streets adjacent to the event.

On behalf of both major parties, Republican Party member Emmett McLoughlin, speaking during the call to the public, expressed concern about the rules that will restrict political participation at this year’s festival and requested that the council set up a committee to look at what is the appropriate role of political organizations in that event. Shelby Scheer, speaking for the festival sponsor, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA), replied that SAACA had made a good faith but unsuccessful effort to reach a compromise, but experience throughout the industry has shown that politics and art festivals are not compatible. Council took no action on McLoughlin’s request.

When Vice Mayor Andy Wood raised concern for how closing McKeown Avenue would negatively affect small businesses on that street, Mayor Isakson and Marshall Joe Patterson clarified that the closure would be a soft one, meaning people who want to shop at stores on the closed streets would be allowed to drive to those establishments.

No Border Wall Resolution

The following resolution was adopted by the Mayor and Town Council of Patagonia on September 26, 2018:

The Town of Patagonia hereby urges you to reject funding that would expand the border wall along the Southern border.

Patagonia welcomes refugees and immigrants and we urge you to reflect these values.

The wall is contrary to what makes this country great and stymies efforts to protect our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, ourselves and our vibrant border communities and borderlands.

Patagonia is concerned that important environmental laws that keep us safe, like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, have been waived to build these walls. Please focus funding instead on protecting our land, environment and people.

We should be creating jobs and rebuilding our failing infrastructure. Congress should invest in our families, our children, our health, and our future.