We hear it often around election time: If you don't vote, don't complain.
The same holds true for this week's Economic Summit, June 1-2.
Unlike past summits at which guest speakers or panelists talked at attendees, this year's event will be directed by the attendees. The summit will use what's called "open forum technology" through which topics will gather interest and discussion will develop based on their relative importance. For example, if no one wants to talk about the need for a convention center, the issue will be pushed aside in favor of more pressing priorities.
Those people who care enough about the future of the valley to want to help shape it will never have a better chance than this year's Economic Summit to speak their minds and act on their ideas.
The key word is action.
It's one thing to express your opinions about what's wrong in Steamboat Springs; to gripe about growth or the lack of affordable housing.
It's quite another to do something about it.
The Economic Summit this year will be much more effective than any letter to the editor or online posting on our Reader Forum. Attendees will gather in groups to discuss a particular topic a recreation center, for example. During the discussion, action items will be developed. Those items will be put together into a plan that will be given to an appropriate group for follow up. But it doesn't mean the responsibility of the attendees ends once the action plan has been passed on. Rather, it is imperative that participation continue and action items get acted on.
We expect impassioned discussion at the Economic Summit. Issues will be debated that go to the heart of who we are as a community and where we are going. But we expect the discussion to be civil and productive. That means attendees must take an open mind with them along with their passions. It also means that talking about issues is only the first step. Doing is the next step and we must be prepared to take it.
The Economic Summit offers a rare opportunity to express our opinions about the future of Steamboat, to listen to other voices, and to act collectively to solve the problems we face.
Admission to the Economic Summit is $25, which includes lunch. It's half the price of last year and a small price to pay for a chance to shape the future. For information call 879-0882.
It's time to talk and to act. It's time to sign up or shut up.