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Drama is surrounding the effort to undermine the Short Term Rental (STR) tax and fees that were democratically passed. Salidans For Reasonable Taxation accuse our City Council of wrongdoing while engaging in questionable tactics.

Allow me to share my perspective. Last year, I received the Volunteer of the Year award, which made me their target. I became the subject of their antics simply because I sought to make a positive impact in our community. But, I’m just an ordinary person. I haven’t done anything that they shouldn’t be doing.

Salidans For Reasonable Taxation and HICCUP transformed my life’s missteps into a melodramatic production, complete with music, narration, and subtitles. They even created a conspiracy film using public comments taken out of context. The irony: none of them face homelessness, while every BETCH representative featured in their conspiracy flick has been displaced.

Complaints about the tax’s fairness ring hollow in the face of their own campaigns. They lost the ballot fairly, with more people voting for 2A and 2B than any other measure. They played dirty with their tactics, failing to register their PAC, and putting up yard signs without proper attribution. Their complaints about financial struggles contrast with those working multiple jobs and sharing substandard living conditions.

Perhaps, they should consider getting a second job, cutting back on luxuries like Starbucks and avocado toast, like we have already done. Complaining about financial ruin while splurging on custom-printed golf balls and protesting a tax they pass to customers or pay through a fundraiser only deepens the divide. If they wish to shed the villainous image, perhaps a shift in behavior is in order.

Our essential workers through the pandemic now face displacement. Meanwhile, some who stockpiled toilet paper are hoarding shelter. Instead of renting to locals, they seek larger profits from wealthy outsiders.

In business, there are inherent risks. If STR businesses falter, owners can sell with a significant equity return. They are not facing homelessness; they’re simply dissatisfied with their current profits.

We cannot afford to be merely spectators in this theatrical production. We must ask ourselves a fundamental question: What are we doing to improve Salida?

In our community, we need leaders, not bullies and sore losers. We need individuals willing to work together to help their neighbors. The road to progress is challenging, and it’s easier to criticize from the sidelines than to take steps forward.

Salty Riggs

I’m currently couch-surfing and don’t have a permanent address.