Editorial: Let’s hope for fresh start, end of us-vs.-them college politics

Here we go again. Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter has received applications from five people who want to be next in line to serve as the District 3 representative on the Yavapai College Board of Governors.

A word of advice to whoever gets the job: Don’t expect that you are going to change things overnight, if at all.

The last two people to serve as the District 3 rep on the college board – Bob Oliphant and Al Filardo – resigned from the post for very similar reasons. Neither believed the Verde Valley was getting a fair shake from the Prescott-controlled majority voting block on the college board.

That’s what the next District 3 representative will be up against.

But there is also a grand opportunity here for the person selected for this job.

First, you will need to be a practitioner of the politics of relationship. There are bridges of trust that need to be re-built on both sides of the Prescott-Verde Valley conflict over the college. The best way to begin that process is to be the one extending the olive branch.

Second, it’s best you keep the people who are so vocally insistent the Verde Valley is being abused by Yavapai College power brokers at arm’s length. They may have good points, but their us-against-them brand of politics has not worked. If anything, it has only widened the chasm that exists between the Verde Valley and Prescott.

Third, look to be a voice of compromise when the Prescott-Verde Valley conflict arises – and it most certainly will. There have been too many people on this side of the mountain drawing lines in the sand and that tactic obviously has not worked.

Finally, be satisfied, and happy with small victories anchored in compromise. That’s the key to building productive and trusting relationships with the folks in Prescott, and that’s the most important step in the process of effecting change.

There are a lot of wounds that need to be healed in the Prescott-Verde Valley relationship and we in the Verde need to quit playing the victim game in this dynamic.

That only adds salt to the wound.

There’s been entirely too much of that over the past three years.

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