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Sat, Dec. 07

Cantlon: Vote effectively, and the old post office

A for-sale sign went up recently outside the post office building in downtown Prescott. (Cindy Barks/Courier file)

A for-sale sign went up recently outside the post office building in downtown Prescott. (Cindy Barks/Courier file)

The first round of the City Council election is starting up. The way you fill out your ballot can be more effective or less.

There are three seats and four candidates. You get to vote for three. If you think there are three who should be elected then vote for them. But what if there is really only one or two candidates you want? Should you fill in the remaining slots just to fill them in? Well, if you vote just for the ones you really want, you increase the power of your vote.

Huh? It’s like this. Suppose you and a lot of other people like A, and will throw in B and C just because. Meanwhile a lot of other people vote for B and C and D. Net result? B and C get votes from everybody, and A has less chance of getting in. On the other hand, if a lot of people vote just for A, then B and C haven’t gotten nearly as many votes, and A has a much better chance of getting in. Same thing if you only want A and B but not C or D. Vote just for who you really want and your vote is more likely to help them get there.

The old downtown post office building is for sale. Could we help it end up being used in a way that we like?

The sale could lead to something good for downtown, or it could be bought by some gawd awful national chain who would do a lame version of trying to fit into the Prescott scene. Or the old building could be torn down (it has its problems) and replaced with, what? Anything you could imagine.

Or here’s a very likely scenario, yet another real estate office. I know real estate is big business in this area, but having key space that defines the Prescott experience hogged up by these offices seems like a real shame and a waste. Currently, two of the four corners of the square have that in the most prominent spots. If the post office went that way, it would be three out of four corners.

So what can be done? It’s a free market, and that’s likely what will determine the result, but maybe we can bump up the odds a little toward an outcome we’d all like.

Three things. I asked city staff, and they say they are making some desirable investors aware of the building and being helpful to those interested. That could be kicked into high gear. Network with all the local business people and retailers and see if some combination might make it work. Or reach out to desirable outfits in similar locations who might want to expand, retailers from Tucson, Austin, Santa Fe.

Two, you. What would you want to see, and not want to see there? Send it in to this paper or to the city. Sending to council members might seem logical, but it might get diffused among them. Maybe to city manager Michael Lamar. You can email him through the city web page.

Three, could the city buy it and then lease to the prospective tenants who would do the most for downtown? The city might even be able to make a little profit selling it to some other landlord later. I don’t know if that’s practical, but it’s a brain storm to look into.

Why sit back and let chance have full rein with such a key location when a little nudge might make a big difference?

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at comments at tomcantlon.com.

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