The “Fundamental” Problem

Guest post submitted by Ratonymous

In many endeavors in life, one must sometimes lower their sights from the end goal and focus on the fundamentals. For sports, that means catching the ball; for sales it means number of calls; for retail it means boots in the door. Leading a city to prosperity has its own fundamentals.

If one drives through a decrepit town, it is difficult not to think, “Who would want to live or invest here?” Trash, run-down buildings, weeded lots – these will sour even the most avid enthusiast. In comparison with many small towns, Raton actually looks very nice. There is room for improvement, and the importance of the folks who plant flowers in the medians should not be overlooked. They are providing a fundamental service, one which might have more impact than all the civic development meetings combined.

Another interesting exercise which has always found favor in scientific circles is to examine the basic principles underlying an overall assumption. When these principles are studied in detail, apart from the whole, very interesting revelations can be found. These revelations MUST be addressed and understood before the end goal can be reached.

The following are some examples of a few fundamentals which must be mastered before success can be achieved in improving a city's outlook:

Can you find 20 people who will meet for 1-1/2 hours each week? Not monthly, but weekly. People who are willing to reschedule OTHER things to make the meetings a priority?

Can you find 100 people, not necessarily the same 100 each time, who will consistently meet downtown to plant flowers, pick up litter, or just meet and greet and cuss and discuss?

Can you raise $10,000; $20,000, $30,000? For $10,000 that's 1000 people donating $10 or 100 people donating $10 per month for ten months. In the entire area, can you find 100 people that would donate $10 per month for a year?

Would you have any chance of obtaining $10,000; $20,000, $30,000 from any of the governmental resources?

If you had $10,000; $20,000, $30,000; do you know immediately what you would do with it? Would you invest $1000 of your own money in any venture in Raton?

If an investor asked you what they should do with $50,000 in Raton, would you have an answer?

Have you ever talked to a venture capitalist? An angel investor? Do you have any phone numbers?

Have you ever talked to the Small Business Administration to learn the ins and outs of obtaining a loan through that organization?

If a low tech business showed interest in Raton, could you connect them with 20 suitable employees? What about a medium tech business? A high tech business?

Do you seek to create groups with people who tend to agree with you and make you feel good about yourself? When is the last time you recruited someone new?

Do you really know who the smart, progressive people are or do you keep trying to remake the same old posse into something they are never going to be? Are you willing to seek the new blood out?

Do you read books to help you improve your writing, speaking, debating, and people skills?

Can you create a list of people who have already mastered the concepts listed above?

The “you” referred to above is anyone who wishes to lead or contribute in any significant way. Not everyone can do all of these things, but at least one person must do each one!

After all the time, meetings, groups, and committees, how many of the fundamentals have you mastered? If you can't find 20 committed people; 100 interested people; $10,000 in funding; can't think of a venture you'd be willing to put $1000 into; are ignorant of potential investors; and find yourself repeating the same rituals over and over, then you need to focus on the fundamentals.

Look at each concept and work to master it or align yourself with someone who can. If each stone of the foundation is solid, the final goal will find you.


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It is always wonderful to celebrate the good in our community, whether it be by an individual or an organization.

If so, please feel free to fill out the Contact Form with details of who or what business or organization you would like to honor, as well as details as to why and we would be happy to do a feature blog post.

Our Biggest Challenge - Your Opinion

It is no secret, our community faces many tough challenges in the coming weeks, months, and even years.

These challenges include everything from the current state of our economy, getting our local government up and running again, drugs & crime, and much more.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that our community faces right now?

What is the most urgent challenge that we currently face?


 Welcome to the Raton Community Gathering Blog.

Regardless of race, education level, age, or gender ... we welcome you.

Regardless of whether your family roots stretch back many generations in Raton, or if you have only today moved to our wonderful community ... we welcome you.

Regardless of rumors or bias, you are welcome here.

Made mistakes? Haven't we all ..... you are still welcome here.

 I am a simple everyday citizen, just like you, who truly cares about the community that I've grown up in, and only wants to get together, talk, gather ideas, and hope to make a difference.

I ask only that you come here with respect and with an open mind.

Threats against others, personal attacks, and unsubstantiated rumors will not be tolerated.

We are neighbors, each of us, and together we can come together and help our leaders to rebuild our community.

If you would like to contribute an article or opinion letter to this blog, feel free to send an email to or if you would prefer to do so anonymously, you can click the 'Contact' link above and send through the contact form.

Origins of a Blog

I, like many others, have quietly observed as the political and social climate of our beautiful town has deteriorated over the past several years. I, like many others, have sat in coffee shops, restaurants, and in our workplaces and discussed the problems of our community. I have searched for outlets in which to hold discussions, with the cyber era offering even more opportunities to network.

However, in my wanderings, I became even more saddened upon finding that these cyber areas have become even more detrimental to the reputation and social climate of our community. The ability to post anonymously is something that I value, I encourage, and even believe it to be somewhat of a necessity in our current climate.  The biggest drawback to the anonymous posting however, is how quickly conversations can turn to threats and attacks.

One of the biggest examples of this is upon the Raton Topix site. I silently watched until I could no longer take it and thought to throw a small pebble into the pond of social discourse and posted on the Topix site for the first time. You can read below the conversation that took place, if you have not already.

I do not know if this will work or make a difference, but I can make the attempt, do my best, and humbly welcome you to a new place to discuss how we can help our community.


Wednesday Feb 9
I know that our community has problems, I am by no means blind to those problems. I know that some of them are getting worse (drugs, etc). These are similar problems that many communities across the U.S. face.

The Raton Topix forum has become sort of like a train wreck - it is horrible, with so many people bashing other people, but you just can't help but watch. I have held back from posting until now, because it seems that no matter what stance you take, you place yourself in a position to be ridiculed, put down, and yes, even threatened with violence.

This is NOT our community. Not representative of our community. There are good people here who do care. There are people who go out of their way to help others and I sincerely believe that there is good in people. Each one of you, of us, has the potential for good.

I challenge you, to go about your week, to really observe and actively watch and see the good instead of the bad. To let go of the rumors for this short duration, and look for the good and see what really surrounds you.

When I watched only just yesterday - one single day, I saw...

*a gentleman at the store in a motorized wheelchair who couldn't reach something on the top shelf, and a man came over and offered help and got the item for him.

*a child at another store didn't have quite enough money for her purchase and the lady behind her in line told the cashier that she would pay for it.

*a car stalled in the road, and 3 other cars pulled over to help

*at yet another store, an off duty police officer helped a woman who was struggling to carry her purchases out.

And for myself, I was having a hard time shoveling snow yesterday, when my neighbor saw and came outside and told me he would finish it for me. I was grateful and offered money, he turned it down, saying, "We are neighbors, we're here to help each other"

We face many problems, but there is also still good out there. When facing these problems and challenges, the solution must begin with us, each of us, one individual at a time.

And regardless of the controversies, rumors, and problems, I believe each of you, each of us, has the potential to do good, to see good, and make a difference.

And so to begin, yes, I challenge you to find one good thing today, throughout your week, and post it here.

No, don't turn a blind eye to the bad, instead do something that might make a difference. And when you see good, celebrate it. And if you can't find something good, then create it.

Wednesday Feb 9
What you may not realize is that many of us posting here ARE the ones you see helping the stranded motorist, opening the door, etc.

Those things are all well and good. From what I have read I have come to understand that we are tired of the seedy underbelly being perpetually ignored beneath the superficial gloss of which you speak.

I pulled a car from the ditch two days ago. A team builder had a drunken fight in the street. I helped an elderly man load his groceries into his car. A cop cheated on his wife, after which she is jailed and a family disrupted. I don't think I can help enough little old ladies across the street to keep things balanced at this rate.

I firmly believe that what is being exposed here will build to a crescendo that cannot be ignored. The recent turnover at the city council certainly proved this -- but that was just a first step. As long as we believe that our city can progress when our cops spend more time carousing than busting drug houses and that our at-risk children are in good hands with pseudo counselors of questionable character, we WILL not progress as a community.

It is difficult to reach goals without having standards. This is an unpleasant truth, especially unpleasant in a community which seems to pride itself in a lack of such. If you don't raise the bar for what is deemed acceptable for working as an officer or a counselor, then you will get exactly what you deserve.

Be the best person you can be. That includes helping us expose this community's shortcomings so that it can be the best that it can be.

Wednesday Feb 9
Reply, I thank you for your honest reply. I also want to express my appreciation for pulling the car from the ditch two days ago, as well as the other good and kind deeds that you do. And I mean that with true respect and appreciation.

Please know, that in no way, shape or form do I suggest that we ignore, hide, gloss over, or push aside the problems that we face as a community. We do have problems, and the problems that we face do need to be addressed.

However, the majority of what I see here on the Topix forum is either unfounded rumors, half-truths, personal attacks, and threats. I fail to see how this can bring about positive change.

My suggestion is to see the good that IS here. To see that our town, our community is not ALL bad, and to go out and notice, and do something that will make a positive difference.

No, we can't control the actions of others, we can't fix all of our problems with a single good deed. However, we can be part of the solution, we can set an example, we can have hope, and we can do something that will make a difference.

You never know, if I do something, you do something, our neighbor does something ... it is possible that others just might see that, and others might do something as well. And although it is not a solution to fix "the seedy underbelly being perpetually ignored", perhaps we can outnumber them enough to really make a change for the better.

I love my home, and I have the utmost respect for many, many people here. I also see the "underbelly" as you describe it, and yes it does both sadden and anger me.

However, right now, the image that is being portrayed of our community is not a good one. Right now, in my humble opinion, that side is winning.

Am I perfect? Most certainly not. But I do care and will try to better myself, try to help others, because I know that is where I must begin. Not the be all and end all, but a beginning at least.

Why not change this forum to a place of action planning, discussing, helping, brainstorming?

It was only my hope to point out that all is not bad here, that my neighbors, our neighbors, are not all bad and we still have a community to fight for. And when I say fight, I mean to take positive action. After all, a single pebble has the potential to make ripples ... does it not?

Wednesday Feb 9
All that you say is true. However, this forum will never be a venue for that which you seek to accomplish. Every conversation degrades very quickly into hostility. The discourse is hopelessly slanted towards the negative, and perhaps it should be. I no longer try to change its direction -- it is what it is.

If you want to offer a dissenting voice, I suggest that you start a blog such as or

Both of these blog authors believe that in their own way they are trying to improve the community. I would like to see a blog oriented more towards what you are seeking and less towards the political turmoil -- but the two may be impossible to separate.

A good example might be Very positive and pro-community.

All three blog authors discovered that comments must be censored lest the conversation degrade as you see it here. Why don't the Grow Raton, Chamber of Commerce, or other organizations create such a blog? They could post the web address here occasionally to lead away those interested in a more positive view. If not them, then why not you?

In various coffee shop groups, there are many good ideas thrown about. They never really receive the audience they deserve. Here's your chance!