Look to the ethos of Winters

“What does the town of Winters represent? How does it’s businesses, community events and culture separate it from the rest as a sought out community to live in other then a small town with housing opportunities….what makes us so special?”

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Kelly Linville I have been living here in your town for almost 2 years now. I have lived in several communities in California over the years that share the same ethos as this one. What do I mean by that and why does that apply to Winters? First of all, allow me to define the term “ethos”. It means the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations. I would like everyone here to take a moment to reflect on that meaning. What does the town of Winters represent? How does it’s businesses, community events and culture separate it from the rest as a sought out community to live in other then a small town with housing opportunities….what makes us so special? I started visiting Winters 15 years ago. I came here to hear amazing musical performances at the Palms playhouse and an occasional performance at the Community Center.  Of course, a satisfying meal at Putah Creek Cafe and the Buckhorn were also a part of the festivities. My attraction to Winters then and now, was the food and entertainment. A jewel in the rough between Davis and Napa.  To others it’s maybe the biking routes, hiking, fishing or backroad scenic routes. Wherever you go, it’s a break from the hustle bustle and impersonal behavior we feel in the cities that surround us. So what is our ethos? Why are we so special and now faced with a deluge of individuals who are hell bent on an almost invasion to be a part of a small town that will soon be a bigger city; a larger city soon that might loose our roots and fall to the wayside as did so many other small towns? Personally, in my years, I have seen this happen to many small towns that where beacons for agriculture, fine dining, music and the arts. Yes, they are still on the map as highly desirable areas to live in but the cost of living there then almost tripled in a short period of time. Downtown Sacramento is another example. It exemplifies art and music but artists and musicians can’t afford to live there anymore.   So what about the farmers, artists, musicians and small business owners in Winters who are the founders of this town’s “ethos”?  I believe that this town is at a crossroads on where our priorities stand. Money and influence will be a heavy player and if we don’t defend and define our long standing identity then we will be become just another town that lost its way and failed its citizens.   I believe we can persevere. It’s not too complicated to do the right thing. You just need a good team and the community to be on the same page when it comes to goals and objectives. Communication, transparency and integrity go a long way when a town’s ethos means more than money. Depending on what side you are on. I would start off first, with making sure there is affordable housing in place so local residents are not priced out. These are your local workers who serve the community in your farms, factories, restaurants and all minimal wage jobs that keep this town going. Again, we are known for our food, music and art. High cost of living here limits our farmers, musician and artists to only a few businesses in town that use their services. Small businesses will be squeezed to afford good workers that will be unfortunately sourced out of town… For example, a local musician can maybe perform at the Palms or Porch Fest.  What other opportunities do they have? The local farmer has to go to Davis to sell his produce? Why? He lives near town and residents have to leave town to buy his food. We are surrounded by food! A local artist has no place to show their work here and might be accepted to a few local businesses if they are lucky and know the right people. It’s almost shameful to admit but this is where Winters is failing most of all. What makes this town great is being harmed by indifference and greed. Farmers, workers, musicians and artists is this town’s ethos. It’s what is driving our economy and soon our assimilation to drive out what made us special in the first place could be our downfall. If I could wave a magic wand, I would plead to the City Council to keep affordable housing in check; bring back the Farmers Market so we can buy locally, listen to our musicians and support local artists.   Why can’t we have a weekend event like Davis has? Isn’t that an ethos worth fighting for Winters? We’ve always had it, so why let it die? Please find a way to keep our spirit alive. ]]>

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