I am pleased to talk about three activities which I believe will help Carson City prosper.
The first is a foreign-film festival that was initiated by a “small interest group” of participants from Carson City First United Methodist Church. The small group is called “Windows on the World” and looks at the world through literature and foreign films. The group reviewed scores of international films. It conceived the idea of experimenting with a foreign film festival in Carson City; members believed there was an appetite for this kind of intellectual stimulation in this community.
It selected three films. “Captain Abu Raed,” a Jordanian film, artfully depicts storytelling and deep compassion for children. The second was a Brazilian film, “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands.” This film highlighted a woman’s struggle with her desire for passion and excitement, juxtaposed with her need for stability and respect. The third was a German film, “The Lives of Others.” It was a realistic depiction of the East German assault on privacy just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It reminded us of our own history: privacy was (and is) under attack.
The purpose of the experiment was to establish an annual foreign film festival in Carson City. The festival was a huge success. Let’s hope it will be continued in the future for the entire city.
The second dramatic activity that provides hope for the city is the action by the Board of Supervisors to provide funds for community development. It’s the first time in a long time that the BOS has taken action to increase a tax. It required a supermajority (4 of the 5) vote of the supervisors. This tax increase vote was a very courageous decision. It will serve as a stimulus for much-needed city improvement.
I note now that some of the anti-tax contingent are threatening to unseat BOS members. Responsible citizens should not allow that to happen. The BOS worked in our best interest.
The third activity is on the verge of happening, but is not yet finalized. The Carson City school district has embarked on a major effort to involve the business community in the education of our students. Superintendent Richard Stokes and his board have worked with business leadership to link what is happening in the classroom to what is needed for career opportunities. It is a work in progress.
The quality of life in a community is measured, in part, by the availability of intellectual stimulation — music, art and film. A community prospers when political leaders are recognized for making hard decisions, and young people can infuse energy and vitality into our downtown as they work with teachers and businesses to make all of our lives better.
Eugene T. Paslov is a member of the Carson City Cultural Commission, board member of the Davidson Institute, UNR, and retired state superintendent.