August 1 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Part of the magic of Marfa is that we are small. I am supportive of tourism as a way to create jobs and bring income to local businesses, but I fear a festival of this size will be an overwhelming burden on our resources on every front – even at 6,000 people – much less at the levels that C3 is estimating that the festival will bring in future years.

I strongly support Presidio County Commissioners creating regulations that limit the size of events allowed with input from their constituents, county-wide. I think that a representative citizens committee to assist in that process is an excellent way to help shepherd this. As the increasingly high-profile reputation of this area grows and spreads, there will inevitably be more events of all kinds proposed. This is a turning point. It makes sense to use this as impetus to create thoughtful policies that can serve our community over the long run.

Yes, change is inevitable. Going forward, we need to create balance of promoting the kinds of intimate, creative events that enhance the reputation of our local area and bring money into the local economy. Events like Marfa Myths, Viva Big Bend, Trans Pecos Festival of Music and Love, Chinati Weekend, Marfa Invitational, and so many more have done a great job of this. These are events that demonstrate respect for the character of our home and preserve the things that make the entire tri-county area so special.

I know there is always a need for local jobs and that the city and surrounding area are dependent on tourism to bring in much-needed revenue. Let’s look at the trade-off. How many and what kinds of jobs would be created? How long would they last? Would they benefit the people in our community who are most in need of jobs? And what are we risking in order to get those jobs?   

As I understand it, the festival would be held on private land outside of the city limits and certainly the property owner has the right to make those kinds of decisions for use of their land. My concern is that a fire could quickly get out of hand and wreak destruction. The more people, the more risk. The Rockhouse fire in 2011 remains the largest grassland fire in the history of Texas. It consumed 300,000+ acres and more than 50 homes. Not to mention the large numbers of livestock and wildlife that died horribly in flames that were fanned by strong winds and drought-desiccated vegetation. It only takes a spark – and Marfa and other local communities are dependent on a small and extremely dedicated volunteer fire departments.

What’s more, as we know from other events, it would be foolish to assume that the huge numbers of attendees will stay at the event the whole time. Many will venture out of the main venue and thousands of them will impact all those who live here.

As a small somewhat isolated town, we are reliant on tourism. And while most of our visitors are wonderful, we’ve all experienced visitors who treat the town of Marfa as if it is a theme park. Recently an event with a mere 600 people became a free for all – with folks trespassing on private property without seeming to care that it was not intended for use by random strangers. One resident reported that two people walked into her private home just as she got out of the shower. She walked into her living room in a towel to find strangers wandering around because they thought it was a gallery!

As a town of just 1,800 people, Marfa would be overrun by the numbers that C3 is estimating. This region is remote. We only have two ambulances and a small regional medical center in Alpine. There have even been instances where both ambulances were out on calls and someone who needed urgent care simply could not get to the hospital. In fact,

many of us locally pay for medical evacuation insurance so that we can get to a larger hospital by helicopter in case of a serious illness or injury.

If C3 had our long-term interests at heart and not primarily profit, they simply would not propose holding so large a festival here. From all I’ve seen and read, it seems to me that their main and only concern is making money – and lots of it – by exploiting Marfa’s reputation for their own gain.

Now is the time. We have a singular chance to create a plan for sustainable growth, protect our environment, and support events that enhance our community for all residents. Let’s come together to make thoughtful decisions – ones that embrace the best of what Marfa has been in the past and help guide us through the challenges ahead, so that it remains a place that we can all cherish for generations into the future.
Karen Crenshaw

Dear Editor,

To friends who asked why I moved to the middle of nowhere 11+ years ago, I’ve said the most wonderful and unusual thing about Marfa is that those with and those without reliably share food, music, art and collaboration.  I’ve attended art exhibits in structurally questionable buildings and multi-million dollar venues; enjoyed music from kids playing in sheds all the way to acclaimed artists performing for no entry fee; assisted MISD children with poetry, music and authorship.  

I never saw a line in the sand.

I’ve let complete strangers sleep in my guest rooms. It is the Marfan way – we feed or house new associates, and trust they have no directive to harm.

I never anticipated assault and it’s never happened.  

In imagining that unforeseen scenario, I would be very likely to first think I didn’t do enough to stop it, or that I let it happen – that it was my fault. I run a chainsaw and I run a business, but I am female and I process signals differently from men. Texas law says so: it is for the man to decide if he trespassed upon a woman.

As a society, we still don’t support women who, in the initial confusing aftermath of assault, say things to trusted friends like, “Did I let him?  Am I bad?” We don’t recognize these words as normal patterns of speech and worry. Rather, we continue to use these words as ammunition to take that woman all the way down.

For Ryann Bosetti’s associates to extricate language from emotional texts or in-person exchanges, and then provide it to the attorney representing the alleged perpetrator seems sad and awful to me. 

Years ago, in Marfa, a colleague said after a long day of work and several glasses of wine that if things didn’t work out with his girlfriend, it would be a sure bet that we would get together.  I was repulsed but only said something vague like, “I’m not sure about that.”  He insisted it was true. I nodded in what could be construed as agreement and didn’t fire up my verbal chainsaw. He gave me a ride home and we continued to work together for a short time.  He didn’t assault me. If he had, I would have pressed charges, and likely been hung out to dry based upon Ms. Bosetti’s trial proceedings.

I ask that you consider the right to a fair trial is critically compromised when one attorney far out-ranks the other. Ms. Bosetti didn’t have nationally recognized representation.  

Kudos to the highly experienced litigators for being very good at their jobs, even as it seems critically lacking in taste to further publicly gloat on Facebook and newspaper pages about their success in female character assassination. 

I wish to question an attorney who, knowing he’s already won the trial, tells a woman that she is diminishing the claims of other credible women.

This style of attack feels outdated, the stuff of years long gone. Certainly, it was successful, for it always has been. Currently, these proceedings are a critical point of sadness in the sweet town I call home.

In what century does Marfa reside? 

Chief Marquez of the Marfa Police Department wants other women to know they can report abuse.  In so saying, he maintains his work integrity. In so saying, he reminds all of us this is a safe place to live. When necessary, we can report abuse. Chief Marquez says so.

Ms. Bosetti had no dog in this fight; she didn’t seek financial restitution. She said what happened to her, and our court of law told her she was utterly mistaken. 

Texts and conversations were used as ammunition. Language was taken out of context. These gifts are rich bread and butter for litigators who adroitly only allow yes or no answers.

The scales of justice were weighted. Elite, nationally recognized attorneys collaborated to successfully break a woman’s complaint of assault. 

Does this story surprise you?  It is another chapter in a dulling history.

For the record, Ms. Bosetti is alive and well, and she isn’t stripped of her intrinsic value, joy and kindness. She spoke truth to power against many odds and hopes other women will feel empowered to do the same. 

We love Marfa; she is our home and sanctuary. We can do better than this.

Bridget Weiss