Mayor on Duty

Sallie and I visited our ‘beltway kids’ in Washington this past weekend. It is always good to leave Highlands for a while and see what other folks are doing. Well, I suppose comparisons of Highlands to Washington, DC are a stretch, but let me give it a try.

First on my agenda, after our initial visit with our son and daughter-in-law, was to get a haircut.  By a series of unfortunate events, I had missed that opportunity in Highlands for several weeks, so I was overdue. 

I got a tip that one of the best barbershops in DC, Diego’s, was near our hotel. We walked to the barbershop and found Diego himself cutting hair and holding court. Diego is one of those people who are blessed in loving what they do. It was full on Saturday morning, but the wait was short. As I got my haircut, I saw on the walls a bipartisan collection of autographed photographs of congressmen, senators and presidents who had visited this barbershop. I realized I was getting a genuine “Washington elite” haircut.  

So, if you see me around town in the next few days and notice I look slick and trim, just remember I am sporting a DC haircut. Now will it make me think smarter or dumber as an elected official? The cost was the same as in Highlands so I just don’t know. 

One evening we had an early five o’clock dinner in downtown Washington. When we finished and walked back on the street it was dark. Oh, it looked like Gatlinburg or Las Vegas! There were white lights on all the trees on the street.  And, those slick Washington elites had crowded the streets with too many trees! Actually, the illuminated trees were well done and added a special feeling to the winter streetscape. If it is good at our nation’s capital, maybe it would work in downtown Highlands too?

I noticed in downtown DC there were numerous electric scooters and electric bicycles available to rent. My son showed me an app on his phone that allowed him to rent a scooter or bike.  While I don’t see scooters in Highlands, electric bicycles are already here and will probably increase. They could become an alternative for some to riding around town in automobiles, even electric cars.

In my children’s neighborhood outside of Washington I noticed work in progress on something we are doing in Highlands. Like Highlands, fiber optic cables were being installed on all the streets. The building of these fiber networks is taking place across the nation. Our $4.6 million dollar construction project will serve Highlands well for years to come. The cost will be recuperated over the years of operation.    

A related issue that Highlands, as well as almost every community in the country, is grappling with is workforce/affordable housing. Our housing issues can’t compare to the problem in the Washington area. The rent and commute distances our children face in DC are staggering by comparison.

Correction from last week: I gave out the Highlands Police Department phone number instead of the Macon County Nonemergency Number. The correct number is 828.526.4131.

  • Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor

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