Dear Editor:

For months, we have watched the citizens of Pagosa Springs struggle to rein in their town government even just a little. The citizens (at least 20 percent of voters so far) believe they have enough reasons to take a vote to decide for themselves if town council should no longer be solely entrusted with the future of their cherished, unique and valuable Reservoir Hill Park.

Some things are simply too important to the people to be left in the hands of a few loosely accountable politicians and government “managers.” Our system of government, even in the Town of Pagosa Springs, provides ways for the people to decide which things are too important to leave to just a few individuals, and how those things should be decided.

The people can bypass even reluctant leaders by ballot measure. That is what is happening at the town, and it is a healthy thing. The saying, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” applies at all levels. The ballot measure protects us from that misdirected power.

At the county, we are hearing from citizens concerned about their Second Amendment rights (among others) being eroded, and calls for the BoCC to designate Archuleta County as a “Liberty Zone” in which state and federal firearms restrictions would be nullified.

In this case, I believe that deciding the issue of locally interpreting and defending the Bill of Rights and designating Archuleta County as a “Liberty Zone” is so important and has implications, and intended and unintended consequences so great for all of the county and town citizens, businesses and governments, that it also should not be decided by just three people (the county commissioners), or un-decided by the next three.

A decision and resolution made by so few, without the solid grassroots support of a majority of the voters, would be a gesture of little meaning, a short shelf-life, and no legal force.

This, too, should go to the ballot. To the people. From the people.

Michael Whiting

This story was posted on April 4, 2013.