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At the end of the League of Women Voters forum last week, Shari Pierce and Don Volger shared an long, affectionate hug. As they did, I briefly wished we could elect dual mayors in Pagosa Springs.
Both Shari Pierce and Don Volger are smart, deeply ethical and caring people. They share a humility that allows each of them to appreciate and respect our Town’s history. More importantly, both Shari and Don respect the Town’s present: the hardworking, faithful, tight-knit families that built and sustain this Town. The families for whom Pagosa Springs is home, not a lifestyle choice.
Mark Weiler, though talented and dynamic, seems to lack that gift of humility rather completely. Weiler appears very infatuated with himself and his personal history. He obviously respects the “new young families” in Town, and continues to use that buzzword despite the stings some of his associates have recently inflicted with it (and without apology). When Weiler sums up the smart skeptical attitudes most Pagosans have for the latest $18 million dollar project and its decades of debt as a “poverty mentality,” he appears too condescending and superior to be the mayor of our down-to-earth Town.
Okay, we are not Spartans. There are no dual mayors. I am casting my vote for Shari Pierce today.
I did not support Shari when she ran for the Town Council in 2008. I had a cartoon in my head about her “fixation” on historic preservation. Some people to this day have a fixation on that fictitious fixation, which is really just one of Shari’s many commitments. Surprisingly, Shari became my favorite councilor. She was independent and gutty, tough and kind. Shari was an uncompromising supporter of fair open debate. Shari was reliably conservative where it mattered most on the budget and trendy spending schemes, and very supportive of Pagosa’s business community.
Shari is the best candidate if the Recreation Center bond is approved. She’ll fight for a recreation center at the right size and the right price and do a better job minimizing the planned $550,000 annual budget hole in the present plan than anyone I can name.
Shari is the best candidate if the $45 million debt is rejected. Her preferences for investing in streets, sidewalks, parks, trails, events and downtown development are smart and exciting, and don’t obligate us to decades of debt payments to out-of-town bankers.
Finally, please take a look at “the campaign you don’t see”. The typical one where a candidate presses every advantage they have. Where employment at the local paper owned by the family could be leveraged for page three full-page ads and printing presses become readily available for flyers and mailers and inserts. Where coverage and letters are slanted, and not just subconsciously.
For those who look for the evidence of things not seen, that evidence says fine things about Shari Pierce and The SUN family business.
Shari Pierce will be a superb Mayor of Pagosa Springs.