Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

The voters can figure it out

Who convinced you this was a good idea?

How does this make you look?

A plan surfaced last week in which a petition would be circulated in Pagosa Springs, countering one recently submitted asking for an election to determine whether the Home Rule Charter for Pagosa Springs should be changed, requiring voter approval before so-called “recreational amenities” could be installed on Reservoir Hill.

An election is forthcoming concerning that question.

But some political genius decided it would be a good idea to circulate a second petition — this one asking the people to affirm that the Pagosa Springs Town Council is the final authority on the question of Reservoir Hill Development.

What?

Why is this ballot question necessary? A vote on the first issue is, in effect, a vote on this very topic. If the majority of town voters decide electors in Pagosa Springs should have the final say on the matter, so it is. If the majority votes against the measure, the town council makes the decision.

Here, the nonsense doubles: five members of the town council are said to be sponsoring the petition.

This tells us one of two things: current members of the council are so frightened by the potential of losing control as a result of having bucked public outcry against Reservoir Hill plan proposals that they failed to think about the matter clearly, or they are being led around by their noses.

We are not sure which option shines the dimmer light on the group.

According to the mayor, the idea for the second petition came from Town Manager David Mitchem — a strident supporter of the Reservoir Hill proposals from the outset. This, like much of the Reservoir Hill plan, is a poor idea.

Mitchem told SUN reporter Ed Fincher he believes the second petition is necessary, since supporters of the first petition had time to go door to door and explain their position to potential voters.

Perhaps we are missing something, but didn’t opponents have the same period of time to go door to door and explain why the idea behind the petition was inadequate? And don’t opponents of the ballot measure have time to do the same prior to an upcoming election?

The second petition is either a crudely-crafted strategy to confuse voters if both measures appear on the same ballot or, if the second measure follows in a separate election (at taxpayer expense), a bald political maneuver, since a successful vote would overturn an affirmative vote on the initial measure.

Why are voters subjected to this kind of nonsense? Further, why should they tolerate such an insult to their intelligence? Voters in Pagosa Springs are smart enough to figure this thing out, with one ballot question.

One question will be enough, and the answer will tell us a great deal. Some of those upset about the Reservoir Hill plans are residents of the area who live out of town, so this vote is a way to determine what the folks who own the hill, and elect the councilors, think … about the hill and their council. There is no need to attempt to confuse them, and no need to belittle their intelligence with a second ballot question.

That the five councilors who might sponsor this petition oppose turning over council power on the matter of the Reservoir Hill proposals to the voters is understandable — and defensible. That they, and like-minded individuals, would step up and actively campaign for the measure’s defeat is understandable, and defensible. That they would go along with a suggestion for a second ballot question is not.

Karl Isberg

This story was posted on December 27, 2012.
  • ConcernedwithCommunity

    There is a third possible reason as well: to delay the election until work on the project has already begun thus “grandfathering” this project in before a possible Home Rule Charter change.

    Bob Hart had written and signed a letter to Town Council that he intended to read at the Town Council meeting on 12/20/12 where he agrees not to work on or bid on Reservoir Hill work to avoid a conflict of interest. Mr. Hart chose NOT to read that letter in public as he had originally intended. Why? I understand that Ed Fincher has a copy of this letter, but I was disappointed that he didn’t bring it up in this week’s article. This should be made public and questioned. The facts and motivations should be disclosed. I suspect the reason is that Mr. Hart plans some “pro bono” work on the hill PRIOR to the election!

    Every time the “old guard” on Town Council and the Mayor have a chance to redeem themselves, they double-down on the same secretive and private agenda they are pushing that so alienates the community. David Mitchem helps them craft their clumsy strategies and at some point will likely become the “fall guy” who takes the blame for it all.

    No wonder we don’t trust them to represent us fairly and openly.

  • StephenGiesen

    What will happen to the town of Pagosa Springs in the next exciting episode of Reservoir Hill????
    Welcome to American Politics in the 21st Century!