Your vote packs a punch


Once again, an election is underway. It’s time to step up.

This is not a presidential election year, nor does the ballot in Pagosa Country include controversial races between candidates at the state and national levels.

This is, however, an important election. It will put two directors on the local school board and will decide two tax-related measures for Colorado — one an amendment that would significantly alter funding for K-12 public education and another that would impose an excise tax and an additional sales tax on retail sales of marijuana.

Residents living in two districts — the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and the Colorado’s Timber Ridge Metropolitan District — will be asked to increase taxes. County residents living in the Bayfield School District will elect directors.

There are few things more important in this community than our public school system. The individuals on the board of education influence the character and quality of education for Pagosa’s youngsters to a meaningful degree. There are serious questions being asked about many aspects of the district’s operation, and about situations created by federal and state pressures. Board decisions must be motivated by a central concern for our youngsters and candidates should reflect that concern.

One of the races mirrors an opinion expressed in this space not long ago: it is time for the younger members of the community to move into key political positions. Incumbent board member Tim Taylor and challenger Brooks Lindner are competing for a seat and each has real skin in the game. Each has children who are or will be directly affected by board decisions; each has a bone-deep connection with the education our district provides. Each of them is the kind of individual this community needs working in our service, not only on the school board, but on all elected bodies.

The other race features two challengers: Bruce Dryburgh and Dwight Hooton. Their opinions on issues, as well as those of Lindner and Taylor, can be assessed by reviewing articles published Oct. 3 and 10 in The SUN.

These races, as well as a decision on proposed Amendment 66 (which is covered in a story this week) are particularly important for Pagosans who have children in our public schools or who plan to have children in the district in years to come. The decisions made in this election will profoundly affect them and their children, as it will the grandchildren of many Pagosans. It is critical they vote; they will live with the consequences much longer than many of their neighbors.

To do their parts, voters need to be clear on procedure: This odd-year election will be conducted via mail ballot and the ballots are being sent out now.

Completed ballots should be returned and in the hands of election officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5. Postmarks don’t count.

Ballots can be returned in person to the Election’s Office located downstairs in the county courthouse, or to the county clerk’s office on the ground floor of the courthouse. The offices are open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays through Monday, Nov. 4. The Election’s Office will be open from 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Nov. 2, and on Election Day from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

If you don’t receive a mail ballot, pick one up at the Election’s Office and fill it out.

If you are not registered to vote, and want to register, you can do so at the Election’s Office through Election Day.

Your vote has value at the state level, but packs a real punch at the local level. Exercise your right and make a difference.

Karl Isberg