Bookmark and Share

Stand up, ask to serve

Get off your keesters and compete, redux.

It has been only a short time since we last wrote of the need for local residents to cowboy up and put themselves on the line in upcoming election races for seats on area boards and councils; approaching deadlines prompt us to repeat the call.

We must have choices in upcoming elections. Too often, seats on a board are left empty when no one steps up to run for the office, and a seat is then filled by appointment. Or, the voters are denied a choice when there is one candidate and no competition. We need the acid test of a contested election, with a clash of ideas, real differences in experiences and styles.

This is a tough thing to achieve. Often, residents of the community who could best serve are those who have the least amount of time and energy available. They must be encouraged.

Voters in the town of Pagosa Springs will select a mayor and three council members. The town has faced difficult financial problems, and key infrastructure projects loom on the horizon. The downtown area is in dire need of economic development.

The town election is April 6. Potential candidates can pick up nomination petitions at Town Hall starting tomorrow and can begin to circulate them Feb. 15. Information is available at Town Hall concerning the process and district boundaries (council members are elected to serve districts in which they reside).

Among the more prominent special districts holding elections on May 4 are the Upper San Juan Health Service District, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the Pagosa Fire Protection District.

Voters living in the health service district (including parts of Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties) will elect four directors to serve four years on the board. Previous boards pulled the district from the jaws of ruin and spearheaded a rejuvenation that produced Pagosa Mountain Hospital and Pagosa Mountain Clinic — a stepping stone to creation of a Rural Health Clinic. The district operates Emergency Medical Services. Candidates can pick up self-nomination and acceptance forms at Pagosa Mountain Hospital. Completed forms must be filed with the Designated Election Official at the hospital by Friday, Feb. 26.

The Pagosa Fire District has three seats on its board of directors up for grabs May 4. With the potential for further annexations, board members will be called upon to make critical decisions, and will be tasked with maintaining a high quality of service — including fire fighting and emergency response. Self-nomination and acceptance forms are available at the district offices located in Station 1, on North Pagosa Boulevard. They must be filled out and returned by Feb. 26.

If any district has been on the hot seat of late, it is Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District. In the midst of a major capital improvement effort (Dry Gulch Reservoir) the district is also one of the few entities in the county that has received significant grant and stimulus money, allowing it to proceed with projects such as the closure of the Highland Lagoon and construction of pipelines and additions to wastewater treatment facilities. Two seats on the board will be contested May 4. Self-nomination and acceptance forms are available at the district offices at 100 Lyn Ave. and must be returned by Feb. 26.

Finally, we have the county elections in November. Candidates are announcing their runs at offices — county commissioner (District 3), treasurer, sheriff, assessor, coroner, surveyor. With party caucuses just around the corner, registered Republicans and Democrats can leap into the deep end of the pool immediately, following party guidelines. With quality candidates in each party, for each office, a vigorous caucus process and, hopefully a vigorous primary process are assured. Unaffiliated candidates can petition and can obtain information about the process from the county clerk’s office. Whatever the race, whatever the office, it is time to stand up and ask to serve.

Karl Isberg