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Last updated 3:58PM ET
December 13, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Council Candidates Tackle Elephants & Guerillas
(2007-03-14)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Thousands of Durango City voters will receive ballots in the mail next week, for the City Council Election.
Three council members will be elected.
Two will serve four year terms.
One will serve the final two years of the term won two years ago by Virginia Castro, who resigned six months later.
There are eight candidates for council, and they met Tuesdasy in a non-partisan, non-special interest forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: For two hours, the eight council hopefuls fielded audience questions posed by a League of Women Voters Representative.
Those questions dwelled on Growth, Traffic, Recycling, Implementing the comprehensive plan, Health care, Open Space, Ridgeline protection, Affordable Housing, City-County relations and more.
More times than not, the eight candidates found themselves agreeing with each other on their views of the issues.
Some sketched their ideas and suggestions of how they'd deal with them.
But perhaps the most revealing question, was the last one: What are the white elephants and 800 pound gorillas nobody is talking about.
City Plan commissioner and council candidate Linda Geer was first to respond.
She says greater civility in city government is needed.
GEER: AND I THINK WE NEED TO PROMOTE MORE OF THIS KIND OF CIVILITY, AND WORKING TOGETHER, A SENSE OF COOPERATION IN OUR COMMUNITY.
Open Space board member Scott Graham, who's faced both criticism and praise for sounding alarms about possible Twin Buttes development agreed with Geer.
GRAHAM: AS COUNSELOR I'M GOING TO BE CIVIL. I'M A CIVIL PERSON, I ENJOY PEOPLE AND I LOOK FORWARD TO THAT PROCESS THAT I'VE BEEN ENJOYING WITH THE PEOPLE I'VE BEEN CONVERSING WITH CONTINUING.
Council hopeful Jerry Swingle labeled growth, a doubling of the population by 2030 and more traffic as the 800 pound gorilla.
SWINGLE: PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING, WE NEED TO HONOR THE GOOD WORK OF THOSE WHO PULLED TOGETHER AN ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND WE NEED TO PLAN OUR FUTURE.
Candidate Leigh Meigs agreed with Swingle that traffic and growth are of primary concern.
MEIGS: IT'S THE GRIDLOCK THAT WE COULD ALL FACE FROM GROWTH IN OUR COMMUNITY. NO BODY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT'S GRITTY AND UGLY, IT USES NON RENEWABLE RESOURCES, IT CAUSES SMOG, AND IT MAKES US REALLY FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY.
Council candidate Michael Rendon:
RENDON: I THINK THE 800 POUND GORILLA IS TWIN BUTTES, WHICH NOBODY'S TALKED ABOUT, WHEN I GO DOOR TO DOOR THAT'S WHAT EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT. AND I THINK WHEN YOU BRING UP TWIN BUTTES THE QUESTION YOU HAVE TO ASK IS SHOULD WE BE DEVELOPING WEST, IS THAT THE DIRECTION WE WANT TO GO.
Rendon, who narrowly missed winning a council seat two years ago, then added:
RENDON: I'D BE HAPPY TO WRESTLE WITH THAT GUERILLA.
Peter Tregillus says the guerilla is about maintaining Durango as real town by keeping housing affordable, something he says hasn't happened.
TREGILLUS: THE GUERILLA IS THE FACT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS UP UNTIL NOW REALLY HAVEN'T GRASPED THAT AND REQUIRED IT. THERE'S A REASON FOR THAT. IT'S THE PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE ME OUT THERE THAT THEY'VE GOT A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY AND THEY'RE COMING HERE. AND THEY'RE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE MONEY RIGHT NOW, AND WE'VE GOT TO RECOGNIZE THAT. AND WE NEED TO TELL THE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT INDUSTRY, THAT YOU'RE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY BUT YOU NEED TO BE IN ON THE SOLUTION AND YOU CAN'T PASS IT OFF ON ALL OF US, YOU NEED TO JOIN WITH US ON THIS ONE.
Incumbent Councilor Tom Howley:
HOWLEY: ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK THAT THE ELEPHANTS AND GUERILLAS COULD BE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TRAFFIC BECAUSE THEY'RE INTER-RELATED. IF OUR WORKING CLASS CAN'T LIVE IN THE CITY THEN THEY MOVE OUT, THAT CREATES MORE TRAFFIC IT'S IN A NEVER ENDING CIRCLE THAT GETS WORSE EVERY DAY. WE'RE NOT GOING TO ELIMINATE THESE PROBLEMS BUT I PROPOSE THAT WE CHANGE THE ELEPHANTS AND GUERILLAS INTO MICE AND HOUSE PETS. WE SHRINK THEM DOWN AND BE ABLE TO MANAGE THEM, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT GOING AWAY.
The other incumbent seeking re-election, Councilor and current Mayor Sidny Zink suggests there are several elephants and gorillas people don't want to deal with.
ZINK: AND THE ONE I'M GOING TO ADDRESS IS THE ONE THAT SAYS, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO ADMIT WE CANNOT CAPTURE THIS MOMENT IN TIME AND HOLD IT, AND KEEP CHANGE FROM HAPPENING. AS MUCH AS WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO DO THAT, WE KNOW WE CAN'T DO THAT. SO WE HAVE TO DO THE BEST WE CAN TO MAKE THE FUTURE, PROTECT THOSE THINGS THAT WE HOLD DEAR TO US, BUT KNOW THAT THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO COME HERE AND WHO ARE WE TO SAY THEY SHOULDN'T.
Ballots should be in mailboxes of registered city voters sometime next week.
You can fill it out and mail it back.
Walk in voting also begins Monday.
All ballots must be returned and all votes cast by 7pm Tuesday April 3rd.
Votes will then be tallied and we'll learn which three of the eight council candidates will participate in shaping Durango's future, for the next several years, and perhaps beyond.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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