tap Garland and Zink
As final ballots came in and were counted Tuesday night, a
Durango High School teacher and a certified public accountant
rose to the top. Dale Garland, 45, and Sidny Zink, 51, will
take the seats of John Gamble and Amos Cordova when they’re
sworn into office April 15.
Garland, who won his new position by a fairly wide margin,
pulling in a total of 2,000 votes, said the results were unexpected.
“I was very surprised that I received the most votes,”
However, he attributed his success to his tenure in the community
and working hard during the campaign. “I think my having
been here for a long time and having dealt with a lot of students
through the high school probably helped,” Garland said.
“I followed some good advice as far as going out door
to door and meeting with people.”
In coming weeks and months, Garland said growth and the city’s
role in the Animas-La Plata project will be pressing issues.
“Obviously, growth and growth in the north end of town
will be the big issues,” he said. “Also coming up
pretty quickly is the water-storage issue and what the city
is going to do with storage rights with the Animas-La Plata
Zink trailed Garland slightly, bringing in 1,728 votes. She
said she was pleased with the outcome and that the election
was an indication of a call for middle-of-the-road policies.
“I think the vote reflects that people are looking for
councilors who are thoughtful and moderate,” Zink said.
“Some candidates seemed more extreme, and I think the
voters are interested in a more even approach.”
Looking to the future, Zink said that annexations and specifically
River Trails Ranch will be the big issues. “I’m
sure that River Trails Ranch was the big issue during the campaign
and will continue to be one of the bigger issues,” she
said. “But it’s only symptomatic of the bigger issue
of growth and how do we manage it.”
Reflecting on the campaign, Zink concluded: “It was a
terrific experience, and all the candidates had their hearts
in the right places. It’s great to see how much the candidates
and voters care about this community.”
A total of six candidates were vying for the two vacancies.
Michael Rendon took third place with 1,280 votes, and incumbent
Mayor John Gamble came in fourth place, garnering 1,093 votes.
From there it dropped off with Lee Goddard claiming 645 votes
and James Sloan turning in 246 votes.
Both Garland and Zink will serve four-year terms. They begin
their time in public office at the city council’s next
regularly scheduled meeting April 15.
Tuesday’s election represented Durango’s first
mail-in ballot since 1992. The decision to vote by mail was
prompted by poor voter turnout in 2001, when a mere 19 percent
of Durango’s registered electors went to the polls. During
this year’s election, approximately 50 percent of registered
voters participated, a number City Clerk Linda Yeager called,
“I think this was a team effort between the candidates
and myself even though we didn’t know we were a team,”
she said. “I put a ballot in every registered elector’s
hand. The candidates got people to turn their ballots in. They
got the vote in.”
To date, Yeager said she only got four comments on the success
of the election. She’s eager to get more feedback in order
to determine whether to go the mail-in route in the future.
Finalist for FLC presidency pulls out
Michael B. Levy has withdrawn his name as a candidate for Fort
Lewis College’s presidency.
“Dr. Levy has withdrawn his name for consideration as
president of Fort Lewis College,” said Board of Trustees
Chairman Peter Decker. “We are disappointed with his decision,
but we will press on and find just as good a candidate as Dr.
Levy. We will not compromise in terms of the kind of person
we are looking for.”
Decker said although Levy was the only remaining candidate
for the position, the college’s Board of Trustees will
keep looking. “There are many candidates attracted to
Fort Lewis College,” he said.
Levy, a distinguished professor at Georgetown University and
former senior advisor to the secretary of the treasury, was
interviewed on campus March 20-21. He cited personal reasons
for withdrawing his name from consideration. “After endless
discussion and reflection, my wife and I have concluded that
personal and family obligations make it impossible for us to
relocate at this time,” he said.
Levy was the last remaining finalist in the search. Phillip
David Creighton withdrew his name from consideration March 4
to become president of Pacific University in Oregon. The new
president will succeed Robert Dolphin Jr., who has served in
an interim capacity since July 1, 2002, when Kendall Blanchard
resigned as president to return to the classroom as a professor
Fort Lewis makes huge budget cuts
Last week, Fort Lewis College announced dramatic reductions
to its budget, which will play out over the next two years.
A total of $4 million will be cut from the college’s budget
in the form of the elimination of 41 full-time equivalent positions.
Of the positions, 17 were not filled upon becoming vacant. The
remaining 24 will be reduced or eliminated. The college has
already notified those employees who will be affected.
“The most grievous aspect of these budget cuts is the
impact on the lives of our colleagues and friends,” said
Fort Lewis College President Robert Dolphin, Jr. “Unlike
other state colleges and universities, we have avoided layoffs
to this point.”
Dolphin said that with a staff reduction of 10BD full-time
equivalents, Physical Plant Services will be one segment of
Fort Lewis College that is hit hardest. In particular in areas
like project management, snow management, custodial services,
equipment maintenance and grounds upkeep will see reductions.
The combination of several factors, including drops in state
revenues, tax cuts and Amendment 23 which calls for a boost
to K-12 education funding, has created a financial crisis for
the State of Colorado this fiscal year.
When the magnitude of the state budget crisis became clear
after the New Year, Fort Lewis College implemented a hiring
freeze. Effective Jan. 6, all unfilled classified and exempt
staff positions were frozen without appeal and any temporary
appointments required presidential approval. Some faculty searches
also were cancelled.
Dolphin commented, “Through these difficult decisions,
we remain committed to delivering a quality education to our
students, while giving every consideration to the impact on
the lives of faculty and staff.”
In addition to budget cuts, the college will try to boost revenues
by increasing fund-raising efforts, seeking tuition increases,
and better managing enrollment.
Judge tosses lynx reintroduction suit
Last Thursday, a federal district court judge dismissed a lawsuit
challenging the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s plan to
release more lynx into the San Juan Mountains. The Mountain
States Legal Foundation (MSLF) had sued, charging that the DOW
and federal government had not adequately studied the environmental
impacts of the plan. MSLF had sought a temporary restraining
order, barring the release planned for this spring. However,
the court dismissed the case in its entirety after stating that
MSLF’s members lack standing and that the federal government
was in no way involved in the project.
“We are extremely disappointed with the court’s
ruling,” said William Perry Pendley, of MSLF. “We
believe the court erred in dismissing the case.”
Pendley added that the MSLF believes that the federal government
is involved by listing a species as threatened or endangered,
by allowing a state agency to reintroduce the species, and by
having the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit the reintroduction.
Pendley went on to say that the lynx reintroduction could endanger
“After the terrible fires of last summer, the possibility
that the presence of the lynx will prevent the Forest Service
from managing to prevent more deadly forest fires certainly
gives local residents the legal right to question whether such
a study should have been done,” he said.
In 1999, the first of 96 lynx were released into the San Juans,
beginning what state wildlife biologists hoped would be a restoration
of a species. Now, to augment the remaining 34 lynx, the DOW
is preparing to release 50 additional lynx in coming months,
part of a four-year program to add 180 lynx to aid in the odds